March 1, 2024

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Oahu Fly-Fishing: The Complete Guide

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii screams “Incredible fishing!” And with Oahu home to the state’s capital city, it’s no wonder that this island features high up on many anglers’ to-fish lists. Deep sea hunts usually come to mind when casting a line in Hawaii, but we’re here to let you in on a little secret. Oahu fly fishing is off the charts!

“Why focus on fly fishing when there’s so much going on offshore from Oahu?” you may ask. Well, rich shallow waters brimming with every fly angler’s favorite, Bonefish, should answer that question. Still not convinced? How about the lure of Trevallies or even freshwater Trout and Bass? No? Then team up with a deep sea charter and test your skills fly fishing against Tuna, Billfish, and more. If that doesn’t get your pulse racing, nothing will!

In this guide, we’ll talk you through the specifics of each species you can catch. We’ll also get you clued up on the most effective gear to use and where to go. With a final section wrapping up on regulations, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to come fly fishing in Oahu. There’s no doubt about it.

Top Oahu Fly Fishing Targets

We’ve given you a brief lowdown of what you can catch on the fly in Oahu, but let’s go into more detail. Here, we’ll let you know the benefits of going after all the species named above, along with some tips on how to land ’em. Let’s dive in.


Where there are Bonefish, there’s good fly fishing. Every serious angler knows that. But what they may not know is quite how good bonefishing in Oahu is. Multiple hook-ups are all but guaranteed when casting a line on this stunning island, with over 50 fish caught on an average day. And not only that, fish reaching over 10 pounds are more than commonplace!

This is reason enough for fly fishing here to be considered off the scales – pun intended – but let’s see what a day going after Bonefish looks like. You’ll find these silvery creatures along the flats, in waters just a few feet deep. Practically touching the shore, you’ll have no problem locating a prime bonefishing spot in Oahu. The east and south of the island are particularly productive, and shore fishing or charter guides are aplenty.


A female angler standing on a boat and smiling while holding a large Trevally, with the water behind her on a sunny day

If strong bonefishing action means grade-A fly fishing, the sight of a Trevally is pretty much a dream come true. And Oahu is home to not one, not two, but three Trevally species. Golden, Blue, and Giant Trevallies are all available in spades, and they all respond to well-presented flies. These brutes grow to impressive sizes too, and they’ll run away with your line as fast as you like, so you’d better be prepared for a battle.

Much like Bonefish, Trevallies in Oahu like to hunt the flats, so you won’t have to head far to get your fish on. The same gear will also be good enough for Golden and Blue Trevallies, but you might need something sturdier if going for a big “GT.” Otherwise, just be aware that these creatures are solitary hunters, so you won’t find them in schools as you may do with Bonefish.

Bass and Trout

Two anglers wearing sunglasses and hats, standing on a freshwater fishing charter, holding a sizeable Peacock Bass, with the water and shoreline behind them on a sunny day
Photo taken by Exit 8 Bass Hawaii

While we’ve focused on saltwater fishing so far – and for good reason – we couldn’t forget about the incredible freshwater fly fishing opportunities Oahu offers. The lakes inland on this pristine island are probably not the main attraction for your visit, but they’re a great alternative getaway if you’re staying for longer. And they’re surrounded by the luscious forests that make Hawaii so fruitful, so you’ll get a real feel for what Hawaii is all about.

Smallmouth, Largemouth, and Peacock Bass are the stars of the show in summer, as they show up in large numbers. Trout, meanwhile, dominate throughout the year, with summer also proving to be peak season for these beauties. These are favorites of fly anglers throughout the world, and the simplest of setups will do the trick – then it’s all down to skill and luck.

Tuna and Mahi Mahi

A group of anglers back on the dock after a successful fishing trip, holding their catch of Mahi Mahi and Tuna on a sunny day

If that didn’t whet your appetite then the prospect of an offshore battle on the fly will surely get you fired up. While not most commonly associated with deep sea fishing, offshore fly fishing is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can ever have. Imagine a 50+ pounder on the end of your line! That’s exactly what could happen if you land a Tuna.

These creatures, along with the ever-present Mahi Mahi are topwater feeders, meaning they’re partial to a fly or two. Just beware, this fishing is not for the faint of heart. Only experienced fly anglers really have a chance of landing one of these brutes – and that’s just down to the technique. You’ll also need plenty of strength to reel ’em in, as Tuna dive deep and Mahi will run far.

Blue Marlin

Two anglers standing on a fishing charter in Hawaii and holding a large Marlin, with water behind them and two trolling rods off the side of the boat

Speaking of topwater offshore feeders, we couldn’t mention fly fishing in Oahu without giving an honorable mention to one of the most impressive fish in the ocean. Marlin are a favorite of anglers wherever they show up, and experienced fly anglers are no different. What makes Oahu special? Well, the fact that it’s pretty much the Blue Marlin capital of the world.

Year-round, these monstrous species roam the deep waters, occasionally coming to the surface to feed. And that’s where you come into play. Try trolling a couple of teasers to attract Marlins’ attention, and slowly retrieve them before presenting your fly. Draw your line in quickly and there’s a good chance you’ll get a bite. You’ll need a charter to head to the deeper waters. And that’s handy, because landing one of these is at least a two-man job!

And More!

An angler standing on a boat with the water and a spit of land behind him in the distance, while holding a Wahoo caught in Oahu

While these are the stars of the show, fly fishing in Oahu is far more than just its headliners. From the flats to the reefs, and all the way out to the deep waters offshore, there’s a more-than-worthy supporting cast, too. Inshore, Goatfish and Wrasse will be tempted in the same waters as Bonefish and Trevallies. Meanwhile, Barracuda are always hungry around the reefs.

Further out, Wahoo are often swimming alongside Mahi Mahi and Tuna – and we didn’t even mention the number of Tuna you can catch. Depending on when you visit, you could find Yellowfin, Bigeye, or Skipjack Tuna at the end of your line. And the same goes for Marlin. Black and Striped varieties may pay a visit to their Blue cousins, giving you even more of a chance to land that dream catch.

When to Go Fly Fishing in Oahu

So we mentioned that a few creatures are available year-round. And that means great fly fishing opportunities. Most other locations around the world have clearly-defined seasons, but that’s not the case in Oahu. With just 7 degrees between the average winter and summer highs, you can rely on consistent weather and an even more consistent fishery.

Inshore, Bonefish and Trevallies are in the cards whenever you visit, along with the smaller creatures you can land. The same goes for the reefs. As for offshore, Striped and Black Marlin come by in early spring, while Bigeye Tuna are available throughout the winter. Yellowfin and Skipjacks peak in summer, which is the peak season for freshwater fly fishing too.

How to Go Fly Fishing in Oahu

A closeup of a fly fishing reel on a Carolina Skiff boat

If you’re an experienced fly angler, you probably know what you’re doing. And if you’re a beginner, you’ll want to team up with a guide to learn the ropes. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t give you a helping hand. We’ll briefly run through some of the most effective gear for fly fishing in Oahu, so that you know what to bring or ask for.

Inshore, a 7–9′ rod will do the trick, with at least 150 yards of backing and a 15 lb fluorocarbon leader. This stays the same whether you’re wading or fishing from a purpose-built flats boat. This gear also does the trick for freshwater fishing, which, in Oahu, you’ll likely be doing from shore. As for flies, shrimp and crab patterns are proven winners when going after Bonefish and Trevallies. But locals also have plenty of custom-made flies. Ask your guide if they have any tricks up their sleeve and get the full Oahu fly fishing experience.

When heading to the deeper waters and going after the pelagics, you’ll need some sturdier gear. A 14–16′ rod is a must, with thick tippets and strong backing. You’ll rely on plenty of luck to entice the bite of the biggest creatures out there – but nothing’s impossible! Wherever you head – due to the strong winds inshore – we suggest practicing your casting skills before coming to fly fish here.

Where to Go Fly Fishing in Oahu

An infographic featuring a map of Oahu and the FishingBooker logo, showing fly fishing spots around the island including Lake Wilson, the North Shore, and Pearl Harbor, against a blue background

So you know what you’ll be targeting, when to visit, and how to go about it. But where exactly will you find the best action in Oahu? The island may be big by Hawaiian standards but it’s pretty small, all things considered. That means you’ll never be far from an angling hotspot. Here’s our pick of where to cast a line:

  • Kaena Point. We’re starting big – and for good reason. This is your starting point for a deep sea fishing adventure. All the big names – from Tuna and Mahi Mahi to Marlin and other Billfish – are available, so this is a real spot for the pros.
  • North Shore. Just along from Kagan Point, the North Shore of Oahu has everything you could want. From surf fishing (although catch-and-release is favored here) to access to the deep blue, you can get your fish on like never before.
  • Lake Wilson. Moving into the freshwater realm, Lake Wilson is the place to be in Oahu – nay, the whole of Hawaii. This 400-acre lake offers beautiful scenery on this volcanic island, and even better Bass fishing.
  • Pearl Harbor. If you’re on Oahu, chances are you’re going to visit Pearl Harbor. So why not take advantage of its incredible angling action? You’ll find plenty of Goatfish and Ladyfish in the bay, making for an ideal shore fishing or boat trip.
  • Kawaikui Beach Park. In the southeast of the island, this park is part of a continuum of great fishing spots. Explore the park itself or nearby Wailupe or Waikiki and discover some of the best bonefishing in the world – on the flats or along the reefs!
  • He’eis State Park. Wanting to spice up your fishing voyage by trying kayaking too? This is the best launching point for kayak anglers to get up close and personal with some of the incredible fish Oahu has to offer.

Oahu Fly Fishing Rules and Regulations

An infographic featuring the Hawaii state flag, a vector of a boat, and the FishingBooker logo, and text stating "Oahu Fishing Regulations: What You Need to Know" against a blue background

Before we let you go, there’s just one more thing you need to know. Well, two if you count rules and regulations as two separate things! The good news is that there’s no need for a saltwater license if fishing from shore or heading out with a boat. Head inland, however, and you’ll need a freshwater fishing license to cast a line legally.

You should also be aware of certain prohibitions with regard to the areas you can fish. Some stretches of coastline are strictly off-limits, such as Mokuleia Beach Park, for example. You should also be aware of local bag and size limits for any fish you plan on catching. Find out everything you need to know from the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources website. Or head out with a professional guide who’ll be up to date with the latest restrictions.

Fly Fishing in Oahu: Experience True Paradise

A view of a small bay in Oahu taken from a hill at sunset, with the sun in the distance on the horizon

Some people come to Hawaii for the beaches. Others for a deep sea fishing experience. We say, “Why not combine them both?” Fly fishing in Oahu gives you the best of all worlds as you experience this wondrous land like never before. With something for the whole family, it’s an activity you’ll never forget. Come and experience the vacation of a lifetime in true paradise.

Have you ever been fly fishing in Oahu? How was your experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

The post Oahu Fly Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Rhys
Title: Oahu Fly Fishing: The Complete Guide
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Published Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2023 16:03:39 +0000

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