Gone Fishin’: Secrets of trout fishing in Hawaii
Trout fishing in Hawaii? Am I serious?
Yes, there is trout fishing available to those of you who venture to the Garden Isle of Kaui. This is always a surprise to people who do not associate the tropical climates of Hawaii with a cold water species such as rainbow trout.
It began in 1876 when Hawaii received salmon and trout eggs and 22,000 trout fingerlings from California Department of Fish and Game in exchange for 100 milkfish. From 1920 to 1959, regular shipments of eggs reportedly from the Mount Shasta Hatchery were shipped to the islands.
Now, each year about 50,000 eggs are received at Anuenue Fisheries Research Center in Honolulu. These eggs are raised in their trout hatchery and shipped to Kaui where they are put into Pu’ulua Reservoir in Koke’e State Park northwest of Waimea Canyon. They are put into holding pens/release pens and released when they achieve an adequate size. They were also planted into the mountain stream and ditches around Pu’ulua.
There is some controversy regarding the introduction of rainbow trout into this region. There are differing opinions by biologists as to the impact that these fish are having on the native aquatic species that are in these waters. Two different studies conducted by these biologists came to two distinctly different conclusions.
As a result there has been a status quo: no fish have been planted in mountain streams since 1992. There may be a small self-sustaining population in some streams according to some local fishermen.
The season is an exceptionally short one, lasting only 28 days, and is subject to weather. In 1999 the season was closed due to drought conditions and the potential threat of fire in the region. With a valid Freshwater Game Fishing License an angler is permitted to fish with one pole or one line using one baited hook attached to the single line to possess any rainbow trout during the trout fishing season.
The season begins the first Saturday in August and continues for a period of 16 consecutive days, then only on weekends and holidays for the remainder of August and September, unless suspended. The bag limit is seven trout per licensee per day during the open season. Fishing is allowed from 5:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. during the open season, provided that all fishermen report before and after fishing activities to designated checking stations.
Licenses are available at a number of authorized license agents or through the Division of Aquatic Resources where they may be purchased online. Licenses are required for minors 9 to 15, adults 16 to 65, and seniors older than 65. A residents license cost $3 for a minor, $7.50 for an adult, and $5 for a senior. In addition an annual non-resident license is available for $25, a seven day tourist license for $10 and a 30 day tourist license for $20.
If you plan on trying the trout fishing a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for traveling the dirt roads in the Koke’e State Park region. Besides the freshwater opportunity for rainbow trout, there is also some very good peacock and largemouth bass fishing available. Peacocks in the 1- to 5-pound range, and largemouth 1 to 3 pounds up to 5 pounds.
Contact Kaui Freshwater Aquatics, a guide service for this opportunity that was very helpful in assisting me with my rainbow trout research. They can be reached online at http://www.worldwidefishing.com/ hawaii/b1009/index.html or by telephone at 808-245-7358.
Boca – (8,173 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair and is very low. Water is being released at 127 CFS and 121 CFS is coming into the lake. In spite of the low water levels anglers are still having success. Anglers near the dam are still catching fish. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Boats that can still be launched are having some success. Most were using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Kokanee fishing is fair to good for those experienced anglers that can get a boat in the water. Fly fishermen near the inlet have experienced fair to good action early and late. Nymphs and streamers have accounted for most of the fish caught recently. When it calms down, midges are very productive.
Donner – Fishing has been fair to good. Anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had fair to good success. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair success.
Lake Tahoe – (Elevation 6225.12) Fishing has been good for mackinaw. Most fish are in the 5- to 7-pound range. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair overall. The creeks opened this past weekend. Keep in mind that any large fish that you catch are most likely fish that have come out of the lake to spawn. Please release these fish. No fishing is also allowed within 300 ft. of these tributaries.
Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may be bagged or possessed) Fishing has been fair. Most activity has been early and late with blood midges and callibaetis imitations. Most anglers are using nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Streamers that imitate small fish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quigley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams, and Griffith’s Knat are good choices.
Little Truckee River – (This area between Stampede Reservoir downstream to Boca Reservoir is now subject to artificial barbless lures with a two fish bag limit of fish 14 inches maximum) – (121 cubic feet per second) Fishing here has been fair in the stretch between Stampede and Boca. Fishing has been fair near the inlet area of the Little Truckee into Boca reservoir. This area changes almost daily. Fly fishermen fishing this stretch between Stampede and Boca are experiencing frequent hatches where a dry flies and emergers have been productive. Nymphs and streamers are still the first choice if there are no fish on the surface.
Prosser – (9,246 ac. ft.) Prosser has been fishing fair. Fishing here is mostly with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Fly fishermen near the inlets have taken a few fish mostly on nymphs and streamers.
Stampede – (165,968 ac. ft.) Stampede is fair to good. Shore anglers are catching a few more fish. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Topliners have fair to good success for kokanee salmon. Most use a flasher of some sort and a kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn. Kokanee should start to tightly school soon in anticipation of spawning. There is still good trout action, mostly subsurface, with nymphs such as the pheasant tail and the bird’s nest. There is some good surface activity early and late as well. Streamers are also working.
Truckee River – The release from the dam at Tahoe City is 433 cubic feet per second and near Truckee it is running at 438 cubic feet per second. Fishing has been fair throughout the river. Seasoned anglers have been doing well. Prince nymphs, Bird’s nests and pheasant tail nymphs have produced some fish as well as streamers. Try an elk hair caddis, hares ear parachute or an E/C caddis. A grasshopper pattern can work well at times as well. Fishing has hit the typical summer early morning or late evening peaks in activity throughout our local waters.
Other Waters – Jackson Meadows has been fishing well. Davis and Frenchman lakes are fishing fair this past week. Cooler nighttime temperatures should start putting fish on the bite soon. Fall fishing is just around the corner.
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