Saltwater fishing in Kauai, Hawaii

Whether you're casting your from ship or shore, you're bound to catch something wonderful!
Categorized as Hawaii Activities, Kauai Vacation Information

Looking to catch a story-worthy fish on your Hawaiian vacation? Anglers of all skill levels may be able to reel in an impressive catch in Kauai. The best thing about saltwater fishing in Hawaii is not the wide variety of interesting tropical fish or the near-constant perfect weather; it’s the fact that anglers can cast their line into the sea from any non-regulated spot on the islands without any kind of permit. Even the regulated areas allow fishing itself – there are just a few extra rules to keep in mind. Otherwise, you’re free to catch fish to your heart’s content. Some anglers prefer to stay in one spot waiting for a bite – others like to walk the shore and cast their lines in different locations. Still others would rather head out on a boat and try their hand at deep-sea fishing. Whichever style of fishing appeals to you, the odds are good you’ll come home with an impressive haul.

Once you’ve filled your cooler with sea creatures, you can head back to your Kauai beach rental and enjoy!

Fish you might catch

The waters surrounding Kauai are full of some of the most beautiful, interesting and delicious fish in the world. For example, you might be able to catch your own mahi-mahi, a Hawaiian culinary delight. Shore fishing and deep-sea fishing are likely to leave you with altogether different catches, but either way, the odds are good you’ll find something worth bragging about.

Tropical fish are some of the most beautiful and interesting fish around. Tropical fish are some of the most beautiful and interesting fish around.

Here’s a look at just a few of the fish you might catch on your Kauai vacation:

Shore Fish

  • Snapper
  • Rudderfish
  • Flagtail
  • Barracuda
  • Needlefish
  • Unicorn fish

Deep-Sea Fish

  • Tuna
  • Blue fin
  • Blue line Snapper
  • Sea bass
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Amberjack

Regulated areas

There are eight different locations on Kauai where fishing is allowed but comes with some extra rules and regulations. These locations are:

  1. Hanam ‘ulu Bay and Ahukini Recreational Pier
  2. Kapa’a and Waika’ea Canals
  3. N wiliwili Harbor
  4. Port Allen
  5. Waimea Bay and Waimea Recreational Pier
  6. K ke’e Public Fishing Area
  7. Wailua Reservoir Public Fishing Area
  8. Ha’ena Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area

The Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources can provide more information about what is and isn’t allowed in these spots. Pay attention to the rules, and don’t go fishing unless you’re confident you’re not breaking any laws for that area. If you’re unsure whether or not a particular place allows fishing, avoid it. Those who don’t want to dive into figuring out where they can and cannot fish may be able to find a guided fishing tour that will lay out the rules and ensure no laws or regulations are broken during the outing.

Stay Safe

“Always pay attention to your surroundings.”

Like any sport, fishing comes with its share of risk. Make sure you’re paying attention to your surroundings while you’re fishing, and always keep an eye on the water – waves can come quickly and at unexpected times. In addition, many of the fish living in Kauai’s waters have fairly sharp teeth. Even the relatively nonaggressive breeds will take a bite out of you if they get the chance, so stay aware of where your fingers (and toes, if you set the fish down) are relative to your catch’s mouth. It’s also wise to wear shoes at all times while fishing in any reef area. The ground under the water can be incredibly sharp, and it’s easy to accidentally injure your feet and cut your fishing trip short.

Another concern to keep in mind while fishing in Kauai: Some of the reef fish can give you a foodborne illness called Ciguatera. This is a fairly serious illness caused by toxins that form in some tropical fish’s bodies. As the symptoms can last for weeks and there is no cure apart from waiting it out, catching this would cast a strong cloud over your trip. The best way to avoid it? Don’t eat any predator fish on the top of the food chain, like barracuda. These kinds of sea creatures are significantly more likely to carry the toxin in dangerous amounts.