The ultimate Stardew Valley fishing guide: From novice to master angler

Stardew Valley game stock photo 2

Stardew Valley is a wholesome and relaxing game, but if there is one activity that is sure to get your blood boiling and make your palms sweat, it’s fishing. Although it’s a bit easier on a touchscreen, fishing in Stardew Valley is an art that takes time and patience to master. This is why we are here to help! This is our ultimate guide on fishing in Stardew Valley.

How to get better at fishing in Stardew Valley

If you’ve tried fishing and failed, you might be asking yourself why should I waste time fishing, isn’t this a farming game? Well, the answer is that fishing is an essential part of the game. It’s a great way to supplement your income, unlock achievements, and often, the only way to get the perfect gift for that villager you’ve been eyeing.

So, how do you improve? The simplest but most effective advice is to tap gently when trying to align the green bar with the fish. Vigorous tapping or continuous pressing on the screen will send the bar flying up and down, allowing your catch to escape. Like every other skill in-game or in real life practice makes perfect.

Stardew Valley fishing reel

That said, there are some key things that will improve your chances to catch high quality fish. For example, you really shouldn’t waste your time trying to fish in the small ponds around your farm, especially if you are using the Standard farm layout. Why? Because most of the time, you will reel in a soggy newspaper or other trash. Head to the ocean or to the town rivers and lakes instead. Once you are there, follow these tips for some fresh fish:

  • Upgrade your rod as quickly as possible the Training rod can only catch common fish.
  • Cast your line as far away from the shore as possible, aiming for deeper, darker water. This decreases your chance of snagging garbage and increases the quality of any fish you catch.
  • If bubbles appear on the water, cast your line there. Fish usually spawn on this location and will bite much quicker than usual. The likelihood of finding a rare or legendary fish is also higher.
  • Use food to temporarily increase your fishing level. The best dishes for the job are Dish O’ The Sea, Fish Stew, Lobster Bisque, and Seafoam Pudding.
  • Don’t get too tempted by treasures unless you are specifically hunting for artifacts. Their loot is not amazing at lower levels and catching that community bundle fish is more important.

Even with these tips in mind, you should know that some fish are just extremely hard to catch. You won’t be able to get all of them in your first year and there is no shame in that. Things get much easier with practice (and an Iridium rod).

The best Stardew Valley fishing spots

The best kept secret of many a Stardew Valley fisherman are the prime Pelican Town fishing locations. There are several spots on the map that have great spawn rates and convenient access to the deep dark depths of the water. Head here for the best catch in town:

Western Pier rock

Located on the same pier as Willy’s Fish Shop, casting your line near this rock is guaranteed to net you a good catch.

Stardew Valley fishing Western Pier rock

Edge of Eastern Pier

Once you rebuild the wooden bridge to the tidal pools, you will get access to the Eastern Pier. Its edge is one of the best fishing locations in the game.

Stardew Valley fishing Eastern Pier edge

Mountain lake near the mines

Catch some fish before entering the mines in this location for maximum efficiency!

Stardew Valley fishing Mountain lake

Near Leah’s cabin

There’s a reason Willy often fishes here when he’s not in front of his shop.

Stardew Valley fishing Leahs cabin

Leveling up your Stardew Valley fishing skill

So how do you get your hands on better equipment? With more fishing, of course. The skill has ten levels, all of which unlock new crafting recipes. As you level up, your fishing proficiency increases too. This means you use less energy, allowing you to spend even more of your day fishing. Don’t be disheartened if you’re still learning though even reeling in seaweed, algae or trash helps you work towards the next level.

Level two is one of the first important milestones. It unlocks the fiberglass rod, which can be purchased from Willy’s shop for 1,800 gold. It also gives you access to the bait crafting recipe. You can make 5 bait using one bug meat, or you can buy bait from Willy for 5g each. Once you have it, attach it to your fiberglass rod before heading out to sea. It will cause fish to bite faster, making fishing more efficient.

Stardew Valley crab pot fishing

At level three, the crab pot recipe will be unlocked. Crab pots are made with 40 wood and three iron bars. Plop them anywhere in the water to passively catch fish. An important thing to know, however, is that they need to be baited to get you anything of value. Crab pots also have their own fish pool you will catch only Lobster, Clams, Crayfish, Crabs, Cockles, Mussels, Shrimp, Snails, Periwinkles, and Oysters. Just like regular Stardew Valley fishing, however, there is a chance you will find driftwood and other trash items instead.

Once you reach fishing level five, you have to make the first important decision: choosing your profession. The choices are Fisher and Trapper. The former makes fish worth 25% more, while the later reduces the resources required for crafting crab pots. While the Trapper professional might be tempting for the lazy angler, we’d always recommend going with Fisher. The value it provides is just too good to pass up.

The Iridium Rod is essential for optimal fishing!

From there, reaching level six should be easy. Once you do, you will finally have access to the best fishing rod in Stardew Valley the Iridium rod. It will cost you an arm and a leg at 7500g, but it can use both bait and tackle. As you continue leveling up, you will unlock plenty of tackle recipes too. They all can be useful in different circumstances. Here is a full list of Stardew Valley fishing tackles and what they do:

Image: Tackle name: Unlocked at: Effects:
Spinner Spinner Level 6 Slightly increases bite-rate.
Trap Bobber Trap Bobber Level 6 Causes fish to escape slower when not reeling.
Cork Bobber Cork Bobber Level 7 Increases the size of your fishing bar, making it easier to catch unruly fish.
Treasure Hunter Treasure Hunter Level 7 Prevents fish from escaping while you're reeling in treasures. Slightly increases chance to find treasure.
Barbed Hook Barbed Hook Level 8 Makes the fishing bar stick to your catch.
Dressed Spinner Dressed Spinner Level 8 Increases fish bite-rate.

If you want to upgrade your bait too, you will have to befriend Linus. Once your friendship gets to four hearts, he will gift you one of the most useful fishing recipes in the game Wild Bait. This unique recipe is crafted from ten Fiber, five Slime and five Bug Meat. It gives you a chance to catch two fish at once!

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Finally, at level ten, depending on what profession you picked at level five, you will once again be able to choose what you want to specialize in. If you picked Fisher as recommended, you could now choose to become an Angler whose fish are worth 50% more or a Pirate whose chance to find treasure is doubled. If you went with Trapper, you could become a Mariner whose Crab Pots no longer produce trash or a Luremaster who never needs to use bait.

How seasons and weather affect fishing

There are sixty fish in Stardew Valley in total. This includes the crab pot fish, legendary fish, and the fish you can catch on the submarine ride during the Night Market event. Stardew Valley is not Pokémon so you don’t need to catch them all unless you are a completionist. If you are one, however, there are some things you need to know.

Many Stardew Valley fish are seasonal. Some fish only will appear during one season of the year, while others will be available year-round. The time of day and weather conditions matter too. Discovery is part of the fun, so we haven’t listed how and when to catch every single fish. But to help you, we’ve compiled a list on when and where to catch the most “pretentious” fish, which only appear under very specific conditions.

Image: Name: Season: Time: Weather: Location:
Pufferfish Pufferfish Summer 12pm to 4pm Sunny Ocean
Rainbow Trout Rainbow Trout Summer 6am to 7pm Sunny River, Mountain Lake
Dorado Dorado Summer 6am to 7pm Any River (forest only)
Octopus Octopus Summer 6am to 1pm Any Ocean
Salmon Salmon Fall 6am to 7pm Any River
Squid Squid Winter 6pm to 2am Any Ocean
Lingcod Lingcod Winter Any Any River, Mountain Lake
Perch Perch Winter Any Any River, Mountain Lake, Forest Pond

Stardew Valley Legendary fish locations

If you’ve already scoured the seas, lakes and rivers of Pelican Town and discovered almost all they have to offer, you might be looking for a bigger challenge. Stardew Valley’s Legendary fish are exactly that. Rare to find and prohibitively hard to catch, they will push your angling abilities to their limits. Legendary fish can only be caught once per save file, but they are the jewel in any fisherman’s crown.

Stardew Valley legendary fish

So, how do you find and catch them? As you might have guessed, the higher your fishing level the better your chances are to find them. Some legendary fish will not even appear until you reach a certain fishing skill level. We therefore recommend getting to level ten before going on the legendary hunt. An iridium rod with bait and tackle is also a must, with the Cork bobber tackle giving you the highest chance of success. Adding a food fishing bonus on top of the max level fishing skill is possible too. Get your hands on some Seafoam pudding for the best results.

Even so, we should mention that catching the unruliest of these legendary fish is sometimes up to luck keep trying until you reel them in! Finally, you need to know where and when to find the Legendary fish. Here are their exact locations.

Note: All of the screenshots are taken in winter but legendary fish are available in different seasons. Read the description above the images first.

Mutant Carp

This monstrous fish can be found in the sewers throughout all seasons and at any time of day or night.

Mutant carp location


This depth dweller can be found in the river north of Joja Mart in the fall.

Angler location


This fiery-red fish will visit the warm waters nears the Eastern Pier in the summer.

Crimsonfish location


Unsurprisingly, the Glacierfish can be discovered in winter at the south end of the Cindersnap Forest waters.

Glacierfish location


The most difficult of them all the Legend among legends, only appears during rainy Springs days and nights in the mountain lake.

Legend location

This is it for our Stardew Valley fishing guide! Did we help you on your way to becoming a master angler? Let us know in the comments. Be sure to also check out our other Stardew Valley guides below.