Menehune Fishpond

Menehune Fishpond - Ancient Hawaiian Aquaculture
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The most esteemed fish pond in Kauai, Menehune Fishpond is a folklore legend and outdoor beauty. Legend claims that it was built overnight by Menehune, and the pond has provided locals with fish for centuries. Today, it’s a beautiful area to view, photograph, and explore.

- The Local Expert Team

Menehune Fishpond has been providing locals with fish for centuries and is a fine place to explore today. The fishpond is one of Hawaii’s best examples of ancient aquaculture.

According to legend, the fishpond was built by Menehune (Hawaii’s mischievous “little people”) in a single night. The fairy-like beings lined up for 25 miles, passing rock from one to another for the entire night. By morning, they had meticulously crafted a 900-foot wall that still serves as a dam to this day.

Perhaps more likely, the wall was built by low-class Tahitians who had come across the Pacific. Some believe Menehune derives from a Tahitian word for commoner or someone with low social standing.

Regardless of whether it was constructed by fairies or by commoners, the Menehune Fishpond is a testament to ancient Hawaiian aquaculture and engineering. It’s meticulously constructed and has withstood the test of time. The structure not only continues to preserve the pond where fish have been stocked for centuries, but it also is in a condition that’s nearly as good as when the wall was first erected.

One of the easiest ways to explorer the Menehune Fishpond is from a roadside pullover. Alternatively, you can go kayaking or canoeing on the pond itself. The surrounding Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is off-limits to the public, though.

A few of our favorite features at Menehune Fishpond include:

Roadside Pullover
The easiest way to view Menehune Fishpond is from a roadside pullover, and this is also the best place for wide landscape photographs. Use a panoramic setting on your camera or phone, and get the entire pond in a sweeping picture.

Get up close with the fishpond by kayaking or canoeing on it. The pristine waters are off-limits to powerboats, so virtually no pollution distorts the underwater view. See how the bottom varies in different locations, and watch for fish swimming by — there are plenty throughout the body of water.

Fishpond Wall
Make sure to check out the fishpond wall, either with a camera zoom/binoculars from the pullover or via canoe/kayak. The structure truly is amazingly constructed, especially for being built so long ago.

National Wildlife Refuge
The adjacent Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is off-limits to the public, but that doesn’t have to prevent you from admiring wildlife in the area. Use a camera or binoculars to see what animals are visible — birds are common and there’s often a variety of species.

Many ancient cultures are known for their engineering feats of temples, pyramids, aqueducts, and other structures. Visit the Menehune Fishpond, and see one of ancient Hawaii’s finest examples. It’s one of the best examples of aquaculture outside of Atlantis.

Insider Tip:
-GPS directions often send visitors to a thick jungle walk if they input “Menehune Fishpond.” Use “Menehune Fishpond Overlook” to find the pullover instead, or just drive along until you find the viewing point.