In regards to the post about closely attended lines. When ice fishing can I use binoculars to check my traps if I can tell if the flag is up or down. I would be within binocular view and line of site at all times but the traps may be 500 yards or more away.

Answer: This is not as simple of an answer as I am sure you would like. There are several things that I must address before I can fully answer this question.

1. Depending on which type of fishing you are participating in (sport fishing, personal use fishing or subsistence fishing) and the lake you are fishing in, there are different regulations for each one.

2. Some lakes and river systems allow set lines for burbot and other species. Some areas allow gill nets and other methods and means to take fin fish.

In the interest of simplicity, the following answer is for a sport fisherman participating in sport fishing on a lake or river where two lines are allowed for ice fishing.

Sport fishing, Ice fishing Gear is defined in 5 AAC 75.021 (a) means sport fishing through the ice is permitted with the use of two closely attended lines, provided only one hook or artificial lure is used on each line, except that additional gear may be used for northern pike and burbot as specified by statewide or area regulations.

The term “closely attended” in this paragraph is defined in 5 AAC 75.995(40) and means that the line or strike indicator is within the view of and is accessible to the angler at all times. The word “accessible” means “easy to enter or reach physically”.

After reading all these defined terms, Alaska Wildlife Troopers who enforce this regulation must enforce the regulation the way it is written, but must also be reasonable with their enforcement standard. If the line is within view of the angler (the regulation does not specify distance) and is accessible to the angler (easy to reach physically) then it would be allowed.

Many times Troopers on patrol find ice fishing gear that is left out for days or no one is around. Anglers get bored and go riding snow machines. This is not allowed. If you cannot see your line and access your line you are in violation of the regulation.

In the situation where you wish to sit in your cabin and watch your line, this would be allowed as long as you can see the line from your cabin and you are able to reach it physically in a reasonable amount of time.

I hope this answers your questions.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers