4 Easy Ways to Get a Hawaii Fishing License

Aloha, fellow anglers! As a seasoned fishing guide with over a decade of experience exploring the bountiful waters of Hawaii, I’m frequently asked about the ins and outs of obtaining a fishing license in the Aloha State. While the process is relatively straightforward, the various options can be a bit perplexing, especially for visitors. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the four easiest methods to legally cast your line and reel in the catch of a lifetime in Hawaii’s pristine waters.

Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist eager to experience the thrill of Hawaiian fishing, understanding the licensing requirements is crucial. Not only does having a valid fishing license ensure that you’re following the rules and regulations set forth by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), but it also contributes to the conservation and sustainability of our precious marine resources.

So, let’s dive in and explore the simplest ways to secure your Hawaii fishing license, so you can focus on what really matters – enjoying the beauty of the islands and the excitement of the catch!

Overview of Hawaii Fishing Licenses

Before we delve into the specifics of obtaining a fishing license, it’s essential to grasp the different types of licenses available and who needs them. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Shoreline Fishing: Good news for both residents and visitors! If you’re planning to fish from the shore, no license is required. Feel free to cast your line from the beach, pier, or rocky outcrops without any additional paperwork.
  • Freshwater Fishing: For those eager to explore Hawaii’s inland waters, a freshwater fishing license is a must for non-residents ages 13 and older. This includes fishing in streams, rivers, reservoirs, and other freshwater bodies.
  • Offshore Fishing: If you’re venturing out into the open ocean, whether on a boat or kayak, a valid offshore fishing license is required for non-residents ages 16 and older. This applies to all marine waters beyond the shoreline.

It’s important to note that these regulations are subject to change, so always check the official DLNR website for the most up-to-date information: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/licenses-permits/

Now that you have a clear understanding of the different license types, let’s explore the four easiest ways to obtain your Hawaii fishing license.

1. Purchase Online for Instant Access

In our digital age, buying your Hawaii fishing license online is undoubtedly the quickest and most convenient option. With just a few clicks, you can have your license in hand and be ready to hit the water in no time. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the official Hawaii Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) website: https://dobor.ehawaii.gov/dobor/
  2. Select the type of license you need based on your residency status and the type of fishing you plan to do (freshwater or offshore).
  3. Complete the online application form, providing accurate personal information and payment details.
  4. Pay the required fee using a credit card. Note that a small service charge may apply for online transactions.
  5. Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive an email confirmation with your digital license attached. You can either print out a hard copy or save the digital version on your smartphone for easy access.

The entire process takes just a few minutes, making it the go-to choice for many anglers. While the convenience of online purchasing comes with a nominal service fee, it’s well worth it if you’re short on time or eager to start fishing right away.

2. Purchase In-Person at a Vendor

If you prefer a more traditional approach or want to avoid online service charges, buying your Hawaii fishing license in person at an approved vendor is a great alternative. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fishing licenses are available for purchase at various locations throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and some convenience stores.
  • To find a vendor near you, check the official DLNR website for a list of approved license agents: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/license-permit-agents/
  • When visiting a vendor, be prepared to provide proof of identification and residency (if applicable) to ensure you receive the correct license type.
  • Payment methods may vary by vendor, so it’s a good idea to call ahead and inquire about accepted forms of payment, such as cash, check, or credit card.

One advantage of buying your license in person is that you can avoid the online service charge. However, keep in mind that inventory may be limited at individual vendors, especially during peak fishing seasons. If you’re planning a last-minute fishing trip, it’s wise to call ahead and confirm that the vendor has licenses available to avoid any disappointment.

3. Buy by Phone Through DOBOR

For those who prefer a more personal touch or have limited internet access, ordering your Hawaii fishing license by phone is a reliable option. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Call the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) at (808) 587-1966 during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Hawaii Standard Time).
  2. Provide the customer service representative with your personal information, including name, address, date of birth, and phone number.
  3. Specify the type of license you need (freshwater or offshore) and your residency status.
  4. Pay the required fee using a credit card. Be prepared to provide your card number, expiration date, and security code.
  5. Once your payment is processed, the representative will provide you with a confirmation number. Your physical license will be mailed to the address you provided within 7-10 business days.

Buying your license by phone offers a more personalized experience and allows you to ask any questions you may have about fishing regulations or license requirements. However, keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay the service fee, and you won’t have immediate access to your license like you would with online or in-person purchases.

4. Apply by Mail Through DOBOR

For anglers who prefer a more traditional approach or don’t mind waiting a bit longer for their license, applying by mail is a viable option. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and print the fishing license application form from the DOBOR website: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2020/10/2021-HRS-Application_20201015_FINAL.pdf
  2. Fill out the application form completely and legibly, providing accurate personal information and specifying the type of license you need.
  3. Include a check or money order payable to “Department of Land and Natural Resources” for the appropriate license fee. Do not send cash.
  4. Mail the completed application form and payment to:Division of Aquatic Resources 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330 Honolulu, HI 96813
  5. Allow 2-3 weeks for processing and delivery of your physical license.

Applying by mail is a suitable choice for those who aren’t in a rush to receive their license or prefer not to deal with online or phone transactions. However, it’s crucial to plan ahead and submit your application well in advance of your planned fishing trip to account for processing and mailing times.


Obtaining your Hawaii fishing license is a breeze with these four simple methods: online, in-person, by phone, or by mail. No matter which option you choose, having a valid license is essential for legally enjoying the incredible fishing opportunities the Aloha State has to offer.

Remember, by purchasing a fishing license, you’re not only ensuring compliance with state regulations but also contributing to the conservation and management of Hawaii’s precious marine resources. Your license fees support vital programs such as fish stocking, habitat restoration, and research efforts that help maintain healthy and sustainable fisheries for generations to come.

So, whether you’re a local resident or a visitor looking to experience the thrill of Hawaiian fishing, take a few moments to secure your license using one of these convenient methods. Once you have your license in hand, you can focus on what truly matters – immersing yourself in the beauty of the islands, connecting with nature, and creating unforgettable fishing memories.

As a final reminder, always carry your fishing license with you when fishing, either as a physical copy or a digital version on your smartphone. This will ensure that you’re prepared in case you’re asked to present proof of licensing by a DLNR officer or other authority.

If you have any further questions about Hawaii fishing licenses or regulations, don’t hesitate to reach out to the friendly staff at the Division of Aquatic Resources or consult the official DLNR website for the most up-to-date information.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to easily obtain your Hawaii fishing license, it’s time to gear up, head out, and enjoy the world-class fishing that the Aloha State is renowned for. Tight lines and happy fishing!

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