Hawaii is an incredible destination for holidays and a great choice for enjoying fishing adventures. Because fishing in Hawaii is considered more than a simple hobby, they are a tad easier when it comes fishing in their waters. Therefore, it pays to know what the Hawaii State Department of Aquatic Resources (DAR) expects from anglers to obey and respect.

Given the fact that most people in Hawaii still depend on the ocean for their daily food, it’s no wonder that there’s no need for a license if you want to fish for recreational purposes in their saltwater areas. On the other hand, if you to fish in the freshwater locations, then you’ll need a permit. Moreover, anglers that want to re-sell the fish afterward need a commercial-specific license.  

Even though Hawaii offers the possibility to fish freely in saltwater regions when it comes to closures and protected areas they aren’t so permissive anymore. It’s your duty to learn about those areas and the places where you can only fish certain species. In addition, you need to be aware of the species size and the daily limits you are allowed.

In order to get a fishing license valid for Hawaii, you need to apply online at https://freshwater.ehawaii.gov/freshwater/.

In addition to learning about specific area requirements, you have to understand that many waters are regulated by seasons, daily limits of fish, and the size of nets you can legally use:


  • Hawaii regulations break into three major categories, each with its own regulations. Basically, you need to pay attention to location, species, and gear.
  • For instance, the Waikiki-Diamond Head shoreline is open for fishing activities only in even years. If it’s an odd year, you’ll have to be satisfied with swimming and surfing.
  • The Ama’ama has a fishing season that starts in April and ends in November. So make sure to prepare your holiday during that period.
  • Each island can impose its own set of rules and regulations. You need to be quite informed if you want to avoid unwanted situations.
  • The Kaho’olawe island in Maui is basically a reserve and natives don’t allow fishing to strangers and even entrance without permission. People that don’t follow these rules might encounter abandoned military munitions.
  • Depending on the location and variety of the fish present, each island will inform you about their protected species. Do your homework and learn about them prior to getting to your fishing location.
  • Each fish species has a special daily limit found on the DAR website so make sure to take a look in order to avoid violations of this rules.
  • As far as the gear goes, anglers are fine if they use a rod-and-reel equipment. Most restrictions refer to nets, explosives, and electrical charges.
  • Waimea Bay bans the use of more than two fishing setups. It is prohibited to be in the possession of more than two rods-and-reels. Plus, you mustn’t leave them unattended.



Some other angling laws that you might find interesting:


  • Hawaii has sanctuaries where you can get heavy fines if you don’t obey the fishing rules.
  • Although Hawaiians are quite relaxed people, they take the fishing activity seriously. So pay attention and avoid having to explain to the authorities or paying costly fines.
  • A non-resident fishing license costs $26 per year and you can get passes for 7-days or 30-days periods.


If you respect the people and the wildlife from this area, you’ll end up saving money instead of having to spend money on expensive fines.



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