Hawaii Fishing License (2023): Cost, Types & How to Buy

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Hawaii has great fishing on offer. Ocean fishing is the main attraction, with yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, and mahi mahi – some of the hardest fighting saltwater fish – among the key target species.

Billfish, marlin, and giant trevally, along with various reef fish species, are other options.

There is no license required to fish in ocean waters in Hawaii, although you do need one for freshwater fishing.

Hawaii boasts some great peacock bass fishing, so it is worth thinking about taking out a Hawaii fishing license to target this species.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Hawaii?

Hawaii requires a Freshwater Game Fishing License to explore its lakes and reservoirs. There is no marine recreational fishing license in Hawaii for residents, and although one is in the works for visitors, it hasn’t been implemented yet.

An additional entry permit is also required if you’re planning to fish Wahiawā Reservoir from the public fishing area. 

How Much is a Hawaii Fishing License (Freshwater)?

A standard freshwater Hawaii fishing license for resident anglers costs $6 (with lower rates for children and seniors).

For non resident anglers, an Hawaii fishing license costs $26.

Hawaii Fishing License Age

Younger anglers below the age of nine are exempted from needing a license, although they have to be accompanied by an adult with a Freshwater Game Fishing License. All of the fish that the minor catches will be considered part of the catch of the licensee. 

Fishing License Types in Hawaii

The only license required in Hawaii is the Freshwater Game Fishing License. Both locals and tourists don’t have to purchase a saltwater license to explore the open waters of the Pacific, as well as reefs and flats.

Hawaii Fishing License Cost

Yellowfin tuna for Hawaii Fishing License page
Yellowfin tuna are a big drawcard for fishing in Hawaii.

Resident Fishing License Cost

To be considered a Resident, you must be an individual who is domiciled in Hawaii and treats it as their permanent home, other than for a temporary or transitory purpose.

Fishing License Type (Resident; annual)Cost
Minor (9-15)$4.00
Resident (15 and older)$6.00
Senior (65+)$1.00

Non Resident Fishing License Cost

Any person who recreationally takes any introduced freshwater game fish who is not domiciled in Hawaii or from other states or countries is required to obtain this license. Non resident licenses are typically more expensive than resident licenses.

Fishing License Type (Non-Resident)Cost
Non-Resident (annual)$26.00
7-day Tourist$11.00
30-day Tourist$21.00
Source: https://portal.ehawaii.gov/home/online-services/freshwater-fishing-license/

Who Can Purchase Discounted Hawaii Fishing Licenses?

There are no discounted fishing licenses in Hawaii, however, if you are an active duty military member, you may be allowed to purchase a resident license, which is lower than non-residents. It may also include their spouses and dependents over the age of 15.

See also:

Special Fishing Licenses in Hawaii

Aside from Freshwater Game Fishing License, Hawaii offers license for Bottomfish Fishing Vessel Registration which is required for any vessel owner who is looking to catch any of the Deep 7 bottom fishes. Additionally, Hawaii offers a license for the Wahiawa Public Fishing Area Entry Permit, which is required for entry to fish in the Wahiawa Public Fishing Area on the island of Oahu.

What Are the Deep 7 Bottomfish of Hawaii?

The so-called Deep 7 bottomfish are culturally important species (six snapper and one grouper) that are found between roughly 100 yards and 500 yards of depth in waters around the Hawaiian islands.

They are fished commercially and are also prized by recreational anglers and chefs alike for their excellent taste.

  • Ehu (squirrelfish snapper), Etelis carbunculus
  • Gindai (Brigham’s snapper), Pristipomoides zonatus
  • Hapuʻupuʻu (Seale’s grouper, Hawaiian grouper), Hyporthodus quernus
  • Kalekale (Von Siebold’s snapper), Pristipomoides sieboldii
  • Lehi (silverjaw snapper), Aphareus rutilans
  • Onaga (longtail snapper), Etelis coruscans
  • ‘Ōpakapaka (pink snapper), Pristipomoides filamentosus

Where Can I Buy a Hawaii Fishing Licence?

How to Catch Peacock Bass Feature Image
Peacock bass is a key freshwater target, but make sure you get a Hawaii fishing license.

Division of Aquatic Resources

You can purchase your Freshwater Game Fishing License online at the Hawaii government portal or buy it in person from an authorized fishing license agent.

You can obtain a free permit to fish in the Wahiawa Public Fishing Area on the island of Oahu, and it can be purchased when obtaining a fishing license.

Source: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/licenses-and-permits/freshwater-game-fishing-license/


Online

To purchase a license online, click on the link, fill out the form for the purchaser information, and click submit.

Other Retail Outlets

There are 13 retail outlets that offer fishing licenses in different islands of Hawaii. You may find the address as well as the telephone number by clicking this link. Walmart is always an option for buying a fishing license: details here.

What Happens With Hawaii Fishing License Fees?

The Hawaii fishing license fees support the mission of the Division of Aquatic Resources to work with the people of Hawaii to manage, conserve, and restore the state’s unique aquatic resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.

Does Hawaii Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

Since Hawaii is an archipelago and it is composed of several Islands, they don’t have close neighboring states that they can have reciprocal license agreements with. But they do have their own set of fishing regulations that everyone must follow.

Source: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/regulated-areas/

Does Hawaii Offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

No. Hawaii doesn’t offer a lifetime fishing license, but you are allowed to have your license renewed. To renew your freshwater fishing licenses, go to the available channels to purchase and repurchase through the existing login you’ve originally signed up for.

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AUTHOR
Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.