Man charged with illegally guiding on Kenai River

August 29, 2017
Kenai River, AK

By Elizabeth Earl

A Soldotna-area man is facing charges relating to operating as a commercial sportfishing guide on the Kenai River without the proper permitting and licenses.

Alaska State Parks filed 12 charges against William “Buck” Hollandsworth, 50, on Wednesday relating to illegally sportfish guiding on the Kenai. He is charged witih two counts of sportfish guiding in the Kenai River Special Management Area, a state park, without a parks permit; two counts of operating a guide vessel without an Alaska Department of Fish and Game permit; two counts of unlicensed sportfish guiding; two counts of failing to complete the Kenai River Guide Academy; two counts of operating an unpermitted guide vessel in the park and two counts of operating as a guide without a permit.

The charges stem from an investigation on July 27, when Park Ranger Tom Anthony received a report from an off-duty park ranger that Hollandworth was operating illegally in the Honeymoon Cove area of the river and allowing clients to continue to fish for king salmon after retaining fish, which is against regulations, according to Anthony’s affidavit.

Anthony and an Alaska Wildlife Trooper found Hollandsworth at the Pillars boat launch with four anglers, he wrote in his affidavit. When Anthony interviewed Hollandsworth, he maintained that he was not a guide, the people he took fishing were his friends and he was not paid to take them fishing.

However, the anglers said they paid through a third party for the trip, and the third person deposited $225 per person into a PayPal account labeled “Buck’s Alpine Adventures,” according to Anthony’s affidavit.

After further investigation, Parks filed the charges against Hollandsworth on Wednedsay in Kenai District Court. A warrant was issued and the boat impounded to the Soldotna Alaska State Troopers post, according to a Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation press release issued Thursday.

To legally become a sportfishing guide on the Kenai River, guides have to pass the five-day Kenai River Guide Academy class each year and obtain a valid business license, a Fish and Game business owner/guide license, and a U.S. Coast Guard Commercial six-passenger vessel license for boats with motors. Both motor and non-motor vessel operators have to pass drug tests to receive a permit, among other requirements. The permit fee for a resident guide is $700 and a nonresident is $1,600 in 2017, not counting the $100 application fee ad the cost of liability insurance, boat and trailer registration, basic first aid certification and other costs.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at [email protected]