When most people think of Hawaii, they envision pristine beaches and the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. However, what many don’t realize is that Hawaii’s Big Island offers a freshwater fishing paradise that for some rivals its saltwater counterparts. With its stunning landscapes and an array of fish species, freshwater fishing on The Big Island of Hawaii is a great alternative for anglers seeking a unique and rewarding fishing experience.
The Big Island is the largest of Hawaii’s islands, offering diverse landscapes that include towering volcanoes, dense forests, and cascading waterfalls. These natural features create the perfect environment for a variety of freshwater fish species to thrive. Some of the island’s most sought-after freshwater game fish include:
Rainbow Trout: Found in the cool mountain streams of the Big Island, rainbow trout offer anglers a challenging catch with their cunning and agility.
Smallmouth Bass: These aggressive and hard-fighting fish are a favorite among bass anglers. They can be found in several freshwater reservoirs and lakes on the island.
Large Mouth Bass: Known for their explosive strikes, large mouth bass can be found in various freshwater bodies throughout the island.
Peacock Bass: Introduced to Hawaii’s waters, peacock bass is a colorful and aggressive species that provides an exciting challenge for anglers.
Tilapia: Abundant in many ponds and lakes, tilapia offer a great opportunity for family fishing adventures due to their ease of catch.
The Best Fishing Spots
While freshwater fishing can be enjoyed all over the island, there are some particularly notable spots that offer exceptional angling experiences:
Wailoa River State Recreation Area
Located in Hilo, the Wailoa River State Recreation Area offers excellent freshwater fishing opportunities. This expansive park features a large pond full of tilapia, catfish, and other freshwater species. The calm waters and lush surroundings make it an ideal spot for beginners and families. You can easily rent equipment nearby and enjoy a relaxing day of fishing. Plus, the park’s amenities, make it an all-around great destination for a day of outdoor fun.
Waipi’o Valley Stream
Nestled within the stunning Waipi’o Valley, this stream offers a unique fishing experience. Accessible only by foot, horseback, or four-wheel drive, the journey to the fishing spot is an adventure in itself. As you cast your line, you’ll be surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and cascading waterfalls, creating an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility. Rainbow trout, introduced to the island decades ago, populate these waters, providing a rewarding catch for patient anglers.
Hilo’s Wailuku River
The Wailuku River, flowing through Hilo, provides a fusion of urban convenience and natural beauty. The Wailuku River State Park offers multiple access points for fishing, allowing visitors to easily experience the thrill of casting a line amidst lush vegetation. The river is home to an assortment of fish species, including tilapia and peacock bass.
Kolekole Beach Park
Kolekole Beach Park, located on the Hamakua Coast, offers a distinctive fishing experience. Here, you can fish in the Kolekole Stream, which flows through a lush, tropical gorge. The stream is home to a variety of freshwater fish, including tilapia and rainbow trout. It’s a fantastic spot for anglers who enjoy the challenge of stream fishing while surrounded by the island’s natural beauty.
Kalopa State Recreation Area
If you’re looking for a more remote fishing experience, Kalopa State Recreation Area is the place to be. Situated on the slopes of Mauna Kea, this lush forested area offers a unique setting for freshwater fishing. The park features a small pond stocked with rainbow trout. The peaceful environment and cool mountain air make it a perfect getaway for anglers seeking tranquility. Just remember to pack warm clothing, as temperatures can be quite chilly due to the higher elevation.