Beaches and bays to fly fish in Hawaii

Fly Fishing in Hawaii: A Comprehensive Guide

Aloha, fellow angler! If you’re reading this, you’re probably planning a trip to Hawaii and wondering about the fly fishing opportunities. Well, you’re in luck! I’ve been casting lines in Hawaii’s waters for years, and I’m here to share my favorite spots and tips with you.

When to Go

Hawaii is a year-round paradise, with warm weather whether it’s winter (November to April) or summer (May to October). So, you can enjoy fly fishing in Hawaii no matter when you visit. But if you’re targeting a specific fish species, you might want to time your trip to when they’re most plentiful.

My Favorite Fly Fishing Spots in Hawaii

1. Lake Wilson

Peacock Bass from Lake Wilson Hawaii
Peacock Bass from Lake Wilson Hawaii

Nestled in the heart of Oahu, Lake Wilson is a freshwater reservoir that’s a favorite among anglers of all skill levels. Here, you can catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, peacock bass, tilapia, and channel catfish. I’ve found that Woolly Buggers and Clouser Minnows work wonders in these waters.

Map to Lake Wilson

Flies for Lake Wilson

I’ve found that Woolly Buggers and Clouser Minnows work wonders in these waters.

2. Koke’e State Park

Now, this is a special place. Koke’e State Park on Kaua’i is a unique spot where you can find rainbow trout. The open season for trout fishing runs from June 17 to September 30, and you can fish daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most of the action happens in the Puʻu Lua Reservoir, which is regularly stocked with young trout.

Stocked rainbow trout in Kokee State Park
Stocked rainbow trout in Kokee State Park

Just remember to bring your valid State of Hawai‘i freshwater game fishing license, and keep in mind that the daily bag limit is 10 rainbow trout.

Map to Koke’e State Park

Freshwater Flies for Koke’e

Traditional trout flies like the Elk Hair Caddis and Bead Head Nymphs are my go-to here.

Elk Hair Caddis Fly Pattern
Elk Hair Caddis Fly Pattern
Beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymph Fly Pattern
Beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymph Fly Pattern

3. Kiholo Bay – A Peaceful Spot

Over on the Big Island, Kiholo Bay offers clear turquoise waters and a peaceful fishing spot. Here, you can catch large and small-sized trevally, barracuda, and bonefish.

Small Trevally are fun to catch on a fly rod
Small Trevally are fun to catch on a fly rod

Map to Kiholo Bay

Favorite Flies

Crazy Charlie or Clouser Minnow flies have never let me down in these saltwater conditions.

Crazy Charlie Fly Pattern
Crazy Charlie Fly Pattern
Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern
Clouser Minnow Fly Pattern

4. Kona Coast State Park

Also on the Big Island, Kona Coast State Park is home to Kekaha Kai Beach. You can fish right from the beach off the rocks, catching species like grouper, trevally, and goatfish. Deceiver flies and Clouser Minnows are my top picks for these species.

Kekaha Kai Beach Map

5. Puako Reefs

South of Hapuna, Puako Reefs offer a unique landscape with reef flats and tide pools. It’s a diverse fishing experience that I highly recommend for skilled anglers. The bonefish are the target here.

Map to Puako Reefs

Flies to Throw

Saltwater flies like the Lefty’s Deceiver or the Crazy Charlie work well here.

Lefty's Deceiver
Lefty’s Deceiver
Crazy Charlie Fly Pattern
Crazy Charlie Fly Pattern

6. Koaie Stream

Koaie Stream, located in the Alakai swamp in the Kokee area of Kauai, is a hidden gem for fly fishing. The stream is home to some of the best rainbow trout fishing in the USA. However, reaching the stream involves a challenging 4 to 6-hour hike through beautiful but difficult terrain.

The stream is slippery and rocky, so wading can be challenging. The best time to fish here is between June and September.

Here’s the Map

What Flies to Use?

For this location, Beadhead Nymphs, and black Woolly Buggers with a brass head are my personal favorites.

Beadhead Caddis Nymph
Beadhead Caddis Nymph
Woolly Bugger
Woolly Bugger

Fly Fishing Guides and Tours in Hawaii

If you’re new to the islands or just want to maximize your fishing time, I highly recommend hiring a local guide. They can show you the best spots, help you with techniques, and even provide gear. It’s a great way to get the most out of your fishing trip.

Some Guides to Make Your Hawaii Trip Perfect

HI Tide Fishing 👈 Link

Based in Oahu, Hawaii, offers guided saltwater fly fishing services targeting large bonefish. Led by experienced local captains, the company provides memorable day and multi-day fishing trips using a specially designed 16-foot Action Craft flats boat.

O’ahu Fly Fishing 👈 Link

O’ahu Fly Fishing is Hawaii’s premier fly fishing guide service, offering unique experiences in the bustling city of Honolulu, just minutes away from some of the best flats on the island. The typical Hawaiian bonefish averages between 4 and 6 pounds, with opportunities to catch fish exceeding 10 pounds. The company provides high-quality Sage rods and reels, fluorocarbon leaders, quality flies tied specifically for Hawaii, bottled water, and lunch on full-day trips.

Conservation and Sustainability

As an angler, I believe it’s our responsibility to respect and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources. This includes following local fishing regulations, practicing catch and release, and leaving our fishing spots as clean as we found them. Remember, the fish you catch and release today could provide another angler with a memorable fishing experience in the future.

Hawaii Fishing Regulations

Hawaii’s fishing regulations are designed to protect and manage the state’s aquatic resources. These regulations apply to all areas of the state, and it’s important to note that many marine shoreline and freshwater areas are private property, requiring the landowner’s permission for access.

The fees vary according to the type of fishing you’ll be doing.  I highly suggest you review THIS WEBPAGE for the latest information.

Get a FREE PDF copy of Hawaii’s fishing booklet 👉 Hawaii Fishing Regulations PDF Booklet

One Last Cast in Hawaii

Hawaii is a paradise for more than just beach lovers. For fly fishing enthusiasts like us, it offers a unique and diverse range of species and fishing locations. Whether you’re casting your line in the freshwater Lake Wilson or the saltwater Kiholo Bay, you’re sure to have a memorable fishing trip in Hawaii. And with the right selection of flies, you’ll increase your chances of a successful catch. So pack your gear, grab your flies, and I’ll see you out on the water!

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish

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