Kauai Fly Fishing for Trout

September, 2014

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.

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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.

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· 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 flyfishkauai@hotmail.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.

 

9 thoughts on “Kauai Fly Fishing for Trout

  1. Chris

    I am heading to Kaua’i to meet up with friends I made when I was on Oahu, a couple of us have gotten into fly fishing and were beyond thrilled to see there are trout on Kaua’i. Would you mind giving me a little more of the skinny? I would really appreciate it

    Reply
  2. Sharon

    My boyfriend LOVES fly fishing, and we are visiting Kauai this July! Please, email me the name of the stream. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Paul Fukumura-Sawada

    Hi Tom,

    Enjoyed your write up on catching trout on Kauai. I am planning a trip for next month and would like to try finding that same stream. What length and weight fly rod would you recommend? Also, planning to go bonefishing at Anini beach. Any specifics on either would be much appreciated.

    I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, so there isn’t much opportunity to fly fish except when I go to Oahu for bonfish.

    Aloha,
    Paul

    Reply
  4. Ross Ichikawa

    Aloha,
    I live on Kauai’s east side. I’ve just got bitten by the fly fishing bug and would love some help/direction for fishing in Koke’e for trout. If you wouldn’t mind sending me info i would really love that. I’m a small footprint type of person would be fishing alone or with my assistant birds nest untanggler my wife. if you could also supply An’s email would be great.

    Mahalo!
    Ross

    Reply
  5. Jason

    Hi Tim,
    I am going to Kauai in a couple of weeks. I was reading your blog and was wondering if you could name a couple of the streams you fished. I grew up fly fishing and always practice catch and release. This is my second trip and I have shore fished I would love to cast a fly for the elusive rainbow. Thanks Jason

    Reply
  6. Michael bourdon

    Tim – i am gonna be in kauai in a couple of weeks and would love some pointers on where to trout fish. Being from the ozarks i am all to familiar with bushwhacking for trout. What advise ypu can give would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Michael

    Reply
  7. Steve Smigaj

    Tim
    I see your article is from 2014 but I hope this is still active. I was looking for some info on fishing when I go to Kauai next week and was surprised there is fly fishing. As you know the 3 most important things one needs to know when wanting to fly fish is when to go. where to go and what to throw. I’d like to bring my rod but only if the squeeze is worth the juice. I live and fish in Mt. but would like to experience a new adventure. Can you help me out?
    Steve

    Reply
  8. Kameron Brown

    Hello,

    My name is Kameron. I’ve read your post a few times. Kauai is a family vacation destination and have tried contacting Nigel for a guided service but no such luck on a return phone call.

    I’m hoping to head back out this spring and thought I’d reach out to you in search of some help.

    I’ve tied up some rainbow warriors like you said and have plenty wooly buggers.

    Any info is greatly appreciated!

    Thank you

    Reply
  9. Stephen

    Hello,

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I’m in kauai for a week and want to catch a few smallmouth or rainbow. I’m currently rehabbing several injuries so hiking is sadly out of the question.

    Are there any streams that are driveable?

    Thanks,

    Stephen

    Reply

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