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Fishing has been a staple of the Animal Crossing series since the jump-off, and in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it remains a great way to earn Bells and pass time. It’s also one of three collectibles players can track in their Critterpedia, and one of a handful of collectibles players can donate to Blathers and the Museum in return for some really breathtaking displays. Like past games in the series, fish have certain times of year, times of day, and locations they only appear in, and some are much rarer than others. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get a fishing rod, how to fish, and provide a full list of fish in the game, plus times of year and day they can be found, their locations, shadow sizes, and rarity levels.


How to craft a fishing rod



First things first, you’ll need a fishing rod in order to catch fish. After getting your hands on the DIY for Beginners recipe, the flimsy fishing rod can be crafted using five tree branches at any workbench in the game. There’s one in the Resident Services tent, but you can also craft your own DIY workbench to place wherever. Do note that the flimsy fishing rod is subject to breaking quite often, so you may need to stock up on tree branches to replace it from time to time. Once you have a flimsy fishing rod, you can craft the sturdier regular fishing rod with one iron nugget and one flimsy fishing rod.

If you don’t have the materials to craft anything, you can also always just buy a rod at Resident Services or Nook’s Cranny (depending on your game progression).


Where can I find fish?


Fish can be found swimming all over your island — in the rivers, in ponds, and in the great blue ocean surrounding it. Some fish can only be found in certain locations within these locations, like the rivers on your cliffs, the mouths of your rivers, or on the pier on your beach. Our fish list below will direct you to exactly where you need to go to catch certain fish, like the salmon, for instance, which can only be caught in the water where the river meets the ocean.


Weather affects the fish you can catch


Rarer fish appear more often during snow and rain. That means when it’s rainy or snowy outside, it’s time to break out the rod and start hunting for those rare critters! Some fish also only appear during snow and rain, like the elusive coelacanth.


Time of year and time of day affect the fish you can catch


Certain fish only come around certain times of the year and at certain times of the day, whereas others can appear year-round and all day. For example, the barreleye appears every single month of the year but only during the hours of 9 p.m. to 4 a.m; meanwhile, the clownfish only appears from April to September (in the northern hemisphere) all day long. It’s also important to remember that the hemisphere you picked at the beginning of the day affects the times of year fish appear.


What do fish shadows indicate?



All fish come in different sizes, and the size of the shadow of the fish can help hint you towards which fish is in the water. For example, the guppy has a tiny, tiny shadow, while the black bass has a much larger one. If you’re hunting black bass, you should avoid tiny shadows lest you want to waste your time. Ocean fish sometimes will also have fins in addition to their shadows; these indicate these fish are some type of shark, which are very rare and sell for tons of bells. Finned fish require a lot less reaction time than regular fish, so have your thumb at the ready!

Not sure what each fish shadow looks like? Hopefully this should help:


Shadow SizeScreenshot
TinyAnimal Crossing New Horizons Tiny Fish Shadow
SmallAnimal Crossing New Horizons Small Fish Shadow
MediumAnimal Crossing New Horizons Medium Fish Shadow
LargeAnimal Crossing New Horizons Large Fish Shadow
Very LargeAnimal Crossing New Horizons Very Large Fish Shadow
HugeAnimal Crossing New Horizons Huge Fish Shadow


How to catch fish


So now that you have the basics down, let’s go over how to actually catch the fish you see. Head over to any body of water where you see a fish shadow, equip your fishing rod, and cast your line using the “A” button. Make sure the fish is looking at your lure! It will nibble at it a minimum of one time, but will usually nibble twice before biting down. Once the fish bites it, press “A” to start reeling it in. The fish will circle and you’ll feel your controller vibrate. If your timing is right, you’ll land your fish no problem! Like we mentioned before, though, rarer fish require quicker reaction times, so always be alert!

Once you’ve caught your fish, you can sell it for bells (each fish has its own value, with rarer ones netting you more money), donate it to Blathers at the Museum, release it, or display it in your tent/house or outside on your island!


How to craft fish bait


A new addition to Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fish bait. Fish bait can be scattered on the water to attract fish, which you can then, of course, catch. To craft fish bait, you’ll need to get a manila clam, which can be found on the beach. Walk up and down your beach and keep an eye out for small jets of water that spurt out from the sand. Make sure you have a shovel and dig up the spots where water spits out.

Once you catch a manila clam, you’ll automatically learn the recipe for fish bait. Head over to your local workbench and craft it. Fish bait only requires one manila clam to craft.


Full list of fish in Animal Crossing: New Horizons


There you have it: Now you’re a fishing expert! All that’s left is learning which fish appear in the game, where, and at what time of day and year. Our list also includes shadow size, sale prices, and rarity level (on a scale of 1 through 5). Be sure to pay attention to the data for the hemisphere your island’s in, as well.

Apologies for any information that isn’t available yet — we’re working on it!


Fish NameSeasonality (Northern Hemisphere)Seasonality (Southern Hemisphere)LocationActive HoursShadow SizeSell Price
AnchovyAll YearAll YearOcean4 a.m. - 9 p.m.Small200
AngelfishMay - OctoberNovember - AprilRiver4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Small3,000
ArapaimaJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchRiver1 a.m. - 9 a.m.Huge10,000
ArowanaJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchRiver4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Large10,000
Barred KnifejawMarch - NovemberSeptember - MayOceanAll DayMedium5,000
BarreleyeAll YearAll YearOcean9 p.m. - 4 a.m.Small15,000
BettaMay - OctoberNovember - AprilRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Small2,500
BitterlingNovember - MarchMay - SeptemberRiverAll DayTiny900
Black BassAll YearAll YearRiverAll DayLarge400
BlowfishNovember - FebruaryMay - AugustOcean9 p.m. - 4 a.m.Medium5,000
Blue MarlinNovember - April, July - SeptemberJanuary - March, May - OctoberPierAll DayHuge10,000
BluegillAll YearAll YearRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Small180
Butterfly FishApril - SeptemberOctober - MarchOceanAll DaySmall1,000
CarpAll YearAll YearRiverAll DayLarge300
CatfishMay - OctoberNovember - AprilPond4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Large800
CharMarch - June, September - NovemberMarch - May, September - DecemberRiver4 p.m. - 9 a.m. (All Day for NH Sept. - Nov., SH March - May)Medium3,800
Cherry SalmonMarch - June, September - NovemberMarch - May, September - DecemberRiver (Cliff)4 p.m. - 9 a.m. (All Day for NH Sept. - Nov., SH March - May)Medium1,000
ClownfishApril - SeptemberOctober - MarchOceanAll DayTiny650
CoelacanthAll YearAll YearOcean (Rain)All DayHuge15,000
CrawfishApril - SeptemberOctober - MarchPondAll DaySmall200
Crucian CarpAll YearAll YearRiverAll DaySmall160
DabOctober - AprilApril - OctoberOceanAll DayMedium300
DaceAll YearAll YearRiver4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Medium240
DoradoJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchRiver4 a.m. - 9 p.m.Very Large15,000
Football FishNovember - MarchMay - SeptemberOcean4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Large2,500
Freshwater GobyAll YearAll YearRiver4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Small400
FrogMay - AugustNovember - FebruaryPondAll DaySmall120
GarJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchPond4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Very Large6,000
Giant SnakeheadJune - AugustDecember - FebruaryPond9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Large6,500
Giant TrevallyMay - OctoberNovember - AprilPierAll DayVery Large4,500
Golden TroutMarch - May, September - NovemberMarch - May, September - NovemberRiver (Cliff)4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Medium15,000
GoldfishAll YearAll YearPondAll DayTiny1,300
Giant White SharkJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchOcean4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Very Large (Finned)15,000
GuppyApril - NovemberOctober - MayRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny1,300
Hammerhead SharkJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchOcean4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Very Large (Finned)8,000
Horse MackerelAll YearAll YearOceanAll DaySmall150
KillifishAll YearAll YearPond9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny300
King SalmonSeptemberMarchRiver (Mouth)All DayHuge1,800
KoiAll YearAll YearPond4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Large4,000
LoachMarch - MaySeptember - NovemberRiverAll DaySmall400
Mahi-mahiMay - OctoberNovember - AprilPierAll DayVery Large6,000
Mitten CrabSeptember - NovemberMarch - MayRiver4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Small2,000
Moray EelAugust - OctoberFebruary - AprilOceanAll DayVery Large and Long2,000
NapoleonfishJuly - AugustJanuary - FebruaryOcean4 a.m. - 9 a.m.Huge10,000
Neon TetraApril - NovemberOctober - MayRiver4 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny500
Nibble FishMay - SeptemberNovember - MarchRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny1,500
OarfishDecember - MayJune - NovemberOceanAll DayHuge9,000
Ocean SunfishJuly - SeptemberJanuary - MarchOcean4 a.m. - 9 p.m.Very Large (Finned)4,000
Olive FlounderAll YearAll YearOceanAll DayVery Large800
Pale ChubAll YearAll YearRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny200
PikeSeptember - DecemberMarch - JuneRiverAll DayVery Large1,800
PiranhaJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m., 9 p.m. - 4 a.m.Small2,500
Pond SmeltDecember - FebruaryJune - AugustRiverAll DaySmall320
Popeyed GoldfishAll YearAll YearPond9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny1,300
Puffer FishJuly - SeptemberJanuary - MarchOceanAll DayMedium250
Rainbow FishMay - OctoberNovember - AprilRiver9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tiny800
Ranchu GoldfishAll YearAll YearPond9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Small4,500
RayAugust - NovemberFebruary - MayOcean4 a.m. - 9 p.m.Huge3,000
Red SnapperAll YearAll YearOceanAll DayLarge3,000
Ribbon EelJuly - OctoberJanuary - AprilOceanAll DayLong and Thin600
Saddled BichirJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchRiver9 p.m. - 4 a.m.Large4,000
SalmonSeptemberMarchRiver (Mouth)All DayLarge700
Saw SharkJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchOcean4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Very Large (Finned)12,000
Sea BassAll YearAll YearOceanAll DayVery Large400
Sea ButterflyDecember - MarchJune - SeptemberOceanAll DayTiny1,000
SeahorseApril - NovemberOctober - MayOceanAny TimeTiny1,100
Snapping TurtleApril - OctoberOctober - AprilRiver9 p.m. - 4 a.m.Large5,000
Soft-Shelled TurtleAugust - SeptemberFebruary - MarchRiver4 p.m. - 9a.m.Large3,750
SquidDecember - AugustJune - FebruaryOceanAll DayMedium500
StringfishDecember - MarchJune - SeptemberRiver (Cliff)4 p.m. - 9 a.m.Very Large15,000
SturgeonSeptember - MarchMarch - SeptemberRiver (Mouth)All DayHuge10,000
SuckerfishJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchOceanAll DayVery Large (Finned)1,500
SurgeonfishApril - SeptemberOctober - MarchOceanAll DaySmall1,000
SweetfishJuly - SeptemberJanuary - MarchRiverAll DayMedium900
TadpoleMarch - JulySeptember - JanuaryPondAll DayTiny100
TilapiaJune - OctoberDecember - AprilRiverAll DayMedium800
TunaNovember - AprilMay - OctoberPierAll DayHuge7,000
Whale SharkJune - SeptemberDecember - MarchOceanAll DayVery Large (Finned)13,000
Yellow PerchOctober - MarchApril - SeptemberRiverAll DayMedium300
Zebra TurkeyfishApril - NovemberOctober - MayOceanAll DayMedium500


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Written by Daniel Dell-Cornejo

Daniel is an editor at Nintendo Wire. Always with his head in the clouds, he is never apart from his creative thoughts – a blessing for an aspiring fiction writer. As a journalist and lifelong gamer, he aims to provide readers with the very best in Nintendo coverage.