Stardew Valley Fishing Guide
Fishing is regarded as one of, if not the most difficult parts to Stardew Valley. The minigame is extremely hard at low levels, but gets much easier as you level up your fishing skill.
You can get your first fishing pole from Willy after he sends you a letter in the mail saying he returned from his trip; it's normally within the first few days of your first spring.
Cast your rod by equiping and using the rod near water (either right click or X on the Xbox controller). After a short period of time you'll get a bite, right-click/hit x again to start the fishing minigame. During the minigame, the fish will randomly move up or down and your job is to keep the bar in the green box (by holding right click to move the bar up or releasing right click to lower the bar). As long as the fish is in the box, the meter will go up; if the fish is out of the box, the meter will go down. Once the meter is full, you'll catch the fish.
Sometimes a treasure icon will show up while inside the fishing minigame. You can catch treasure by moving the bar over the icon and waiting for the green circle around the treasure to fill then go back to catching the fish as normal. You must still catch the fish to receive the treasure.
To easily level your fishing skill, you can cast into one of the two ponds on your farm. You'll only catch trash but you don't need to successfully complete the minigame to catch a fish. Once you have access to crab pots, use those to level fishing without playing the minigame.
TLDR: Choose Fisher > Pirate
Level your fishing skills by catching fish your rod or using crab pots. Crab pots are a great way to level fishing early in the game if you find the fishing minigame difficult (it gets easier as you level, I promise).
|Level 5||Fisher - Fish worth 25% more.||Trapper - Resources required to craft crab pots reduced.|
|Level 10||Angler - Fish worth 50% more.||Pirate - Chance to find treasure doubled.||Mariner - Crab pots never catch trash.||Luremaster - Crab pots no longer need to be baited.|
The fishing professions in Stardew Valley are split between the two types of fishing the game offers: rod & reel fishing and fish trapping. Rod fishing offers better rewards but takes a considerable amount of time and energy while trapping takes little time and no energy (but has the added cost of requiring bait).
As far as professions go, your level 5 options are betwen Fisher and Trapper. This decision really comes down to how you plan to spend time in the game. If you like the fishing minigame, fisher will be better; if you plan on using traps (or not fish at all), take trapper.
If you took Fisher at level 5, you'll have the choice between Angler and and Pirate at level 10. At this point, Angler probably isn't worth it unless your focused on making fishing your primary money maker (but you shouldn't do that). Pirate is the better choice since fishing treasures are sometimes very good; it is effectively a free magnet every time you cast (a type of bait, more on that later), but it still comes down to the fact that if you spend time fishing, this profession is the better choice.
If you took Trapper at level 5, crab pots require copper bars instead of iron bars. It's not all that useful because I'd rather buy crab pots from Willy for 1,500g than spend time gathering copper/iron ore and coal. The choice between Mariner and Luremaster at level 10 is probably the most game changing profession choice you'll get. Mariner guarentees that you'll catch fish and that guarentees that you'll make money with your crab pots. Luremaster removes the bait requirement from the crab pot and that has a relatively large impact on how you spend your time (no more farming bugs in the mines or remembering to bait your traps). Personally, I want to catch trash when it comes to crab pots because the recycler offers great rewards, so I strongly suggest Luremaster.
Basically the two best choices are the following:
- If you enjoy playing the fishing minigame, take Fisher > Pirate
- If you want to fish passively, take Trapper > Luremaster
It's a little bit of a toss up between the two professions. Luremaster is better until refined quartz no longer matters (mainly for quality sprinkers and lightning rods unless you are building crystal paths and floors), while Luremaster gives you the same effect as a magnet (worth 1,000g or 1 iron bar) per cast. Using mathematical terms, Luremaster's limit is zero (0) and Pirate's limit is infinity (∞).
Willy sells three rods at his shop:
|Fiberglass Rod||1,800g||Use bait||Requires fishing level 2|
|Iridium Rod||7,500g||Use bait and tackle||Requires fishing level 6|
Upgrade to the fiberglass rod and start using bait as quickly as you can, it will save you a lot of time. You can buy bait from Willy for 5g or craft it with bug meat from the mines.
Bait & Tackle
Always use standard bait; both wild bait and magnets are extremely expensive for their benefits. Also remember that the Pirate profession provides the same benefit of using a magnet but without the drawback. One bait is used everytime you catch something with your rod, it's also used while fishing with crab pots.
|Bait||Decreases time for a bite; decreases chance of catching trash||5g||1 Bug Meat|
|Wild Bait||Decreases time for a bite more than standard bait; get it from Linus after level 4 friendship.||-||10 Fiber
5 Bug Meat
|Magnet||Increases chance to find treasure by 100% (15% -> 30%), however slows the bite rate a bit.||1,000g||1 Iron Bar|
In order to craft wild bait, you must raise your friendship level with Linus up to level 4.
Tackle is a second type of bait that you can use once you've purchased the Iridium Rod. Tackle lasts multiple catches (about 20 or so). If you dedicate an entire day to fishing, you should expect to go through 1-3 tackle.
|Spinner||Reduces the maximum delay before a nibble by 3.75 seconds.||500g||2 Iron Bar|
|Dressed Spinner||Reduces the maximum delay before a nibble by 7.5 seconds.||1,000g||2 Iron Bar
|Trap Bobber||The meter drops 66% slower; best tackle in the game.||500g||1 Copper Bar
|Cork Bobber||Slightly increases your skill while fishing; better used at lower levels because the buff is a flat value (not percent).||750g||10 Wood
|Lead Bobber||Prevents lure from bouncing off the bottom; not all that useful because you're better off timing the drop.||200g||-|
|Treasure Hunter||Fish don't escape while collecting treasure; increases chance to find treasure by 33% (5% increase from base chance of 15%).||750g||2 Gold Bar|
|Barbed Hook||Makes your meter "stick" to the fish slightly; this tackle works better with slower fish, like carp.||1,000g||1 Copper Bar
1 Iron Bar
1 Gold Bar
The most useful tackle is the trap bobber followed by treasure hunter if you're looking for treasure. Cork bobbers don't provide enough value to be worthwhile (it's about half of a level increase in the bar). The barbed hook tends to make fishing more difficult.
Unless you have excess materials, you're better off buying tackle from Willy instead of trying to craft it yourself.
Place crab pots on any shore to catch shellfish and trash. Remember that crab pots must be baited every day unless you have the Luremaster profession. My favorite places to place crab pots are on the east bank of the river near the blacksmith, the north side of the mountain lake outside of the mines, and the small pond on the northeast part of your farm because all of these locations are easily accessed using the mine cart.
|Item||Cost||Mats w/o Trapper||Mats w/ Trapper|
|Crab Pot||1,500g||40 Wood
3 Iron Bar
2 Copper Bar
The best way to get crab pots are to buy them from Willy for 1,500g. Otherwise, you can craft them with either 40 wood and 3 iron bars (if you don't have trapper) or with 25 wood and 2 copper bars (if you took the Trapper profession).
You can also get three crab pots by completing the crab pot bundle in the community center.
Two pieces of equipment can be crafted as the fishing skill is leveled up: recycling machines at level 4 and worm bins at level 8.
The recycling machine turns junk into useful items. It can be made after obtaining level four (4) fishing with the following resources:
- 25 wood
- 25 stone
- 1 iron bar
All items take one (1) hour to process. All trash items have two possible results that can be seen in the table below.
|Trash||Time||Possible Result #1||Possible Result #1|
|Trash||1 hour||1-3 stone||1-3 iron ore|
|Broken CD||1 hour||1 refined quartz||-|
|Driftwood||1 hour||1-2 coal||1 wood|
|Joja Cola||1 hour||-||-|
|Broken Glasses||1 hour||1 refined quartz||3 wood|
|Soggy Newspaper||1 hour||3 torches||1 cloth|
To be clear, Joja Cola cannot be processed by the recycling machine.
The worm bin produces 2-5 bait on a daily basis. It can be made after obtaining level eight (8) fishing with the following resources:
- 25 Hardwood
- 1 Gold Bar
- 1 Iron Bar
- 50 Fiber
The worm bin is too expensive to be worthwhile. 25 hardwood is too much, just buy bait (in bulk) from Willy for 5g a piece. By the time you've leveled fishing to 8, money shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Some food temporarily increases your fishing skill, making it easier to catch fish. Most recipes are aquired by befriending Willy and Linus.
|Food||Ingredients||Stat Bonuses||Source||Sell Value|
|+1 Fishing||Willy - 3 hearts||150g|
|Dish O' The Sea||2 Sardine
|+3 Fishing||Fishing - Level 3||220g|
|+2 Fishing||Willy - 5 hearts||125g|
|Fish Stew||1 Crawfish
|+3 Fishing||Willy - 7 hearts||175g|
|Fish Taco||1 Tuna
1 Red Cabbage
|+2 Fishing||Linus - 7 hearts||500g|
|Lobster Bisque||1 Lobster
+50 Max Energy
|Cooking Channel - Winter 14, even years
Willy - 9 hearts
|Maple Bar||1 Maple Syrup
1 Wheat Flour
|Cooking Channel - Summer 14, even years||300g|
Most of the recipes won't be availble until year 2, just spend time increasing your friendship level with Willy and cook the best food available to you (Chowder -> Escargot -> Fish Stew/Lobster Bisque/Dish O' The Sea). Dish O' The Sea and Lobster Bisque the easiest recipes to make but both aren't really available until year two. Fish Stew is also very reasonable if you are have a few spare crab pots and some space available in your greenhouse for tomatoes.
Stardew Valley has a ton of areas you can fish. Just about every area of the game has a fishable location (with the railroad, bus stop, quarry, and skull cavern being exceptions).
Your farm has two ponds on it: a small pond located in the northeast part of the field near your house and a larger pond in the southern most part of the field. You cannot catch fish in these ponds, but they provide a steady stream of trash (no pun intended, sorry). It's also a good location to put crab pots since you spend a considerable amount of time on your farm anyways (especially the smaller pond near your house).
The south and east sides of Pelican Town have a river running through it and it is easily accessible using the blacksmith's mine cart location. During the fall, a legendary fish can be caught north of Joja Mart.
The beach in the southern part of Stardew Valley has two piers that you can cast into deeper water; this is the only ocean location in the game. Willy's shop can also be found here. During the summer, a legendary fish's location is the eastern most pier where you cast into the deep water.
Cindersap Forest is south of your farm and west of Pelican Town. A small pond (that counts as part of the river) is in the northern central part of the area with a river running south then east out of the area. A relatively large island (with three trees) can be found in pretty much the center of the map where a legendary fish can be caught in the winter.
Just north of Pelican Town, the mountain has a lake just outside of the mines and between the quarry. It's easily accessible and offers good fishing year round. During rainy spring days, there's a chance to catch a legendary fish (see the legendary fish section below for more information on the Legend).
The mines have lakes at levels 20, 60, and 100 and has the most profitable fish available year-round in Stardew Valley (but they are among the most difficult non-legendary fish to catch). Ghost fish reduce the value of fishing in the mines by a little bit, but you'll still have a decent chance of catching extremely valuable fish (fair warning, they are pretty hard to catch though).
Unlocked after reparing the bus stop, the desert has a small pond located in the northwest part of the map. Sandfish and scorpion carp can be found here, but that's about it. In terms of fishing, this area doesn't have all that much to offer.
The sewers are unlocked by donating at least 60 items to the museum and is the location of a legendary fish that can be caught any time of the year; it's also a good source for carp and algae if you ever need either of those.
The Secret Woods are unlocked by chopping down the large stump in the northwestern part of Cindersap Forest (requires an upgraded axe). A pond can be found in the western part of this hidden area. This area is only really worth fishing in for catching woodskip or catfish (during the summer).
Stardew Valley has a ton of fish that you are able to catch. The type of fish you catch comes down to your location, what season, what time, and how the weather is when you fish. For example, walleye are one of the most selective fish in the game and can only be caught in rivers in the afternoon/evening while it is raining during fall or winter.
|Pufferfish||Ocean||Summer||Sunny||12 PM - 4 PM||200g|
|Tuna||Ocean||Summer, Winter||Any||6 AM - 7 PM||100g|
|Sardine||Ocean||Spring, Fall, Winter||Any||6 AM - 7 PM||40g|
|Bream||River||All||All||6 PM - 2 AM||45g|
|Largemouth Bass||Lake||All||Any||6 AM - 7 PM||100g|
|Smallmouth Bass||River, Forest Pond||Spring, Fall||Any||Any||50g|
|Rainbow Trout||River, Lake||Summer||Sunny||6 AM - 7 PM||65g|
|Salmon||River||Fall||Any||6 AM - 7 PM||75g|
|Walleye||River, Secret Pond, Lake||Fall, Winter||Rain/Snow||12 PM - 2 AM||105g|
|Perch||River, Secret Pond, Lake||Winter||Any||Any||55g|
|Carp||Lake, Sewers, Secret Pond||Any||Any||Any||30g|
|Catfish||River, Secret Pond||Spring, Fall, Summer* (Secret Pond only)||Rain||Any||200g|
|Pike||River, Secret Pond||Summer, Winter||Any||Any||100g|
|Sunfish||River||Spring, Summer||6 AM - 7 PM||Sunny||30g|
|Red Mullet||Ocean||Summer, Winter||6 AM - 7 PM||Any||75g|
|Eel||Ocean||Spring, Fall||4 PM - 2 AM||Rain||85g|
|Octopus||Ocean||Summer||6 AM - 1 PM||Any||150g|
|Red Snapper||Ocean||Summer, Fall||6 AM - 7 PM||Rain||50g|
|Squid||Ocean||Winter||6 AM - 2 PM||Any||80g|
|Sea Cucumber||Ocean||Fall, Winter||6 AM - 7 PM||Any||75g|
|Super Cucumber||Ocean||Summer, Fall||6 AM - 2 PM||Any||250g|
|Ghost Fish||The Mines (20/60/100)||All||Any||Any||45g|
|Stonefish||The Mines (20F)||All||Any||Any||300g|
|Ice Pip||The Mines (60F)||All||Any||Any||500g|
|Lava Eel||The Mines (100F)||All||Any||Any||700g|
|Sandfish||Desert||All||6 AM - 10 PM||Any||75g|
|Scorpion Carp||Desert||All||6 AM - 10 PM||Any||150g|
|Sturgeon||Lake||Summer, Winter||6 AM - 7 PM||Any||200g|
|Tiger Trout||River||Fall, Winter||6 AM - 7 PM||Any||150g|
|Tilapia||Ocean||Summer, Fall||6 AM - 2 PM||Any||75g|
|Dorado||River (Forest only)||Summer||6 AM - 7 PM||Any||100g|
|Albacore||Ocean||Fall, Winter||6 AM - 11 AM
6 PM - 2 AM
|Sunny, Rain (not snow)||75g|
|Shad||River||Spring, Summer, Fall||9 AM - 2 AM||Rain||60g|
|Halibut||Ocean||Spring, Summer, Winter||6 AM - 11 AM
7 PM - 2 AM
As mentioned earlier in this guide, fishing in the mines is the best for profit area in the game (especially at level 100). Otherwise, the ocean is normally better than the lake and the lake is better than the river.
Crab Pot Fish
As the name suggest, crab pot fish are only caught using crab pots.
In addition to catching these fish, you have a small chance of catching various types of trash. Save all of the trash and put it in a recycling machine for some pretty good items.
With the exception of the Legend, all of the legendary fish can only be caught once per game. All of the legendary fish have special locations where you need to fish and have a minimum fishing level requirement in order to catch them.
|Crimson Fish||Ocean - Cast of the east pier (after repairing the bridge) into the deep water.||Summer||Any||Any||5||1500g|
|Angler||River (Town) - North of Joja Mart on the wooden plank bridge, cast up (north) into the deep water.||Fall||Any||Any||3||900g|
|Legend||The Lake - Any of the deep water (best to cast between the island and the quarry).||Spring||Rain||Any||10||6250g|
|Glacierfish||Forest - South end of the island in the forest (south of Leah's house, east of the Abandoned House), cast into the deep water.||Summer||Any||Any||6||1000g|
|Mutant Carp||The Sewers||Any||Any||Any||-||1000g|
Keep in mind that all of the legendary fish are extremely difficult to catch. Bring some tackle, use food to buff your fishing skill to make it easier, and be prepared to fail a bunch of times. Keep trying and you'll eventually catch them. This is one of the times where the game should be difficult, you're catching legendary fish after all.
Trash & Weeds
The following items can be caught while fishing (and do not trigger the fishing minigame):
|Green Algae||Mines, River||15g|
|White Algae||Mines, Sewer||25g|
Place trash in the recycling bin for better items; seaweed and algae are used in various cooking recipes.
Like pretty much everything in Stardew Valley, fishing is meant to be fun. It's not necessarily the most lucrative thing you can do in the game and that's okay.