Fishing Regulations in Hawaii

Hawaii is an incredible vacation destination, and it’s also a fantastic place to go fishing for a variety of species. Because fishing in Hawaii is considered more than a simple recreational activity, they have made it a little easier for anglers to access their waters. Consequently, it is beneficial to understand what the Hawaii State Department of Aquatic Resources (DAR) expects from anglers in terms of compliance and respect.

Given the fact that the majority of the people in Hawaii still rely on the ocean for their daily sustenance, it comes as no surprise that there is no requirement for a fishing license if you want to fish for recreational purposes in their saltwater areas. Permits are required to fish in freshwater areas, on the other hand, and can be obtained online. Furthermore, anglers who intend to resell the fish after catching them must obtain a commercial-specific license.


In spite of the fact that Hawaii allows for free access to saltwater fishing in certain areas, when it comes to restrictions and protected areas, the state is no longer so accommodating. It is your responsibility to become familiar with those areas and the locations where only specific species of fish can be caught. In addition, you must be aware of the size of the species as well as the daily limits that you are permitted to catch.

To obtain a fishing license valid in Hawaii, you must submit an online application at

It is important to understand that, in addition to learning about specific area requirements, many waters are regulated by seasons, daily catch limits of fish, and the size of nets that can be used legally:


  • The regulations of Hawaii are divided into three major categories, each with its own set of regulations.
  • Essentially, you must pay close attention to the location, the species, and the equipment.
  • Fishing activities along the Waikiki-Diamond Head shoreline, for example, are only permitted on even-numbered years. If you happen to be born in an odd year, you’ll have to make do with swimming and surfing.
  • Ama’ama fishing season runs from April to November, with the peak season occurring in May. As a result, make sure to plan your vacation during that time period.
  • Each island has the authority to establish its own set of rules and regulations. It is essential that you are well informed if you want to avoid unwelcome situations.
  • The island of Kaho’olawe in Maui is essentially a reserve, and the locals don’t allow strangers to fish there or even enter without prior permission from them. It is possible that people who do not follow these rules will come across abandoned military munitions.
  • Each island will provide you with information about their protected species based on the location and variety of fish that are present. Prepare yourself by doing your research and learning everything you can about them before you arrive at your fishing location.
  • Take note that each fish species has a specific daily limit that can be found on the DAR website, so make sure to check it out in order to avoid breaking the rules.
  • Anglers who use a rod and reel are perfectly safe as long as they follow the rules of the equipment. The majority of the prohibitions pertain to nets, explosives, and electrical charges.
  • The use of more than two fishing setups is prohibited in Waimea Bay. It is against the law to have more than two fishing rods and reels in your possession. Furthermore, you must never leave them unattended.


Other angling laws that you might be interested in are as follows:


  • If you violate the fishing regulations in one of Hawaii’s sanctuaries, you could face severe penalties.
  • Despite the fact that Hawaiians are a laid-back bunch of people, they take their fishing very seriously. So pay attention to avoid having to explain yourself to the authorities or paying hefty fines if something goes wrong.
  • A non-resident fishing license costs $26 per year, and you can purchase passes that are valid for either seven or thirty days.

If you show respect for the people and wildlife in this area, you will end up saving money rather than having to pay expensive fines in the long run.