Hawaii trout pool
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Is there trout in Hawaii?

When most of us think of Hawaii, we think of palm tree lined tropical beaches, lush jungles and surfing, but Hawaii is more than just a beach Paradise. The islands have volcanoes raising over 13000 feet, it gets so cold on the summits that most years it snows.

The largest of the volcanoes is on Big Island, and Maui is famous for its crystal clear cool waterfalls. But, the trout are not found on these bigger islands, but further south on Kauai.

Every year, thousands of Rainbow tout are released in Pu‘u Lua Reservoir located within the Kōke‘e State Park. With an elevation of over 4000ft, and frequent rainfall makes for conditions suitable for trout.

Where to catch trout on Kauai ?

The best place to trout fish is at the Pu’u Lua Reservior located within the Kōke‘e State Park.

I know some anglers, wish to target wild rather than stock trout. Wild Hawaiian trout can be challenging but rewarding, they live in small, overgrown streams and can be reluctant to raise even to well presented flies.

I am not going to give exact locations because some spots need to be protected. Plus it is more rewarding to put in the leg work and find them for yourself. . Quite a few mountain streams on Kauai do hold feral populations of Rainbow trout. A couple examples include the headwater tributaries of the Waimea River and the upper reaches of the Wainiha.

What to wear when trout fishing in Hawaii?

Hawaii might be a tropical island, but where the trout live the weather is much more temperate. Weather can range from hot, humid and sunny, too cold and wet. Being a pacific island, the weather can change suddenly. So I advise anyone heading to explore the trout streams to bring some warm clothing. The water in the streams is not warm, if it was the trout will not survive.

I suggest wearing long pants, and long sleeves. This provides protection against the wild ginger and other thorny plants, plus protects the skin against the local mosquitoes. I advise against waders, the streams are too small, the air too humid and chances are they will develop leaks from all of the prickly plants.

Navigating the upper Waimea can be challenging

How can trout survive in tropical Hawaii?

Trout can survive on Hawaii for several reasons. The main reason being the trout streams are located at over 4000 feet where the average temperature is cooler. Kauai also receives a lot of rainfall which feeds the streams allowing them to flow cool and clean.

Are there wild trout on Hawaii?

Yes, there are wild rainbow trout. But, they are not easy to catch. They often live in small mountain streams, surrounded with rough often overgrown terrain. Rock-climbing and abseiling skills are at required to access the holes.

Most trout anglers, prefer to target the stock rainbow trout in the Reservoir.

Are Rainbow Trout native to Hawaii?

No, there are no native trout on Hawaii. They were first introduced over a century ago.

Are there brown trout in Hawaii?

Brown trout were released into the Wainiha River and other Kauai streams during the 1930’s but they never got established. Rainbow trout are the only Salmonids which can be caught in Hawaii.

What are the regulations?

For current regulations I advise checking with State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, but I will provide a summary below

– Must have a valid freshwater game fishing licence

-Fish with only one pole, or line at a time (No spears, Nets chemicals, trotlines ect)

(a dip net, upto 2 feet is permitted to land hooked trout)

-Only use single hooks (No double, or trebles)

– Fish during the hours of 6am to 6pm

  • From June 19-July 12, 2020 anglers may only fish during the times assigned by lottery. From July 13-September 30 anglers may fish from 6 am to 6 pm daily.

– Any sort of corn bait is prohibited.

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