Fly-fishing for trout is most likely not the first thing that comes to most people's minds when thinking of Hawaii. That said, the island state does have rainbow trout. Trout require cold water for them to thrive, making most Hawaiian water too warm for them to survive. Trout fishermen visiting the islands have several resources and clubs that can help with finding the hidden holes and pools where fly-fishing for rainbow trout is possible. Be aware that freshwater fishing in Hawaii requires a fishing license, and beach and saltwater fishing do not.
Trout Unlimited-Hawaii Chapter
The local Waikahe'olu Chapter of the national Trout Unlimited Organization offers information and, oftentimes, partners for fly-fishing in the islands. According to the local chapter's website, the rainbow trout on the island prefer cool, clear streams and lakes, but will inhabit warm water lakes if clear, oxygenated water is available.
According to the Hawaii Chapter, rainbow trout are found on the island of Kauai, in the Kokee State Park. There are three streams in the park that have rainbow trout. The Kauaikinana, Kawaikoi and the upper sections of Koaie Stream have rainbows, with some being reported 20 inches long at the Koaie section.
Trout Unlimited-Waikahe'olu Chapter
Methods for Fishing for Rainbows on Kauai
The Trout Unlimited fishermen report using a sparsely tied dark-woolly bugger, deep and retrieved slowly, will yield good results with the rainbows on Kauai. They say to dead drift in the streams current, or to twitch it along the bottom of the area's bigger pools. They do not recommend using dry flies, especially during the spawn. The local anglers also report that using flashy streamers during the spawn gives positive results.
Because fly-fishing seems to still be in its infancy on Hawaii, there are limited resources for information, gear and tackle. One such resource and shop is the Nervous Water Fly Fishers on Oahu. If you are heading to Kauai for some rainbow fly-fishing and need gear, tackle or local insight, plan a trip to the shop before leaving for Kauai.
The Trout Unlimited Hawaii chapter offers visitors opportunities to go with local fishermen on trips and excursions. Check its website for scheduled outings or members willing to meet up for a day trying for rainbows.
Nervous Water Fly Fishers
3434 Wailae Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.