This article is about how to fish. For the list of fish, see Fish.
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Four players fishing

Fishing is an activity in all games. Fishing is not only recreational but it is often an essential skill for earning money. Fish themselves are very diverse in price, ranging from 100 Bells to 15,000 Bells. Not all 'fish' are actually fish, though, but rather mere aquatic species: frogs, crawfish, octopi, lobster. For example, fish can be found in all bodies of water, the pond, the river pool, the river, the waterfall, the Ocean and the fish can only be caught using any available Fishing Rod.

Catching eel chief dotty

A player and Dotty fishing.

Catching Fish

Fishing is simple but can be tricky. To catch a fish the bobber must land in front of it. Commoner fish more readily approach the bobber, but some rarer fish will not take it unless it is directly in front of them. The fish, once engaging the bobber, will make two kinds of moves. The first move is nibbling, where the fish will gently tap the line. The second is the strike which is when the fish directly attacks the line and creates a splash around the bobber. This second move is the cue to press A and reel it in. Rarer fish require much more precise timing than more common fish. 
Ac fish

A player fishing in Animal Crossing.

If A is pressed before the fish strikes it will flee. Similarly, running or using a tool near the fish will scare it away.

A regular method of catching rarer fish is to not look at the screen and listen. When the strike is made the A button can be pressed as usual, but it is often easier to catch fish with this method.

If a fish nibbles on the player's bobble four times but does not strike, it is guaranteed to strike on the fifth time, acting as an alert for players to prepare to catch a fish if it nibbles four times but does not strike.


Fish come in many distinct sizes. There are 6 sizes of shadow, starting from Tiny and gradually increasing in size to Huge. Fish always have a certain size shadow.


If the player pulls the line in too early or too late, they will miss the fish.

Other Information

Fish that aren't fish

  • The frog, which is an amphibian.
  • The tadpole, which is the larval form of the frog, an amphibian.
  • The crawfish, which is a crustacean.
  • The lobster, which is also a crustacean.
  • The octopus, which is a mollusc/mollusk.
  • The squid, which is also a mollusc/mollusk.
  • The Sea Butterfly, which is another mollusc/mollusk.
  • The Soft-shelled Turtle, which is a reptile.
  • The whale, a mammal, which only appears in Animal Crossing via a glitch. It can not be caught, but during Kapp'n's ferry ride to the island, it is possible to see this beast's silhouette. Although, the whale could be caught with an Action Replay device, it would crash the game.
  • Litter, such as empty cans, tires, and boots, can be caught.

Times and dates

Most fish appear all day or all year, and there are some, like the sea bass that appear all day and all year. Some fish, however, only appear at certain times of the day, or at certain times of the year, like the gar. All fish either appear all day, between 4am and 9pm, between 4pm - 9am or 9am - 4pm.

The Coelacanth

The coelacanth is a particularly noteworthy fish as, not only selling for 15,000 Bells, it only appears during snow or rain. Even then, it is still horribly rare, and it is this fish that most people catch last.

Other Aquatic Creatures/Items

Diving Beetle and Pondskater


The shadow of a submerged diving beetle compared to a fish shadow.

These are not fish, they are bugs. However, the diving beetle will dive under the surface of the water sometimes, creating a shadow similar to one of a small fish. The pondskater darts around on the surface of freshwater. It can sometimes be mistaken for a fleeing small fish. The diving beetle only appears in Animal Forest e+ , City Folk, and New Leaf.


Main article: Trash

There are three items of trash: the Empty Can, Boot, and Old Tire can all be caught in the river. They serve no purpose, whatsoever. They can not be sold to Tom Nook for a price, but he will take them from you to get rid of. You'll never know if it is a real fish or junk, as both share the same shilouettes.

  • Trash might exist to increase awareness of water pollution..
  • The Old Tire might be from Gracie's car, as the player mentions. Gracie is known to illegally park her car in town.
  • No one knows if the boot is from a previous town resident, who is never seen. Same with the can.


Main article: Key

In City Folk, villagers may lose the Key to their house. When fished out, it can be returned for a reward. If it is not found fast enough, the key will stop appearing, and they will get in by themselves. The key can only be found in the river.

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Freshwater fish
AngelfishArapaimaArowanaBarbel steedBassBitterlingBlack bassBluegillBrook troutCarpCatfishCharCherry salmonCrawfishCrucian carpDaceDoradoEelFreshwater gobyFrogGarGiant catfishGiant snakeheadGoldfishGuppyHerabunaKillifishKing salmonKoiLarge bassLoachNeon tetraNibble fishPale chubPikePiranhaPond smeltPopeyed goldfishRainbow troutSaddled bichirSalmonSmall bassSoft-shelled turtleStringfishSweetfishTadpoleYellow perch
Saltwater fish
Barred knifejawBlowfishBlue marlinButterfly fishClownfishCoelacanthDabFootball fishGiant trevallyHammerhead sharkHorse mackerelJellyfishLobsterMitten crabMoray eelNapoleonfishOarfishOcean sunfishOctopusOlive flounderPuffer fishRayRed snapperRibbon eelSaw sharkSea bassSea butterflySeahorseSharkSquidSurgeonfishTunaWhale sharkZebra turkeyfish
FishFishingFishing RodRiverRiver PoolPondWaterfallOceanTropical SeasFishing TourneyChipTrashKeyMuseum