Fly Fishing in a Pandemic

Hi everyone, Iím here to give you some news about whatís going on fly fishing wise here in Hawaii during this ongoing pandemic. First off, you can now fly to Hawaii and visit us again without undergoing a two week quarantine. Travelers from the US mainland who have been fully vaccinated in the US can avoid the testing requirements by uploading their vaccine info to the Hawaii Safe Travels App.  International travel is still subject to testing requirements.

Those of you who have not yet been vaccinated will still need to take a covid19 test from an approved source and test negative within 72 hours of arrival. The only issue is that itís not always easy to get a test within the timeframe, particularly if youíre not on the west coast. Here is the Stateís list of approved testing partners. The list is changing and expanding, so youíll want to keep checking it in the days leading up to your trip.

So what about the fishing? The fishing is pretty much how it was back in March, but we have noticed a few recent changes. There has been a major increase in the amount of recreational fishing and ocean activities going on locally, so the shoreline areas are generally more crowded, particularly on weekends. There have been large schools of baitfish (and their associated predators) showing up in places where there are normally large numbers of tourists, like Ala Moana and Waikiki, which is something I have never seen before. Bonefish numbers havenít showed any real changes, and a few months of reduced visitors fishing for them havenít been enough to make them change their behavior or make them eat flies any more readily than earlier in the year. There have been a lot of trevally showing up around inshore reefs, particularly bluefin trevally, but they still tend to only make cameo appearances on the flats.

Whatís happened to the Triangle? If youíve seen my Instagram posts, or pay attention while flying over Keehi Lagoon, you will notice the Triangle flat no longer has any live mangroves on it. Workers are now removing mangroves on the next, more ocean side island as well. They are scheduled to remove all the mangroves from that island by the end of the year.

Why? I thought mangroves are important to fisheries as they serve as nurseries for fish. While this may be true, mangroves are not native to Hawaii, and introducing them has various unintended consequences. One of them is that birds, such as non native egrets and doves like to nest in them. The FAA has decided that having large populations of these birds in such close proximity to the airport is unacceptable, so they have to go. What does this mean for the fishery? Very little from what Iíve seen. During my most recent visit to the Triangle, I still saw several dozen bonefish happily tailing amongst the dead mangroves just the same as when they were live plants. Most of the food the bonefish feed on doesnít live directly on the mangroves, and juvenile bonefish arenít known to shelter in mangrove roots either.

Can we hire guides again? Yes, the State has removed all mask requirements on outdoor activities. Ed and all the other guides on Oahu are ready to take you fishing whenever you feel comfortable to do so. As I noted earlier, the shoreline areas have been a bit crowded, so having a guide take you to less crowded areas is highly recommended for more shots at happy fish. As we move further into the autumn and then winter we will see the usual seasonal changes to the tides and water temperature, but experienced fishermen know where and when to still find fish year round. If you have any questions about whatís going on locally or setting up a fishing tour, feel free to call, email or direct message us anytime. Aloha

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