hawaii fishing season

Hawaii Fishing Season: The Best Time to Go Fishing in Hawaii

Hawaii is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking landscapes. But did you know that the islands are also a fishing paradise? The warm Pacific waters surrounding Hawaii teem with various fish species, from Mahi Mahi to Marlin to Tuna. There’s no better place than Hawaii to cast your line and reel in some big catches.

But here’s the catch (no pun intended) – knowing when to go fishing is crucial to make the most of your time on the water. That’s where the Hawaii Fishing Season comes in! This comprehensive guide outlines everything you need to know about fishing in Hawaii throughout the year, including which fish species are available during each season and tips for successful fishing based on moon phases and other factors. So grab your gear and prepare for an unforgettable adventure into one of nature’s greatest wonders!

Fishing Calendar of Hawaii

Fish Jan Feb March April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Amberjack Good Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Good
Largemouth Bass Fair Good Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair
Peacock Bass Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair
Bonefish Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good
Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Peak Good Good Peak Peak Good Fair
Jobfish (Rusty) Good Good Good Good Banned Banned Banned Banned Banned Good Good Good
Lobster Good Good Good Good Banned Banned Banned Banned Good Good Good Good
Black Marlin Fair Fair Fair Peak Peak Good Good Good Good Fair Fair Fair
Blue Marlin Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair
Striped Marlin Fair Good Peak Peak Good Good Fair Bad Bad Fair Fair Good
Steelhead Rainbow Trout Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good
Short-Tail Red Snapper (Ehu) Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good
Pink Snapper Good Good Good Good Banned Banned Banned Banned Banned Good Good Good
Shortbill Spearfish Good Peak Peak Peak Peak Peak Good Good Fair Fair Fair Fair
Swordfish Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Good Good Fair Fair Fair Fair
Bluefin Trevally Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Good Peak
Giant Trevally Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Peak Good Good Fair Fair
Bigeye Tuna Peak Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak
Skipjack Tuna Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair
Yellowfish Tuna Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair
Wahoo Fair Fair Good Peak Peak Peak Peak Good Fair Fair Fair Fair


The prime fishing season for Amberjack is between February and June, with March being the optimal month.

Largemouth Bass

For catching Largemouth Bass, plan your trip sometime between March and May – April is an excellent time.

Peacock Bass

Want to reel in Peacock Bass? Aim for a summertime visit (May through August), with June and July particularly fruitful.

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While Bonefish can be caught year-round in Hawaii, anglers tend to succeed more during summer and fall (June through November).

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

April through September marks the best time for landing Dolphin, with May presenting excellent conditions.

Jobfish (Rusty)

You’ll find Jobfish year-round except from May till September, when they’re banned. The peak season runs from October to April.


Avoid May and June, as lobsters are banned during these months, and instead, plan your visit anytime from July through December.

Black Marlin

Head out on the water between May and August for Black Marlin hunting; you can’t go wrong by choosing April as well!

Blue Marlin

Your chances are highest at catching Blue Marlin between June and September but don’t miss out on August either!

Striped Marlin

Don’t miss Striped Marlins! They’re plentiful between June till October; however, July or August present ideal circumstances.

Steelhead Rainbow Trout

Although Steelhead Rainbow Trout can be caught year-round in Hawaii, fishing them during winter or springtime (January until May) is preferable.

Short-Tail Red Snapper (Ehu)

The Short-Tail Red Snapper bites year-round so that you can target them anytime.

Pink Snapper

Avoid May till September, as Pink Snappers are banned during these months. Your best chance is from October through April.

Short bill Spearfish

The Shortbill Spearfish is abundant between March and August, with April offering the most favorable conditions.


You can catch swordfish all year round in Hawaii, but summer and fall (June through November) are preferable seasons to try your luck.

Bluefin Trevally

Catch Bluefin Trevally between May and September for the best chances, with July being a particularly good month to fish them.

Giant Trevally

Make your trip between May and September for Giant Trevally fishing; June or July provide excellent opportunities too!

Bigeye Tuna

February through June presents the perfect time for Bigeye Tuna fishing – don’t miss out on March or April either!

Skipjack Tuna

Fishermen will want to cast their lines out between June and October, with August being a prime month for Skipjack Tuna hunting.

Yellowfish Tuna

You’ll want to visit during June till September if Yellowfish tuna is what you’re after, with July providing ideal conditions.

Wahoo (Ono)

May until September marks the peak season for catching Wahoo, but don’t overlook June or July!

Hawaii Shoreline Fishing Seasons

wahoo ono

Shoreline fishing in Hawaii is an activity that you can enjoy year-round! It’s all about timing and knowing which type of species to target. To get the best results, try casting your line during the first or last bit of daylight, as dawn and dusk are the best times for shoreline fishing, and the tides don’t matter during this time. If you are fishing at other times of the day, consider the changing tides the best time to fish.

If you’re shoreline fishing in Hawaii, plenty of fish species are at your fingertips. Some of the most popular include Mahimahi, Ono, Ahi Tuna, Ulua, and Pacific Threadfin. Each species has its preferences, so it helps to research before heading out onto the water.

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With the proper preparation and knowledge, shoreline fishing in Hawaii can be gratifying. Check local regulations and read up on any safety tips before setting off. Bring enough bait, lures, and tackle to last throughout the day. Lastly, don’t forget to bring your camera because you won’t miss capturing those special moments when you land that perfect catch!

Hawaii Bottom Fishing Season

red snapper hawaii

When planning a bottom fishing trip in Hawaii, consider the seasonality of the different fish species so you know which to target. Also, note that some fish are not allowed to catch during certain months of the year.

The best time for bottom fishing in Hawaii for Amberjack is from February to November, with April being the peak season.

The Short-Tail Red Snapper (Ehu) can be caught year-round, with good fishing available throughout the year.

The Pink Snapper is banned from May to August and September to December but can be caught from January to April and October to November.

Other bottom fish available in Hawaii include the Hawaiian Grouper, Long-Tail Red Snapper, Von Sieold’s Snapper, Oblique-Banded Snapper, and Silver Mouth Snapper.

Successful bottom fishing in Hawaii requires skill, patience, and knowledge. Using the right gear and bait for the specific species is essential.

Some tips for successful bottom fishing in Hawaii include:

  • Use heavy-duty fishing rods, reels, and line that can withstand these species’ heavy weight and strength.
  • Use live or fresh-cut bait such as shrimp, squid, or small fish.
  • Fish near underwater structures such as rocks, coral, and reefs where bottom fish tend to congregate.
  • Be patient and allow the bait to sink to the bottom before reeling in.
  • Be aware of bag and size limits for these species to ensure sustainable fishing practices.
  • Pay attention to the tides and currents, as these can significantly impact the success of your fishing trip.

Hawaii Moon Calendar Fishing

Fishermen from Hawaii are convinced that the moon plays a role in determining how active fish will be at various points in the lunar cycle.

It’s widely accepted that the 100% full- and new-moon phases bring the best luck in fishing.

If the moon’s phase is more than 90%, either full or new, anglers view this as an excellent time for fishing.

When the moon drops below 90%, the belief is that it’s average on first and second-quarter moons, though slightly better than average.

Other fish species in Hawaii

mahi mahi

Here are some other species you can fish in Hawaii and the best time to fish them.

Marlin season in Hawaii

The marlin season is at its prime from May to September, with Blue Marlin specifically enjoying a prime period from June to August. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of the various marlin species available.

It’s an excellent opportunity to cruise the seas and explore the diversity of marlin, with the Blue Marlin species being the most sought-after. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted to know that the best time to catch Blue Marlin is during the summer months.

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Tuna fishing season in Hawaii

The best time to go fishing for tuna in Hawaii is from May to October. During this period, all three species of tuna listed in the Hawaii Fishing Calendar – Bigeye Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, and Yellowfin Tuna – have good to peak fishing conditions. The peak season for Bigeye Tuna is from June to September, while Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna have their peak season from July to September.

Akule (Bigeye Scad) season in Hawaii

Fishing Akule (Bigeye Scad) may be regulated within particular areas in Hawaii, so do your research beforehand. Within Waimea Bay on Oahu, it is only permitted to fish Akule during November and December, according to a document by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) from June 2021. Other locations may have size- and catch limitations.

Akule is a small fish that grows up to fifteen inches long and has blue-green or green on its back and sides with a white underside. It feeds on small invertebrates, fish larvae, and zooplankton. It is commonly eaten as garudhiya or fried in Maldivian cuisine and used as bait in Florida, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. Akule is an important cultural symbol to Native Hawaiians who have been fishing and eating them for generations.

Mullet season in Hawaii

The summer months in Hawaii are the best time to fish for mullets. However, some species are illegal between December and March, and those who violate this law may face criminal charges.

‘Ama’ama is a culturally important fish, an economically important staple of fishpond cultivation in the 1900s, and still highly prized today. These fish can be caught by throw net, lay/cross net, spearing, or hook and line, with Hilo fishery using a sensitive bobber, two hooks in tandem, and algae as bait.

Striped mullet ‘ama’ama season closes from December 1 to March 31, with an 11-inch minimum size and 10-bag limit (in Hilo Bay only), reopening on April 1, 2017.

Sharp nose mullet uouoa (native) and Marquesan mullet, or Kanda (introduced), are other species available. 

Penalties for fishing violations include criminal fines up to $500 per violation or 30 days in jail and civil fines up to $1,000 per specimen or $1,000 per violation.

Young fish are traditionally caught in nets and raised in fishponds before being eaten raw or wrapped in leaves.

Best Time to Go Fishing in Hawaii

According to the fishing calendar, May to September is the optimal time for a fishing trip to Hawaii.

When planning your trip, there are a few crucial elements to consider. The weather conditions, for one, and the peak tourist season can significantly impact your experience.

You can plan the perfect fishing trip to Hawaii with all these factors.