Fishing in Hawaii

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Hawaii is by far the most tropical fishing destination in the U.S. And given its status as a vacation getaway, is a great place to take the family and get in some serious saltwater fly fishing! A long list of highly sought after saltwater gamefish can be caught off the beaches and reefs around the islands, but they go by distinctly Hawaiian names: oio (bonefish); ono (wahoo); kaku (barracuda); ulua (giant trevally); and papio (juvenile giant trevally, less than 20 pounds), just to name a few.

One of biggest draws for fly anglers in Hawaii are the massive bonefish found around the island of Oahu. These bonefish are often more challenging to catch than those found in the Caribbean, and are much larger ? fish in the 10-plus pound range are not out of the ordinary. And unlike Caribbean bonefishing, Hawaii has few shallow water flats plus strong trade winds, which make finding the fish even harder, and hiring a guide more of a necessity. Hawaii also has some fantastic giant trevally (ulua) fishing on the reefs surrounding the islands, but with some luck, you can often catch juvenile trevally (papio) right off the beach. The smaller islands in the chain, Kauai and Oahu, have well-established reefs that extend far out into the ocean, creating prime habitat for an amazing variety of fish species. These reefs make for exciting, challenging fishing, where you never know what you?ll catch. The Kona Coast of the Big Island is famous for its big game fishing, where monster tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, and other pelagic species can be taken on rod and reel. Most offshore fishing is done with conventional tackle, but if you find the right captain or guide you could have the chance to catch a true trophy on the fly.

Believe it or not, there are two places you can fish for freshwater species in Hawaii including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, peacock bass, and a variety of sunfish and tilapia species. Lua Reservoir in Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauai is stocked with rainbow trout annually and provides beginner-friendly fishing, but if you hike along the feeder creeks that pour into the reservoir, you have the chance to catch wild rainbow trout. The wild rainbows in these small streams only grow up to 12 inches or so, but due to their tropical jungle environment, have taken on vivid colors and look like no rainbow trout you?ve ever seen. The other freshwater fishing in Hawaii is on Oahu in the Wahiawa Reservoir where largemouth bass and peacock bass are the primary quarry, and are catch and release only.


HI Department of Fish & Wildlife
1151 Punchbowl St
Honolulu, HI 96813
P: (808) 587-0400

Guides based in Hawaii

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