Fly Fishing in Hawaii on Big Island

Fly Fishing in Hawaii on Big Island: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever tried fly fishing on the Big Island of Hawaii? Fly fishing is a great way to explore the diverse and beautiful waters of Hawaii’s Big Island. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or want to relax, fly fishing has something for everyone! Here’s your complete guide to fly fishing with some of the best spots to catch a big one on the Big Island.

Are you ready to experience the thrill of fly fishing on the Big Island? With its incredible variety of fish species, unique marine life, and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder why so many anglers come here every year.

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Best Places for Fly Fishing on the Big Island of Hawaii

Best Places for Fly Fishing on the Big Island of Hawaii

If you’re looking for an excellent spot to cast your line, try these top locations:

  1. Lake Wilson – Located in Waimea, this lake is home to various freshwater fish, such as largemouth bass and rainbow trout.
  2. Kokee State Park – This park offers plenty of opportunities for fly fishing, with deep pools and small streams throughout the area.
  3. Kiholo Bay – Head to this bay at sunrise or sunset for an unforgettable fishing experience. You can find many saltwater fish here, including Mahi Mahi and Barracuda.
  4. Kona Coast State Park – From shore-casting to boat-fishing, this park offers plenty of options for all skill levels. Look out for species like Jack Crevalle and Spanish Mackerel.
  5. Puako Reefs – If you’re looking for coral reef fish, head to the Puako Reefs. You can find species such as Parrotfish, Triggerfish, and Unicornfish here.
  6. Honokohau Harbor – This harbor offers excellent shore-casting opportunities, and you’ll have the chance to reel in giant Trevallies and Queenfish.
  7. Fish Pond – Not to be confused with the nearby Fishpond Beach, this pond is located near Kailua-Kona and is home to tilapia and other game fish.
  8. Kona Natural Energy Lab – Take a trip to the island’s eastern side, and you’ll find this little-known spot. It’s a great place to reel in bonefish, triggerfish, and bluefin trevally.
  9. Four Seasons Resort/Hualalai – The resort also has its pier where guests can cast their lines into the water and look for bottom dwellers like snapper, grouper, and barracuda.
  10. ‘A-bay’ – This secluded cove off the Kohala coast is an excellent spot for catching Tuna, Dorado, and Marlin.
  11. Turnoff off Hapuna highway – Just south of Kawaihae, this spot is known for its huge Striped Marlin. Be prepared for a fight when you hook one!
  12.  Hapuna Beach – This beach is perfect for night fishing, especially if you’re after Swordfish or Mahi-Mahi.
  13. Mauna Kea Beach – Known for its clear waters and calm waves, this beach is ideal for casting from the shore. Look out for Tarpon, Snook, and Amberjack.
  14. Spencer’s Beach State Park – This beach may not be easy to access, but it’s well worth the effort. Keep an eye out for Wahoo, Sailfish, and Yellowtail.
  15. Kawaihae Area – Anglers flock here for the abundance of Pelagic species like Ono, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna.
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So there you have it – 15 fantastic spots to fly fish on the Big Island.

Top Fly Fishing Species in Hawaii for Anglers

Let me tell you all about the different types of fish you can snag while fly fishing in Hawaii, when’s the best time to do so and some tips on gear and techniques.

From trevally to awa-awa ladyfish, Hawaii has an incredible variety of fish big fish species perfect for fly fishers. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Ulua
  • Barracuda (Kaku)
  • Hawaiian Bonefish (O’io)
  • Awa-awa Ladyfish

You can also find Spotted Roi, Aha giant needlefish, Hawkfish, Trumpetfish, Boxfish, Goatfish, and Peacock flounder if you know where to look. All these species make incredible catches, so pack your rod, book a flight, and get ready to reel in!

Best Time and Hawaii Fly Fishing Regulations

If you want to fly fishing in Hawaii, winter (November through April) and summer (May through October) are the best times. You’ll need a Freshwater Game Fishing License, available as a one-year, seven, or 30-day license for non-residents. Remember that regulations, rules, and limits change regularly, so double-check before heading out.

Fly Fish Hawaii Techniques and Gear

Fly Fish Hawaii Techniques and Gear

Fly fishing in Hawaii requires different strategies than traditional angling methods: 

  • When targeting bonefish, use mantis, crab patterns, and an 8wt Sage Xi2 rod with an intermediate line. 
  • For leaders, try a Wulff line with a 1ft cut-off, plus 3ft 20lb/3ft 12lb Maxima.
  • Felt-bottomed sock booties will keep you from slipping around in slippery areas. 
  • As for flies, small deceiver-like ones with tinsel flash, light-colored clousers, and shrimp-like flies work best. 
  • You should also consider the ease of casting in the wind when choosing flies and remember to protect yourself from cliffs or trees if the wind gets too intense.
  • If you’re going after offshore species, opt for a 14-weight range rod, quality saltwater reel, and 250 yards of backing. 
  • Bait-and-switch is an excellent technique for deep-sea fishing.
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5 Hawaii Fishing Tips

Fishing in Hawaii is a great way to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. Here are some top tips from experienced locals on how to catch more fish while in Hawaii:

1 Reel Carefully

When fishing in Hawaii, always be aware of your surroundings. The currents can be intense, and if you’re not careful, you could end up tangled or swept away! Take extra care when casting and reeling – use caution as plenty of rocks and reefs are underwater.

2 Lure Selection

Hawaii is full of amazing aquatic creatures, and picking the right lure will help increase your chances of success. Choose lures that mimic local baitfish’s size and color, and ensure they have enough weight to reach the bottom. Try variations of saltwater fly, fly line and fly rods (read more about how to make fly fishing lures and how to use fly fishing lures)

3 Bait & Tackle

In addition to selecting the right lure, having good quality bait and tackle is essential. Live bait is especially popular with seasoned anglers, as it mimics what the fish would find naturally. Make sure you bring a variety of hooks, weights, and line sizes to adjust to different depths and conditions.

4 Be Patient

Patience is vital to successful fishing. Give yourself time to get used to the area before starting. Spend some time observing the water and watching for signs of activity. If nothing seems to be happening, move around until you find the fish.

5 Respect Marine Life

When fishing in Hawaii, respect the marine environment. Avoid eating big barracuda, jacks, and trevally due to Ciguatera toxin (which can lead to Ciguatera fish poisoning by eating certain types of fish, but is not contagious). Additionally, try to minimize disturbance to coral and other delicate areas.

Best fly fishing charters on the Big Island of Hawaii

Once you’ve got the hang of things, why not book a charter boat? Here are three highly recommended ones:

Hawaii Beach Fishing

hawaii beach fishing on big island

Hawaii Beach Fishing, located in Waimea, offers a unique boat-free fishing experience led by the family-oriented and energetic Captain Mckenzy. During the 3-hour shared excursions, guests can learn modern and traditional Hawaiian fishing techniques to catch Bonefish and Bluefin Trevally, using methods such as bottom fishing, fly fishing, popping, and spinning.

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The trip includes all necessary fishing equipment, licenses, and the opportunity to keep any legal species caught. With a focus on exploring Hawaiian culture, this charter welcomes children and ensures a seasickness-free experience for the entire family.

Book your trip here →

SurReel Charters

SurReel Charters offers full-service fly fishing trips off the shores of Oahu. Their knowledgeable guides provide everything you need to make your trip successful, including specialized equipment and expert advice.

Exit 8 Bass Hawaii

Exit 8 Bass Hawaii provides custom charters tailored to suit any experience level. They offer private boats, group trips, and even eco tours for those who want to explore the vibrant underwater world of Hawaii.

Additional Information about Fly Fishing in Hawaii

Hawaii offers plenty of opportunities for a successful catch—from Bonefish, Sailfish, Bass, and Trout on the four main islands to O’io, Kaku, and Ulua found in significant numbers on Big Island and Oahu flats. And if you’re heading to Kailua-Kona, check out the flats famous for their bonefish.

Offshore, charter boats are available for Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Marlin, and Sailfish. Don’t forget about Largemouth and Peacock Bass, Rainbow Trout, and Snakehead that live in Kauai or Oahu. 

Best of all, you won’t need any licenses for saltwater fishing, but freshwater does require one. Fortunately, you can find information and license applications online.

Other Considerations for a Fly Fishing Trip to the Big Island

Here’s what you need to know before packing your bags and reaching your fly fishing destination.

Before setting off, plan with the right weather gear, equipment, and gear. It’s also worth considering hiring a guide who knows the area, familiarizing yourself with local fishing regulations, securing accommodations, and looking into other activities nearby. You can also try spear fishing, or other hawaii fishing charters and have professional anglers and boat captains show you around.


If you’re ready for an unforgettable fly fishing experience, the Big Island of Hawaii has something for everyone, and there are fly shops that sell fishing equipment and fly gear in Honolulu. You can find species like Bonefish, Sailfish, and Bass, and freshwater options like Rainbow Trout and Snakehead. Bring the right gear, research regulations, and accommodation, and prepare for an incredible fishing adventure. I hope you enjoyed this fly fishing guide.