An 8 year quest is finally complete. I have finally caught and released the legendary rainbow trout of the island of Kauai. And it wasn’t easy.
First a little background: Not many people know that the island of Kauai supports a wild and thriving population of rainbow trout in its wet and mountainous jungles. Like most of Kauai’s wildlife (black tail deer, mountain goats, wild boar, etc.) the trout were planted 125 years ago and have thrived in the cold waters in the mountains of the wettest place on earth.
Fly fishing in Kauai is hands down the most difficult fly fishing I have ever done:
· It is an absolute physical, long hike and bush-whack to get to them. Of all the crazy-ass bush whacking hikes I have done to fly fish, this one is the most physical. I have hiked as long as 14 miles in Kokee state park to get to them. And although there are no predators (ie: bears and wolves), it is certainly as dangerous as anything I have done because of the climbing and the cliffs involved and the slippery lava based rocks. And the blackberry bushes seem to grow everywhere there is fresh water. With their thorns it’s like fishing while standing in rose bushes. And this is the type of place you just will not see another soul. So, if you get hurt you will not be found.
· And once you do get to the trout it is very difficult to get a cast in because the creeks, streams and rivers are so overgrown, while at the same time the trout are very skittish and spook easily.
· For some reason the trout don’t seem to rise either. God only knows what they eat (other than each other) because there doesn’t seem to be any water born insects in Kauai like you’d see in every other trout river in the world. There are plenty of insects just not the midges, mayflies or caddis that are so normal to a trout river.
· The wettest place on earth can also be really cold. I have shivered while getting rained on at close to 5000 feet. I have also dehydrated in sweltering heat in the very same place.
The reason for my success this time after so many failures in the past was that I got some help on where to fish from a fly fisherman named An Dinh. I found An’s blog post on fly fishing Kauai and reached out to him. He was tremendously helpful and I owe him, big time. An’s advise was to fish the (*) stream. For years I had been passing over it because it was so skinny at the road. Like many Kauai streams, even the smallest water has big pools and great pocket water and that is where the fish survive in the warmness of the summers. I had always just passed right by the (*) because it is so close to the much bigger Kauaikoi River. The Kauaikoi has trout…big trout…but, I have yet to fool one there. And, yes, I tried again this time around.
So other than the difficulty of getting to a place that has fish and one can make a cast to there is the issue of what to throw. Ironically my success was on Rainbow Warriors trailed behind a small streamer. The irony is that the Rainbow Warrior is the team name of the University of Hawaii. But, the Rainbow warrior itself was created by a guide in Colorado and is named because of its rainbow color. The Rainbow Warrior nymph really doesn’t look like anything natural and they are really easy to tie.
If you make it to Kauai on vacation and want to do this crazy hunt with your fly rod feel free to contact me by email (which you can find on www.TimHuckaby.com) and I’ll get you maps and details.
Or, better yet, hire Nigel Warrack email@example.com to take you there. He’s a young knowledgeable guide with the range rover that can get you close without the big hike in.
FYI, as of early 2017 a few of my blog readers have reported they have had trouble contacting Nigel.
* Per An’s request i removed the name of the stream i caught these fish in. But, if you email him (or me) directly then he’ll take care of you like he took care of me.