Stardew Valley: Fishing
Fishing Spots, Mechanics, and Crab Pots
Stardew Valley's Fishing Skill is one of the most profitable and engaging in the game. Players who advance this skill can find plenty of money through catches, complete bundles, and even locate artifacts to donate to the museum. This guide to fishing will direct you toward learning how to fish and use bait, describe what makes a good fishing spot, and help you to succeed in completing bundles.
Get Started Fishing
Visit Willy on the Docks to get a pole. He will give you a Bamboo Fishing Pole which lets you start fishing, and one can be bought from him for 500G. This rod cannot use bait, but at fishing level 2 you will learn the bait recipe so you can craft your own, and also be able to buy it from Willy for 5G each - very cheap. At that point Willy will sell you a rod for 1500G that can use bait, and your ability to catch bulk fish will greatly improve.
How to Fish & How to Use Bait
I've written two guides that help with these common questions, so see no reason to repeat it in great detail here. To fish you step up to the shore, use the fishing rod to cast a line (closer to max is better) and then play the fishing mini-game. The goal is to keep the fish inside the green rectangle (which is what you control by clicking and holding the button). Learning when to click quickly to keep it stable and when to hold it for a fast shot upward are essential. If you've having trouble fishing, see How to Fish in Stardew Valley. As for how to use bait, it is equipped by 'picking up' the bait in the inventory screen, hovering over the pole and right-clicking. You'll do something similar with an Xbox controller. For more information on this, see: How to Use Bait and Tackle. The differences in bait and tackle are explained below.
Fishing Skill Experience & Proficiency
Fishing Skill XP is gained by catching fish only. Re-casting the line does nothing. The more successful your catch, the more skill experience you'll get. So it's a bit of a grind, but there are things that can help. You'll get better fishing poles, bait, and eventually tackle that make fishing easier. With each level gained, you gain proficiency with the pole. This helps reduce the energy consumption of casting the line. This doesn't matter much early on, but when you're using bait and in a good spot fish do bite rather frequently and energy drain becomes more of a problem. Proficiency offsets that drain.
As you level up fishing, you'll unlock more craftable recipes - both new structures that can help you (such as the recycling station) and new types of bait and tackle. Most of the baits and tackle will become available for purchase at Willy's Fish Shop on the beachside dock when you learn to craft them.
Finally, another benefit of leveling fishing is that the fishing mini-game itself becomes easier. Fish move less frantically (you have more control) and the green bar becomes longer, making it easier to keep the fish inside it. This makes it very easy to catch average fish, especially with tackle attached to the rod.
Fishing by Season
Different fish are available based upon the time of day and the current season. There are a number of spots that rotate through different fish offerings, as well as a few secret fishing spots. See these guides for information on Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter Fish.
Fishing Skill Crafting Unlocks
- Level 1 - None (just +1 Rod Proficiency)
- Level 2 - Bait is able to be bought and craftable. You can buy the Fiberglass Fishing Pole from Willy at the Fish Shop by the Docks
- Level 3 - Can build and buy Crab Pots. Dish O' The Sea is available as a cooking recipe (raises fishing level)
- Level 4 - Recycling Machine can be crafted (turns junk like trash and glasses into crafting materials)
- Level 5 - Choose between Fisher and Trapper Professions
- Level 6 - Spinner and Trap Bobber types of tackle both craftable and can be bought. You can also buy the Iridum Fishing Rod from Willy at the Fish Shop
- Level 7 - Cork Bobber and Treasure Hunter tackle now craftable and buyable
- Level 8 - Worn bin now craftable, as well as the Barbed Hook and Dressed Spinner tackle.
- Level 9 - Magnet bait (increases treasure chest chance) can be crafted and bought
- Level 10 - Choose based on your level 5 pick - Fisher can select between Angler and Pirate professions, Trapper can choose between Mariner and Luremaster professions
Crab Pots - Passive Fishing for Lobster & Crab
Crab Pots can be crafted starting at level 3. Place these next to the shore, bait them, and come back the next day to see if they've caught anything. The best thing about these is that the catches do contribute to your fishing skill experience. Additionally, they're passive income and you can turn some of the catches in for the Crab Pot Bundle at the Community Center.
A player on Reddit tested whether the better baits affect crab pots, and it would seem the answer is no - not in any measureable way. You can see the results here. Baits reduce bite time, so it's not too surprising (they are not supposed to affect quality of catches). Additionally, it is worth noting that with crab pots there's no bad place to set them. Try to put them in a line so they're easy to collect. Place them on the beach, lake, and river, and you'll catch different types of fish. Some are found in only one type of location, but the physical spot the crab pot is in does not otherwise matter.
Good Fishing Spots
A good fishing spot is an area where you can cast the line far from any land where you're able to walk. So the center of a skinny river is bad (if you can walk on both sides), and right next to the beach isn't very good. Instead, look for places like those pictured below. Wider areas in rivers, on the docks, and up near the mountain, you can find spots where you can hit deep water with the fishing line and catch more fish and less trash. In general if half of your catches are trash, you're not in a good fishing spot. Good fishing spots are also where you will catch legendary fish. As long as the spot you've picked is average you will catch a lot more fish than trash and also avoid some of the harder fish you can't catch until you're level 6+.
Fishing Spots Map
Controlling When Casting the Line
When you cast the fishing line, you actually have control over where it lands. This can let you hit awkward locations that are actually better fishing spots. Right after you hit the button to lock the bar and begin the cast, hold one of the buttons - mainly left or right, though diagonal may be possible as well. This actually makes a huge difference in some fishing spots, as you can get just a tiny bit further away from land!
Bait and Tackle
While normal bait increases the rate that fish will bite, speeding up the process, tackle has varied effects. Tackle is equipped just like bait - the Iridium Rod has slots for both bait and tackle.
- Spinner (Fishing Level 6) - Increases the rate that fish will bite.
- Lead Bobber (Fishing Level 6) - Stops the bar bouncing when it hits the bottom of the frame during the fishing minigame. Not useful very often.
- Trap Bobber (Fishing Level 6) - Makes the fishing minigame bar drop slower, meaning you don't have to click as fast to keep it steady on one level. One of the best.
- Cork Bobber (Fishing Level 7) - Increases the size of the bar in the fishing minigame by a bit, varies depending on your fishing level. Others are better. Remember, more fishing levels increases the size of the bar as well!
- Treasure hunter (Fishing Level 7) - Increases the chance of treasure chests appearing by 1/3 (meaning 20% total chance). Great for finding artifacts. These are crafted for 2 gold bars or bought for 750G from Willy.
- Dressed Spinner (Fishing Level 8) - Further increases the rate fish will bite.
- Barbed Hook (Fishing Level 8) - Helps the bar stick to the fish during the fishing minigame, making it easier.
The Recycling Machine - Save that Junk!
Crafting 25 wood, 25 stone, and one iron bar gets you a recycling machine. As you fish, save up all the trash, eyeglasses, cds, newspapers, driftwood, and store it in a treasure chest. You can use the fishing skill's recycling machine to convert these into very helpful items, like coal, refined quartz, cloth, wood and stone. They're far more valuable broken down than sold directly. Joja Cola and Rotten Plants cannot be recycled.
Fisher vs Trapper
Fisher (Level 5)
The fisher profession offers a 25% boost to all fish value. This is a nice, flat boost that affects both reel and crab pot fishing.
- Angler (Fisher Level 10) - Fish are now worth 50% more.
- Pirate (Fisher Level 10) - Chance to find treasure is doubled (around 30% chance, more with higher luck).
Trapper (Level 5)
Trappers get reduced resource requirements to make crab pots. The original requirement is 40 wood and 3 iron bars. This is greatly reduced to 25 wood and 2 copper bars. As easy as copper is to get, this allows you to make many, many more crab pots.
- Mariner (Trapper Level 10) - Crab Pots never catch trash
- Luremaster (Trapper Level 10) - Crab pots no longer need to be baited
Better Choice: Fisher with the Angler job can allow you to easily purchase crab pots for 1500g, though fisher + pirate is not an awful idea so that treasure chests come up a bit more often - you can find great things inside and it will help you find some artifacts for the museum. Pure money is not always the best pick. That said, if you are a crab pot fan and like going about collecting from them you would not be greatly hindered by going that route. Of mariner/luremaster I would prefer the Mariner. Crab pots can disappoint with trash, but not having to bait (5G!) is not that big a bonus when compared to always catching good stuff inside. However if you're a heavy recycling machine user, the trash isn't that bad a problem.