Hawaii Division Aquatic Resources

Introduced Sport Fishes

Freshwater Game Fishing License required; unlawful to sell.

Photo of Largemouth Bass.

Largemouth Bass
Micropterus salmoides

Description: Coloration varies with location, generally dark green above fading to white below; may have faint horizontal band along sides (more distinct in young fish); jaw extends back beyond posterior margin of eye; dorsal fin deeply notched between spiny and soft portions.
Size: Weight ranges up to 10 pounds in Hawai`i; state record 8 pounds (1977); world record 221/4 pounds (Georgia).
Distribution: Kaua`i, O`ahu and Hawai`i.
Habitat: Usually found in sluggish waters, occur primarily in reservoirs in Hawai`i; prefer submerged logs, weeds or other cover near banks.
Feeding: Young feed on crustaceans, insects and small fishes; adults feed on live fishes, crayfish and frogs.
Life history: In Hawai`i spawning season occurs during the winter and spring and is limited to reservoir habitats; male builds a circular nest in 3 to 4 feet of water; male guards the nest and defends eggs and young until they leave.
Fishing methods: Light spinning or baitcasting gear is recommended, with surface or deep running lures, such as plastic worms, crankbaits or spinnerbaits; effective live baits include puntat, tilapia, crayfish and worms.
Introduced to Hawai`i in 1896.

Photo of Smallmouth Bass.

Smallmouth Bass
Micropterus dolomieu

Description: Coloration varies with location, generally dark green to olive brown above lading to white below; sides marked with vertical bars and dark mottlings; jaw does not extend back beyond eye; spiny portion of dorsal fin lower than on largemouth bass, and not as deeply notched.
Size: Weight ranges up to 4 pounds in Hawai`i; state record 5 pounds 11 ounces; world record 11 pounds 15 ounces (Kentucky).
Distribution: Kaua`i and O`ahu.
Habitat: Found in cool flowing streams and reservoirs fed by such streams.
Feeding: Young feed on crustaceans, insects and small fishes; adults feed primarily on live fishes and crayfish.
Life history: In Hawai`i spawning season occurs during the spring and is limited to stream habitats; male builds a hollow nest in sand and guards the young, viciously attacking any intruder.
Fishing methods: Small spinners or poppers are effective lures; live baits include crayfish or worms.
Introduced to Hawai`i in 1953.

Photo of Rainbow Trout.

Rainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus mykiss

Description: Bluish or olive green above fading to silvery below, with broad pink lateral stripe; back, sides, dorsal and caudal fins marked with small dark spots.
Size: Generally under 3 pounds, but have unofficially reached 8 pounds in Hawai`i; state record 5 pounds 10 ounces; world record 42 pounds 3 ounces (Alaska).
Distribution: Kaua`i and Hawai`i.
Habitat: Prefers cold water streams with moderate flow.
Feeding: Young feed on small insects and crustaceans; adults feed on fish eggs, minnows and other small fish (including other trout).
Life history: Limited spawning occurs in Hawai`i because water temperatures are too high; what spawning does occur takes place from about November to February; annual stockings of the Kokee region on Kaua`i are accomplished with eggs from California, hatched and raised at Sand Island, O`ahu.
Fishing methods: Small spinners or flies are effective lures; salmon eggs are used with good success.
Introduced to Hawai`i in 1920.

Photo of Channel Catfish.

Channel Catfish
Ictalurus punctatus

Description: Bluish olive to gray above fading to white below, with dark spots scattered along sides; older males become dark in color and lose spots; long barbels surrounding mouth; deeply forked tail.
Size: Generally under 10 pounds, but have unofficially exceeded 50 pounds in Hawai`i; state record 43 pounds 13 ounces; world record 58 pounds (South Carolina).
Distribution: Kaua`i and O`ahu.
Habitat: Occur primarily in reservoirs in Hawai`i.
Feeding: Feeds primarily on small fish, crustaceans, clams and snails.
Life history: Spawning occurs in late spring; eggs are laid in jelly‑like masses in holes and crevices, and guarded by the male; hatching occurs after about a week, and the male continues to guard the young.
Fishing methods: Crankbaits or large spinnerbaits are the most effective lures; a catfish weighing 51 pounds (unofficially) was taken from the Wahiawa Reservoir on a spoon; other baits include tiiapia, crayfish, aku belly, liver and various stinkbails.
Introduced to Hawai`i in 1958.

Photo of Bluegill Sunfish.

Bluegill Sunfish
Lepomis macrochirus

Description: Coloration varies somewhat with sex and age, generally olive green above with blue or purplish sheen along sides; breeding males may have more blue and orange on sides; faint vertical bars along sides; opercular flap is dark blue or black, and prominent dark blotch is present at posterior base of dorsal tin.
Size: Generally 4 to 6 inches in length, may reach 14 inches; state record 8-1/2 ounces; world record 4 pounds 11 ounces (Alabama).
Distribution: Kaua`i, O`ahu, Maui and Hawai`i.
Habitat: Usually found in lakes, ponds, reservoirs and sluggish streams, occur primarily in reservoirs in Hawai`i; prefer deep weed beds.
Feeding: Young feed on crustaceans, insects and worms; adults feed on snails, small crayfish, insects, worms and small minnows; feed mostly in early morning and late afternoon and evening.
Life history: In Hawai`i spawning season occurs in winter and spring; male builds a circular nest in sandy areas 3 to 6 feet deep; after fertilizing eggs male chases female away and guards the nest until fry disperse.
Fishing methods: Worms are the most effective live bait; lures include flies and small spinners.
Introduced to Hawai`i in 1946.

Photo of Tucunare.

Tucunare
Cichla ocellaris

Description: Yellow with a green back and white abdomen; vertical bars along sides; during spawning season yellow color intensifies, and males develop a large hump above the head; prominent black spot on caudal fin.
Size: Weight averages about 2 to 3 pounds; state record 8 pounds 13 ounces; species known to reach 12 pounds in South America.
Distribution: Kaua`i, O`ahu and Hawai`i.
Habitat: Generally found in the larger reservoirs of the state.
Feeding: Feeds exclusively on small fish, especially threadfin shad, mosquito fish, tilapia and bluegill.
Life history: Spawning in Hawai`i occurs from about March to September; eggs are laid on rocks or other hard objects and guarded by one or both parents; hatching takes place within four days, and parents guard the young; presence of at least one parent is essential for survival of young, so fishermen are urged not to disturb spawning fish which are often visible near shore.
Fishing methods: Lures include jigs and torpedo-shaped lures that resemble minnows; the only effective live bait is mosquitofish, mollies or tilapia.
Introduced to Hawai`i in 1957.