Hawaii has long been a popular destination for travelers, but usually it’s chosen for its beaches and stunning scenery. Well, here’s a little known fact. You can also choose Hawaii as a premier fly fishing destination. Most anglers would be surprised to hear this, as the waters are far too warm for trout. Or are they?
Finding trout in Hawaii isn't actually impossible. In fact, there are spots inland where you'll be able to find rainbow trout. But there is so much more than trout here. Anglers will be able to test their skills on such species as barracuda, olua, trevally, bonefish, and more. There are some species here that you may never have even heard of. As well, you aren’t confined to just the inland waters. You’ve got freshwater and saltwater opportunities, which explain the diversity in species.
Hawaii Fishing Map
Click the map icons to get directions to fishing spots, boat ramps and real-time USGS stream flow data
Hawaii is a state that is made up of six different islands, each with their own unique features and beauty. You will find everything from volcanoes, to beautiful shorelines, and even a rainforest. Once you visit, there’s a good chance this will become your new “go to” destination for fly fishing.
In this guide we will highlight a few of the top places that offer fly fishing in the islands. So let’s get started so you can plan out your trip!
Where to Fly Fish in Hawaii?
So how do you possibly decide on just a few locations to mention when you're dealing with a state made up of six major islands? That's exactly the dilemma that Hawaii poses. There are literally hundreds of streams to choose from with freshwater, a number of reservoirs, and five natural lakes.
Hawaii took it upon itself to introduce fish species to these freshwaters so that anglers would have fishing worth talking about. Thanks to these efforts, you can now find rainbow trout, panfish, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass among others. Instead of the islands just acting as a beautiful tropical getaway, they are now attracting fly fishers from around the country, and the world.
Lake Wilson is often referred to as one of the best kept secrets in Oahu. It is located right in the middle of the island and is a freshwater 400-acre reservoir. The area surrounding the lake is lush and dense, and even though the water isn't crystal clear, it's still beautiful. You'll find all skill levels and all ages at Lake Wilson. Typical fish that you'll be able to catch are smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, peacock bass, tilapia, and channel catfish. Depending on the fish species you're after, winter or summer may be better. Despite the fact you can fish year-round in this lake, April through October tends to be the best. This lake can be enjoyed by float or boat.
Kokee State Park
It’s hard to believe you can find rainbow trout in such warm waters, but that’s exactly the case when you head to Kokee State Park. It's hard to find more beautiful scenery than what greets you here. If you can tear your eyes away, you'll be able to enjoy some rather challenging fishing. Wading can be done here, but be warned; it's very rocky and slippery. Just as you would expect, you are able to fish year-round. With that said, the stocked trout really build in numbers between June and September, so you may want to visit during these months.
If you are more interested in clear water that has the tropical turquoise hue to it, then Kiholo Bay won't leave you disappointed. Located on the Big Island, not far from the popular Four Seasons Resort, this is a small but quiet spot. You'll see an abundance of aquatic life here, including large and small sized trevally, barracuda, and bonefish. You will be able to fish from the shore with ease. There is no wrong time to visit Kiholo Bay as it’s beautiful and ideal for fishing all year.
Kona Coast State Park
Found on the Big Island is Kona Coast State Park. Within this park is Kekaha Kai Beach, which is known for its rather steep decline. Here you can happily fish right from the beach off the rocks themselves. There is a variety of fish that you can catch, which are grouper, trevally, and goat fish. It’s a great way to enjoy the beach while fishing.
Why not take advantage of the landscape and visit the Puako Reefs? These are located south of Hapuna and offer opportunities for skilled anglers. Conditions include reef flats and tide pools. It’s a nice way to add variety to your trip.
When to Go Fly Fishing in Hawaii
Hawaii is a state that is known for beautiful weather all year-round. You can pretty much count on having warm days no matter when you visit, even in the winter months. Hawaiians always say there are two seasons in the islands. These seasons are winter and summer. The former takes place from November until April. During this time of year, the daytime high is 78 degrees. Then, in summer, the daytime high is 85 degrees. Summer is from May until October. As you can tell, there’s not much difference.
If you are trying to pick the best time to visit Hawaii based on the weather, you can’t go wrong. You’re going to be able to enjoy fly fishing no matter what month you visit in. The crowds may be a bit thicker in the winter months, but not much. And besides, these crowds are usually vacationers looking to enjoy the beaches and various other activities on the islands. If you’re after a certain fish species, then you may want to time your trip to match with its most heavily populated time.
Hawaii Fishing Regulations
If you plan to be fishing in Hawaii, you will need a Freshwater Game Fishing License. This goes for residents and non-residents. The license is available through the State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources. If you are a resident, you can purchase the one-year license. Non-residents can purchase the seven of 30-day license. Be sure to also check about the regulations, rules, and limits in the areas you plan to fish in. These can change on a yearly basis, so you’ll want to be sure you stay up to date.
Hawaii offers up all kinds of natural beauty scattered across its many islands. You can choose to stick to just one island and really get to know its fishing spots, or you can adventure out to each of the six major islands. What stands out here is that you can fish year-round, the temperature is fantastic any time of the year, and there is such an impressive diversity of fish species.