Stardew Valley Fishing Guide

January 27, 2021

Have you mastered fishing in Stardew Valley yet? If not, you’ve only experienced a fraction of what the game has to offer!

By itself, fishing is a fun skill to develop and a great way to kill time in the game. But catching and selling fish throughout the seasons is also one of the most reliable ways to make money.

Want to learn more about why fishing is important and how you can get started? Here is our complete Stardew Valley fishing guide!

How to Fish in Stardew Valley

Our guide will cover some of the best Stardew Valley fishing tips. First, though, we need to cover the basics of fishing in the game.

And the basics are simple enough: fishing comes down to casting and catching. And you can get started as soon as you have a fishing rod.

Casting Your Line

When you cast your line, a small bar appears that moves back and forth from red to green. You’ll want to cast when it’s in the green, with the goal of casting as far as possible. If you achieve this, you’ll see the word “MAX” pop up on the screen.

Just like fishing in real life, much of your Stardew Valley fishing involves casting a line, waiting, and hoping you get a nibble. But you can speed this process up by casting near areas where you see bubbles in the water. And aiming for these bubbles improves the likelihood that you catch a rare fish.

Catching a Fish

How will you know when it’s time to reel a fish in? Simple: you’ll see an exclamation mark appear over your character’s head. If you reel it in at the right time, you’ll see the word “HIT” appear. But your job isn’t over, and the fishing game is just beginning!

You will notice two bars during this mini-game. The bar on the right indicates the amount of progress you have made. And the bar on the left shows the fish you are trying to catch. The speed with which this bar moves up and down indicates how difficult it is to catch the fish.

There is a smaller green rectangle you control that is known as the “fishing bar.” Pressing the “Use Tool” button makes this bar rise, and holding the button down will hold the bar in place. Releasing that hold will cause the fishing bar to slowly lower.

With that in mind, the goal is simple enough: you need to keep the fish within the fishing bar long enough for your progress bar to completely fill up. If the fish never leaves the bar, you’ll get a “PERFECT CATCH” which grants bonus experience and may improve the quality of the fish you catch.

Different fish have different speeds and patterns, and learning how each fish reacts is the key to scoring those perfect catches. Keep an eye out for any treasure chests that may appear during this mini-game. If you keep the chest in the fishing bar long enough, you’ll fill up a separate progress bar.

But remember: you don’t walk away with the treasure unless you manage to catch both the fish and the chest! And these treasure chests are a gamble. The loot is randomized, which means you may get random trash items or possibly rare items you can donate to the museum.

Fishing Rods and Tackle

You have a choice of fishing rods to use in the game. This includes the Training Rod, Bamboo Rod, Fiberglass Rod, and Iridium Rod.

When you first start out, you can only equip and use the Training Rod. It’s easiest to use, but you can never catch anything more than common fish with it. But once you get Willy’s letter on the second of Spring, you’ll have a Bamboo Rod you can use to catch rarer fish.

When you get to Fishing Level 2, you can unlock and use the Fiberglass Rod. And at Fishing Level 6, you can unlock and use the Iridium Rod. The Fiberglass Rod allows you to attach bait while the Iridium Rod allows you to attach both bait and tackle.

There are seven different kinds of tackles in the game, and each tackle is good for 20 uses. If it breaks, you can try to craft a new one or simply buy a replacement from Willy’s Fish Shop on the beach.

Each tackle makes certain aspects of fishing easier, and you’ll need to master each type of tackle if you plan to catch any Legendary Fish. Here is a breakdown of the different kinds of tackles and what they will do for you.

Barbed Hook: True to its name, the Barbed Hook will stick to the fish within the Fishing Bar

Cork Bobber: With the Cork Bobber, the Fishing Bar will be a little longer

Dressed Spinner: The Dressed Spinner makes it likelier for fish to nibble after you cast your line

Lead Bobber: With the Lead Bobber attached, the Fishing Bar will no longer bounce if it is dropped

Spinner: The Spinner also makes it likely for fish to nibble on your line, but not as much as the Dressed Spinner.

Trap Bobber: The Trap Bobber helps to slow down the decrease rate of the progress bar when you’re catching a fish.

Treasure Hunter: The Treasure Hunter makes it likelier for you to find treasure chests.

Fishing Skill and Gaining Levels

Earlier, we touched on how you cannot use certain Fishing Rods until you reach a particular Fishing Level. But how do you level up, and what are the other benefits of increasing your level?

There are three ways to gain experience and ultimately increase your Fishing Level. This includes catching fish, catching items, and using crab pots.

You can increase your Fishing Level from 0 to 10 by gaining enough experience. Every time you reach a new level, you will unlock things like new items and new crafting recipes.

The fishing itself also gets easier as you level up. In addition to having access to better rods and (eventually) tackles, increasing your Fishing Level makes the green rectangle in your Fishing Bar larger.

Once you hit Level 5, you need to make an important decision. You have to decide on your profession: will you be a Fisher or a Trapper?

These professions are mostly self-explanatory. The Fisher profession makes it easier to catch fish thanks to new bonuses.  And the Trapper profession makes it easier to get bonuses related to crab pots. When you hit the maximum level, you will gain a new bonus for your profession.

Bonuses by Level

Level 1: At Level 1 your casting distance increases, but only by one tile

Level 2: At Level 2, you can buy both the Fiberglass Rod and Bait from Willy’s Fish Shop. You can also unlock the crafting recipe to make your own bait.

Level 3: At Level 3, you can now buy Crab Pots from Willy. And you’ll unlock both the Crab Pot crafting recipe and the Dish o’ The Sea crafting recipe.

Level 4: At level 4, your casting distance increases by another tile. And you will unlock the crafting recipe for the Recycling Machine.

Level 5: At Level 5, you must choose between the Fisher and Trapper professions. If you choose Fisher, your fish will sell for an extra 25%. If you choose Trapper, you can now craft crab pots for only 25 wood and two copper.

Level 6: At Level 6, you can buy several new items. This includes the Iridium Rod, Lead Bobber, Spinner and Trap Bobber. You also unlock crafting recipes for the Spinner and Trap Bobber.

Level 7: At Level 7, you can buy the Cork Bobber and Treasure Hunter. You also unlock crafting recipes for each of these items. 

Level 8: At Level 8, your casting distance increases by another tile. You can also now buy the Barbed Hook and Dressed Spinner. Finally, you unlock crafting recipes for the Barbed Hook, Dressed Spinner, and Worm Bin.

Level 9: At Level 9, you can buy the Magnet. You also unlock the crafting recipe for the Magnet as well as the recipe for Seafoam Pudding. 

Level 10: At Level 10, you get two bonuses, but what they are depends on your profession. A Fisher will get an Angler bonus (allowing fish to sell for 50% more) and a Pirate bonus (which doubles your chance of finding treasure when fishing).

A Trapper will get a Lure Master bonus (allowing you to use crab pots without bait) and the Mariner bonus (which keeps any rubbish items from appearing in your crab pots anymore).

Any Season Fish

One common question new players have: where are the best Stardew Valley fishing spots? In reality, the best place to fish in Stardew Valley varies from fish to fish and even season to season!

Below, we have a breakdown of the fish you can catch during any season, as well as where and when you can usually find them.

Blue Discus: Typically found in the rivers and ponds of Ginger Island at any time and during any weather.

Bream: Typically found in the rivers of both Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town. They will appear in any weather, but only between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Bullhead: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Mountain Lake area.

Carp: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the areas of Mountain Lake, The Sewers, and the Secret Wood Pond.

Chub: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the areas of Cindersnap Forest River and Mountain Lake.

Ghostfish: These are dropped by ghosts at any time and any weather in the Mines (only on floors 20 and 60).

Ice Pip: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Mines (floor 60 only). Cannot be caught until you achieve Fishing Level 5.

Largemouth Bass: Can be found in any weather in the Mountain Lake area between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

Lava Eel: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Mines (floor 100 only). Cannot be caught until you achieve Fishing Level 7.

Lionfish: Typically find at any time and in any weather in the Ocean around Ginger Island.

Sandfish: Typically found in The Desert in any weather between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Scorpion Carp: Like the Sandfish, the Scorpion Carp can typically be found in The Desert in any weather between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. It cannot be caught until you achieve Fishing Level 4.

Slimejack: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Mutant Bug Lair.

Stingray: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Pirate Cove on Ginger Island.

Stonefish: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Mines (floor 20 only). Cannot be caught until you achieve Fishing Level 3.

Void Salmon: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Witch’s Swamp.

Woodskip: Typically found at any time and in any weather in Secret Woods Pond.

Spring Fish

Next up are the Stardew Valley Spring fish. As the name implies, these Stardew Valley seasonal fish can only be found during Spring in the game, so plan accordingly!

Anchovy: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Ocean.

Catfish: Catfish are the first Stardew Valley rain fish in our guide. They only appear in the rain between 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. in the Secret Woods Pond, the Witch’s Swamp, and the rivers of both Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Eel: Typically found during the rain between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Flounder: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the Ocean.

Halibut: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Herring: Typically found at any time in any weather in the Ocean.

Sardine: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Shad: Typically found in the rain between 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Smallmouth Bass: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Cindersap Forest Pond and the river in Pelican Town.

Sunfish: Typically found in the sun or the wind between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the rivers of both Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Summer Fish

The best Stardew Valley fishing locations change by the season. Summer brings a new selection of fish but also new challenges for the player.

Catfish: The Stardew Valley fish by season may change, but certain fish like the Catfish can be found across multiple seasons. In the summer, these fish are typically found in the rain between 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. in the Secret Woods Pond, Witch’s Swamp, and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Dorado: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Cindersap Forest river.

Flounder: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Ocean. 

Halibut: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Octopus: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Ocean.

Pike: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Pufferfish: Typically found in the sun between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ocean.

Rainbow Trout: Typically found in the sun between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Mountain Lake and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Red Mullet: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean. 

Red Snapper: Typically found in the rain between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Shad:  This Stardew Valley Summer rain fish is typically found in the rain between 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Sturgeon: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Mountain Lake.

Sunfish: Typically found in the sun and the wind between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Super Cucumber: Typically found in any weather between 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Tilapia: Typically found in any weather between 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Tuna: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Fall Fish

Ready for some Stardew Valley lake fishing? That is the only way to catch some of the fish on our Fall list.

Albacore: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Anchovy: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Ocean.

Catfish: Typically found in the rain between 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. in the Witch’s Swamp and in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Eel: Typically found in the rain between 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Midnight Carp: Typically found in any weather between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Mountain Lake and the Cindersap Forest Pond.

Red Snapper: Typically found in the rain between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Salmon: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Sardine: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Sea Cucumber: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Shad: Typically found in the rain between 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Smallmouth Bass: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the river of Cindersap Forest Pond and in Pelican Town.

Super Cucumber: Typically found in any weather between 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Tiger Trout: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Tilapia: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ocean.

Walleye: Typically found in the rain between 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Cindersap Forest Pond, Mountain Lake, and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Winter Fish

Even when things cool down in Stardew Valley, there are plenty of fish to catch in the Winter!

Albacore: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Halibut: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Herring: Typically found at any time and in any weather in the Ocean.

Lingcod: Typically found at any time and in any weather in Mountain Lake and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Midnight Carp: Typically found in any weather between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Mountain Lake and the Cindersap Forest Pond.

Perch: Typically found at any time and in any weather in Mountain Lake, Cindersap Forest Pond, and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Pike: Typically found at any time and in any weather in Cindersap Forest Pond and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Red Mullet: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Red Snapper: Typically found in the rain (after you use the Rain Totem) between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Sardine: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean. 

Sea Cucumber: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Squid: Typically found in any weather between 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Ocean.

Sturgeon: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Mountain Lake.

Tiger Trout: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

Tuna: Typically found in any weather between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Ocean.

Walleye: Typically found in the rain (after you use the Rain Totem) between 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Mountain Lake, Cindersap Forest Pond, and the rivers of Cindersap Forest and Pelican Town.

The Night Market

During Winter on the Beach, you can visit the Night Market between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. between the 15th and the 17th. While there are many different activities you can take part in, the most important one for fishing is the Submarine Ride.

It will cost you 1,000 gold to ride on this submarine, and it will take you on a deep-sea tour that lasts for a total of one hour in-game. This gives you a chance to catch some fish and items you might have missed as well as a few fish that are exclusive to this tour.

When it comes to regular fish, you can catch Octopus, Sea Cucumber, and Super Cucumber on this ride. You can also snag Pearl and Seawood as you fish.

As for special fish, there are three you can only catch on this Submarine Ride. This includes the Blobfish, Midnight Squid, and Spook Fish.

Legendary Fish

Our guide has covered all of the typical fish you can find across the different seasons and in the different areas of Stardew Valley. But there are also five legendary fish that will take additional skill (and some luck) in order to catch.

Unlike other fish, legendary fish can only be found in very specific areas (don’t worry: our guide has you covered). And you’ll know you’re dealing with a legendary fish because when the fishing mini-game pops up, the fish will be wearing a hat.

Angler: Can only be found during the Fall, at any time or weather, on the wooden plank bridge north of JojaMart. You will need to be Level 3 or higher in order to catch it.

Crimsonfish: Can only be found during the Summer, at any time or weather, on the east pier of the Beach. You will need to be Level 5 or higher in order to catch it.

Glacierfish: Can only be found in the Winter, at any time or weather, in the southern part of the arrow-looking island in the Cindersap Forest. You will need to be Level 6 or higher in order to catch it.

Legend: Can only be found in the Spring, during any time when it is raining, near the underwater lake of Mountain Town. You will need to be Level 10 in order to catch it.

Mutant Carp: Unlike other legendary fish, the Mutant Carp can be caught during any season and at any time or weather within the Sewers. 

Gone Fishin’

You’ve now completed our guide and know everything there is to know about fishing in Stardew Valley. The only thing left to do is grab your Fishing Rod, clear your schedule, and begin leveling up! 

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