Fishing is one of the most essential activities and skills in Animal Crossing New Horizons.
Learning this will not only help you earn bells to pay your loan to Tom Nook, but you can also display your fish as prized possessions.
From getting tiny guppies to gigantic whale sharks, knowing how to fish properly will propel your island journey to a whole new level.
- Catching Fish in Animal Crossing
- Tips on Catching Fish
- What To Do With the Fish
Catching Fish in Animal Crossing
Ready to fish? Grab a rod, and let’s go!
Step 1: Head to a Body of Water
You can fish in the sea, rivers, and ponds in the game. The fish you get are different depending on the location and time of the day.
For example, some fish are only in ponds, while you can only get certain fish at night in the sea.
Step 2: Ready Your Rod
To take out your fishing rod, open your inventory by pressing ‘x,’ press ‘a’ on your rod, then select hold. You should now be holding your fishing rod.
If you haven’t unlocked the Tool Ring yet, get it when you can so you can quickly switch through your tools.
Step 3: Look For Shadows in the Water, and Then Cast
Those shadowy things in the water are the fish! Face one of the shadows, angle yourself just right near it, and with your rod already in your hand press ‘a’ to cast.
Make sure your fishing line is in front of the fish, so the fish can see it and swim up to it.
TIP: Fish can have different shadow shapes and sizes, which is a tell-tale sign on what kind of fish they are. Sharks have a fin on top, and eels are long and skinny.
Step 4: Wait for the Big Bite and Then Reel
This can get tricky! Patience and a good sense of timing will help you reel in the fish. The fish will start to nibble on your hook or bobber, but don’t press ‘a’ yet!
Wait until the line suddenly dips underwater because that’s when the fish bites your hook, and then you press ‘a’! If you do it too early or too late, the fish will swim away.
Tips on Catching Fish
Let’s make your fishing journey even easier. Whether you’re a beginner fisher in the game or a pro at catching Giant Trevallies, there’s something you can take from these tips.
Let’s Get a Rod
This is mostly for beginner fishers (don’t worry, I gotchu). You can’t fish without a rod, and thankfully at the start of the game, Tom Nook gives you a way to fish.
With the Flimsy Fishing Rod recipe, you can craft the beginner rod in the game.
It’s not the best rod, and it breaks easily after a few uses, but our fishing journey has to start somewhere, and this rod will suffice for now.
You just have to collect five tree branches to make it. To get branches, simply go in front of a tree and press ‘a’ to shake it.
After a couple of shakes, you should see a branch or two falls from the tree to the ground. You might have to do this a few more times to get all five branches.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Watch out for wasps! As serene as this game can be, there are still dangers lurking around.
Wasps can unexpectedly drop out from trees after shaking, and you either quickly catch it with your net or run for your dear life.
But if you get stung by them, worry not! You can buy or craft medicine to heal you real quick.
TIP: Hold your net, place yourself right in front of a tree, then shake. When wasps drop, just immediately press ‘a’! No need for panic.
Now you can make a fishing rod! Head to the crafting table in Resident Services to make it.
Later in the game, you can craft a stronger rod that won’t break easily, and you can customize it and give it different colors.
You can even get a very special rod later in the game, but that’s a surprise you can find out later.
If crafting takes time for you or if you want unique rod designs, you can buy fishing rods from your island’s general store, Nook’s Cranny.
Imagine fishing with a rubber duck! And it squeaks!
TIP: You can customize these rods, too!
No Noise Near the Fish
“Why can’t I catch fish?” You ask. If you notice fish are always swimming away from you, you might have to be quiet when you’re near.
Avoid running or using your tools like the shovel or net when you’re near a fish you want to catch.
Use Fish Bait
Fish bait can make random fish shadows appear on the water. If you’re tired of running around waiting for fish shadows to show up, fish bait is your friend.
You can craft this with manila clams and spread it near any water’s edge.
Count the Nibbles
Here’s a very good tip for any beginner or experienced fisher! Fish can nibble and do the big or final bite within five attempts.
For example, it can attempt to nibble a maximum of four times, with the fifth attempt a guaranteed bite.
What To Do With the Fish
Here’s a quick list of what you can do with your caught fish.
Progress Your Game
Early in the game, you need to donate some critters in order for some features to open up for you.
Your Critterpedia also records the fish you’ve caught. Catch ‘em all and complete it!
Earn Bells and Nook Miles
Some fish are worth a lot of bells — 15,000 bells a pop! You can also earn Nook Miles by doing Nook Miles+ fishing tasks.
Donate to the Museum or Display in Your Island
Your caught fish will look majestic in your museum. You can also display it in its tank or have CJ turn it into a model.
Yes, you can now cook! You can display your fish dishes, give them to friends or villagers as gifts, or simply eat them. Yum!
And that’s about it for fishing. Hopefully, I’ve reeled you in (heh) by presenting to you the steps and tips on how to catch fish.
Fishing can be a bit tricky to master, and catching sea bass all the time can get frustrating (truly a C+ experience), but soon you’ll be catching sharks left and right in no time.