Hawaii Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations
Hawaii offers a unique fishing experience when compared to most areas in the United States, and features diverse bodies of water – including shore, reef, offshore and deep sea fishing.
Fishing is very enriching in Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has seven inhabited and 129 uninhabited islands that play a huge role Aspect of Hawaiian Fisheries Culture.
Many of the native Hawaiians rely on fishing for their families’ daily food and to extend the lifestyles of their faithful ancestors. Since it is such a cultural pastime for the locals, anglers MUST abide by the state-issued regulations to protect the long-standing tradition.
The fishing regulations in Hawaii are a bit complex compared to other states. That is why we have prepared this Hawaii fishing guide to make sure you enjoy your Hawaii fishing trip.
Get Hawaii fishing licenses
One advantage of fishing in Hawaii is that you do not need a license to fish in the sea for recreational fishing in Hawaii, neither for residents nor for visitors to the islands. The only rule is that you cannot sell your catch.
If you want to fish for freshwater, you will need a license for deep-sea freshwater fishing. To obtain this license, visit the website of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Here is the breakdown of costs:
- Minor – $ 4
- Residents – $ 6
- Nonresident – $ 26
- 7 day tourist – $ 11
- 30 day tourist – $ 21
- Senior – $ 1
Types of Hawaii Fishing Licenses, Costs, and Where to Get Them:
Below we’ve rounded up the few fishing licenses and permits available for recreational use in Hawaii. Please refer to these tables to see whether you need licenses or permits for your upcoming trips.
Registration of demersal fishing vessels
|Applies to||Bottom fisherman|
|Needed for||Any ship owner who wants to catch one of the Deep 7 bottom fish. Must provide a ship identification|
|Where buy||On-line or Personally|
Freshwater deep sea fishing license
|Applies to||Freshwater fishermen|
|Fees||Vary (see section above)|
|Needed for||Anyone who wants to catch freshwater fish in their free time|
|Where buy||On-line, Personally, Authorized license agents|
Entry permit for the public fishing area of Wahiawa
Hawaii fishing license extension
To renew your freshwater fishing licenses, go to the available channels to buy and repurchase them using the existing login that you originally registered.
Hawaii fish size and limits
When it comes to minimum fish size requirements, we recommend following these requirements to ensure you are meeting Hawaiian fishing laws.
|‘Ama’ama (striped mullet)||11 inches||–||Closed season from December to March|
|Moi||11 inches||fifteen||Closed from June to August|
|Uhi||12 inches; 10 inches specially made for Maui||2||–|
|Eagle owl ‘ele’ ele||Taking on Maui. forbidden|
|Eagle owl uliuli||Taking on Maui. forbidden|
|Eagle owl ‘ahu’ ula||14 in||2||Rules only apply on Maui|
|Eagle owl palukaluka||14 in||2||Rules only apply on Maui|
|Ulua and Papio||10 inches of leisure and 16 inches for sale||20 (leisure)||–|
|Cumu||10 inches (excluding Maui); 12 inches on Maui||1 (Maui)||–|
|Moano||7 inch; 8 inches for Maui||–||–|
|Moano Kea||12 inches||2||Rules apply to Maui only|
|Munich||8 inches||2||Rules apply to Maui only|
|Weke and ‘Oama||7 inches for all islands except Maui; 8 inches for Maui||50 ‘Oama|
|Week nono||12 inches||–||Rules apply to Maui only|
|All other goat fish||8 inches||–||–|
|Opelu Kala||16 inches||–||–|
|Ula ula koa e||1 pound||5||–|
|Ula ula (ehu)||–||5||–|
|Aukule and Halalu||A minimum of 8 ½ inches and a maximum of 200 lbs with mesh||–||Valid from July to October|
|Opelu||–||–||Ban on the use of animal bait|
|Nehu||Nets over 50 feet||1 gallon||Commercial use only, bait license|
|‘Iao||–||–||Commercial use only, bait license|
|honor||–||–||Not an open season – endangered species|
|‘Ilioholoikauaua (Hawaiian Mon||–||–||No open species – endangered species|
Hawaii fishing rules and regulations
When it comes to Hawaiian fishing laws, there are too many to remember at once. As a rule of thumb, however, plan your location, type, and equipment in advance. For example, the Waikiki Diamond Head coast is only open for fishing in even years, not odd years. In Ama’ama, the fishing season runs from April and ends in November.
Also, keep in mind that each island has its own specific rules. Most rod and reel gear will work with the fishing gear you use. For commercial use, you want to find out about nets, explosives, and electrical charges.
With Waimea Bay, you cannot use more than two fishing setups or have more than two rods and reels at the same time. You can’t leave them unattended either. Failure to comply with these laws will result in heavy fines. For full details on fishing rules and regulations, please visit the state Hawaii Division of Aquatics Resources for more informations.
In general, Hawaiian residents are very laid back people, but they pride themselves on taking care of their land. Disregarding the law or treating this species of fish with respect means to them that you are disturbing their home and their peace.
The best fishing spots in Hawaii (various islands)
Hawaii has something for everyone for anglers. Whether you prefer to hunt big game for marlin in deep offshore waters or enjoy the tranquility of fly fishing in freshwater lakes and streams, Hawaii has it all.
One of our favorite freshwater spots in Oahu is Lake Wilson, which has over 17 species in the area. It is known for its famous peacock bass. But you can find other fish like channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, black bass, snakehead, oscr, tilapia, and red devil.
The best time to catch the coveted famous peacock bass is from April to late October, when the weather is at its warmest. The temperature in Hawaii remains fairly constant; However, spring and winter come with a lot Rain, storms and winds that affect the visibility of the lake and make accurate fishing difficult.
For those of you interested in sport fishing and deep sea fishing, head to the port of Nawiliwili, Kauai. This is a busy place near Lihue Airport and has a wide variety of fish species such as marlin, mahi-mahi, ahi (yellowfin tuna), and ono (wahoo). This is an offshore location so you will need to take a chartered boat to get here. However, there are many hotels and accommodations available near this area.
Hawaii Fishing Licenses
Some anglers love the challenge of hunting new and more sensitive fish. The famous World War II Memorial at Pearl Harbor offers an excellent range of fishing opportunities. Besides all of the tourist gold mine here, many anglers find it extremely productive to fish here. If you fish from the pier, their affinity for the rocks below the surface allows you to land goat, Mary, greenjack, and samoan crabs. For those taking a fishing charter, you can find some solid game fish such as tuna, mahi-mahi, marlin, and swordfish in the waters of Hickam. These fish are known to put up a considerable fight, so bring your A-game!
The beauty of Hawaii is that it gives fishing a lot of uniqueness. A variety of species can be found at Waiakea Pond in Wailoa River State Park near Hilo on the Big Island. Some will contain mullets, ulua, and a hole. Catches here are limited to 20 fish due to the short distance of 25 hectares and in order to preserve its natural habitat. It’s also a public fishing area, and even kid-friendly, so an excellent destination for your family. For a more secluded spot where you can probably land all of the fish yourself, the Waialua Bay Pier at Haleiwa Alii Beach Park in Oahu is a fantastic spot. Live bait is best at this location, and you can land papio, goat fish, uluas, barracudas, and giant sea bass. It is an excellent place for a barbecue and picnic so you can have a nice family day out right after catching your trophy fish!