The Fishing Seasons in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
When is the best time to fish in the Cook Islands? The beauty of Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the other Cook Islands and why so many put them on their “fishing bucket list” is because the country has most of the highly-sought game fish in its waters all year round. We’re talking about yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, mahimahi, wahoo and barracuda, just to name a few. It’s true, however, that some fish species have a better season for fishing than others. Find out more about that, as well as other differences between the seasons that might affect your trip, in this guide to the best time for fishing in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
For a more generic guide on when to visit the Cook Islands, check out The Best Time to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: A Month by Month Guide,
Quick Tips for Fishing in the Cook Islands
- Lagoon fishing tends to be catch and release, for example, bonefishing and GTs; eating fish is caught on deep sea fishing charters
- A fishing licence is required for fishing within the lagoon on Aitutaki; not on deep sea fishing charters nor in Rarotonga
- Parts of the coast are protected “ra’ui” areas, mainly to allow the fish populations to stabilise – please respect these restricted areas that are easy to identify by the large blue signs.
For elaboration on each tip and more, check out The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
The Seasons in the Cook Islands
So if the fishing is good in the Cook Islands year-round, what is the climate like? The Cook Islands has two distinct seasons, winter or the “dry season” and summer or the “wet season”.
The winter season is between April and November, which is also known as the dry season. Temperatures are typically 19-27°C (66-81°F), with the rainfall being 206mm (8.1″) per month. The sea temperatures are usually around 24°C (75°F).
The summer season is between December and March, which is also known as the wet season. Temperatures are typically 23-29°C (74-84°F) and the Cook Islands experience more frequent rainfall of 238mm (9.4″) per month. The sea temperature is warmer at 26°C (79°F).
In short, either season provides many good fishing days, but perhaps a little less so in summer when sea conditions can sometimes get too rough to be appealing for deep sea fishing. On the other hand, lagoon fishing tends to be good all year round thanks to the more sheltered conditions.
For more information on the weather and climate month-by-month, see our complete guide, The Cook Islands Weather, Seasons & Climate + Weather by Month.
Game Fishing Seasons in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
While most game species can be caught year-round in the Cook Islands, some seasons are better for catching some species than others. The peak fishing season for particular fish species in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands is as follows:
- Yellowfin Tuna – October to May
- Dogtooth Tuna – October to February
- Skipjack Tuna – October to March
- Wahoo – May to September
- Mahimahi – September to March
- Blue Marlin – November to April
- Giant Trevally – October to April.
The Best Game Fish to Catch Year-Round in the Cook Islands
Although many of the game fish species listed above have a peak season for fishing, they can actually be found in the Cook Islands’ waters year-round. It’s what makes a fishing trip in the Cook Islands so exciting, as you never know what you’re going to get!
The best species to target at any time of the year, mainly because they don’t have a “bad” season to target them, include:
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Dogtooth Tuna
- Pacific Barracuda
- Pacific Sailfish
- Giant Trevally.
More About the Fishing Season in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know the best time of year for fishing in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, plan the rest of your fishing excursion using the following guides:
- The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- Fishing in the Cook Islands: The Types of Fish in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Fishing Charters in the Cook Islands
Finally, discover more awesome experiences in the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List.