Where Can I Fish?

It is sometimes simpler to ask where you cannot fish from the shoreline or a boat than to ask where you can.

Fishing is prohibited/controlled in:

  • Marine Life Conservation Districts (Hanauma Bay, Pupukea, Waikiki, Kealakekua Bay, Lapakahi Historical Park, Waialea Bay, Old Kona Airport, Waiopae Tidepools, Molokini Atoll, Honolua-Mokuleia Bay, Manele-Hulupoe), Marine Sanctuaries, Refuges and Reserves (Coconut Island – Hawaii Marine Laboratory Refuge, Kahoolawe Island Reserve, Paiko Lagoon, Ahihi-Kinau), and Numerous Fisheries Management Areas throughout the islands.  
  • DOT harbors and airports, areas established by statutes, such as Ala Wai canal, Pokai Bay, Kapalama Canal, etc., and some Federal lands, such as military bases and national parks that have a water component.    
  • Inland ponds on County lands and from certain bridges where signs are posted.    

Fishing off a boat can also be prohibited where a vessel may not enter. This would include some harbors (Honolulu) and bays.

Consult marine charts for areas offshore where vessels are prohibited. This would include areas designated for bathing and swimming.  It should be noted that in some instances it is illegal just to possess fishing gear while in the protected area.

Always heed and respect posted signage along the shoreline.

Here are three DOBOR administrative rules which prohibit/restrict fishing in specified areas.  

§13-232-55 Fishing. (a) No person shall fish at a small boat harbor, boat launching facility, or channels thereto by pole where that activity is prohibited by signs, buoys, or other markers posted by the department. Spearfishing and trolling from moving vessels is prohibited in small boat harbors, boat launching facilities, designated offshore mooring areas or channels. No person shall use any throw net, or draw, drag, seine, or any other type of net except crab net or hand-held dip net, except at locations designated by rules of the department of land and natural resources. (b) A person with a bait fishing license issued by the department of land and natural resources may use nets to: (1) Take young mullet or pua (Mugil cephalus) for the purpose of stocking their pond; or (2) Take nehu, iao, or other bait fishes for which an open season has been declared for bait purposes only. [Eff 2/24/94; comp ] (Auth: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4) (Imp: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4). NOTE: A bait license does not allow the taking of pua for stocking ponds but this is allowed through an aquaculture facility license. The bait license does allow the use of a small mesh net to take nehu, iao, and other baitfishes, otherwise employing a net would be considered use of illegal fishing gear.  

§13-251-57 Waikiki restricted areas. (a) The areas in Waikiki ocean waters are reserved primarily for use by bathers and swimmers, and subject to restrictions set forth in this section. This section shall not apply in the event of an emergency, or to law enforcement or rescue craft, or vessels participating under a valid regatta permit issued by the department or the Coast Guard. (f) Zone E, Waikiki ocean waters. Zone E is the area encompassed by the boundaries of the zone shown on Exhibit “C-1”, dated May 15, 1990, and located at the end of this subchapter. The boundaries of Zone E are described as follows: Beginning at the shoreline on the western edge of the Kapahulu Groin, then to the intersection of the Kapahulu Groin and the Kuhio Beach seawall, then in a westerly direction along the seaward edge of the Kuhio Beach seawall to the groin fronting the Honolulu Police substation, then along the Kuhio Beach shoreline to the point of beginning. Zone E is designated as a swimming, bathing and wading zone. No person shall engage in fishing by any means or device from the Kuhio seawall to the shoreline between the Kapahulu Groin and the Ewa groin. [Eff 2/24/94] (Auth: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4) (Imp: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4). See exhibit C-1

§13-256-39 Hanalei Bay ocean waters, general restrictions. (b)(4) No fishing vessel longer than thirty feet overall may engage in fishing except by pole and line within Hanalei Bay ocean waters.