Nuuanu Reservoir No.4, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 14, 2008
Nuuanu Dam
A report from SteveL

We were fortunate to get pulled (lottery fishing) for opening day of catfish fishing at Nuuanu Reservoir. However on the day we were fishing everyone in my half of the group didn’t show except for my co-worker, Cy. I told him that we would go on an adventure and took him for a hike all the way to the back of the reservoir. For those that didn’t show up they missed out. It was a perfect day; cloudy with some trades. We cast our lines and settled on our beach chairs for a relaxing afternoon of Zippy’s bentos, beverages (beers) and snacks.

I first put one long rod and a short rod out trying to figure where the fish were. We got our first hookup an hour into the afternoon session on my long rod. It was a seven pound female channel cat. After that I put two long rods out making 100-yard casts into the back of the reservoir by the feeder raft. For the next three hours we continued to hook up bringing up 10, 7, 5, 4 and 3 pounders. We could only keep four fish, so we gave a lot to people who didn't catch any as we walked to the weigh-in station.

Our remaining four must have weighed about 30 pounds out of the nearly 60 pounds of fish we caught. I guess we were the envy of other fishers there, who kept commenting to my friends across the reservoir from us, every time I rocketed another 100 yard cast, “Did you see that?” and then watched us pull in another fish.

My friend Cy has never caught fish like that before. I guess most people haven’t. In the pic, Cy is holding only a portion of what we caught. What’s not on the stringer was another 7, 5 and a couple of 3 pounders.

The channel catfish (
Ictalurus punctatus) feeds near the bottom 24/7 on whatever it can stuff into its large mouth. In Nuuanu reservoir no.4, the main diet is fish pellets fired into the water from a feeder raft. Originally found in the Gulf States and Mississippi Valley from Mexico to Canada, channel catfish were brought to Hawai‘i in 1920.

Most channel catfish caught in Hawaii are under 10 pounds, but some have unofficially exceeded 50 pounds. The state's record cat weighed 43 pounds 13 ounces and was taken from
Lake Wilson in Wahiawa, Oahu.

There are four reservoirs in Nu‘uanu along Pali Highway that were built between 1890 to 1910 for hydropower, flood control, and domestic water use. Today the reserviors are used only for flood control. Reservoir, No. 4 is the largest, with a tower containing a release valve near the dam wall which is used to control water level.

The government began introducing freshwater game fish to Hawaii shortly after World War II and the reservoirs in Nu‘uanu were utilized as a refuge and closed research site for introduced sportfish. The first public fishing for channel catfish was July 5-6, 1969, when 96 anglers caught 339 catfish.

DIRECTIONS: The Nu‘uanu Freshwater Fish Refuge includes the City and County of Honolulu's Nu‘uanu Reservoir No. 4, located between Honolulu and Kailua off the Pali Highway. The reservoir is stocked with channel catfish, and is open to weekend public fishing three times a year, beginning in May, August, and November. Anglers must submit an application to the Division of Aquatic Resources several weeks in advance of an opening and a lottery will be held to determine fishing date and time. All applicants will be allowed to fish. A freshwater fishing license and your fishing date/time card are required at the check-in station before fishing.The bag limit for channel catfish is two per person and any channel catfish 16-inches or larger must be kept.