How to Fish
Catching all the fish available in AC:NL may seem like a lot of work, but with this guide hopefully things will become a little clearer for you.
First, you will need a fishing rod. You can buy one at Nooklings Stores for 500 bells. They may not have one in stock, so remember to check them everyday. Alternatively, you can talk to Isabelle during your first day moving in for advice. If you tell her you are interested in fishing, she will ask you to catch 3 fish. Talk to her again without a rod, and she will sell you one for the standard 500 bells.
The key to fishing is getting the float in front of the fish. The fish will not go for the line if it cannot see the float. Getting this right may take time, but once you can cast the float correctly in the fish's line of sight, you will be catching plenty. Another thing that takes a couple of tries to get right is reeling the fish in. Generally, the fish will swim towards the float and nibble at it up to 4 times, though sometimes it will pull it under straight away. You have to pay attention so that you don’t miss your opportunity to reel it in. To catch a fish, you have to press as soon as the fish pulls the float under the water and makes a distinctive *plop* sound.
Now that you know how to fish, what exactly can you do with them?
- Donate them to the Museum: The museum is empty until you start donating things. Blathers is more than happy to take a newly caught fish from you, as long as you haven’t already donated that specific breed. Once you’ve donated the fish, you can check the Fish section of the museum and see all the fish you have donated.
- Sell them: You can sell any fish you have at Re-Tail or Nookling Junction, preferably at Re-Tail as they pay more for your items. The price differs depending on species and whether you have the Wealthy Town Ordinance enacted. Some fish sell for 200 bells, while other fish (like the Shark) can sell for 15,000 bells! This is handy to help pay off that mortgage!
- Give them to a resident: Every so often residents in your town will want certain items. Usually these items are clothes, furniture, bugs or fish. If you are able to provide the villager with the fish (or item) they requested you will usually receive a reward. This can be money or another item.
- Display them in your house: There are certain fish that you will be proud of catching. Sharks make interesting talking points when you have friends in your town. It is also handy to store larger fish in your house while you wait for the fishing contest.
The fish available to catch depend on several different factors such as time of day, month, and even weather conditions. If you are trying to get a particular fish first be sure you are fishing in the right area.
There are five different fishing locations.
- Pond - Your village always has at least 2 small ponds that are not connected to any other body of water. The fish in these ponds generally won't be worth a lot.
- River - There will always be a river running through your village, splitting it into at least two sections. You can catch fish in any portion of the river. Some fish can only be found in your river pond, which is an unusually wide section of the river.
- Ocean - The ocean is the huge body of water that surrounds your village.
- Island - You can catch a selection of ocean fish on the island once you gain access to it. Some rarer fish are more common on the island, while some fish, like the Whale Shark, can't be found anywhere else.
- Waterfall - There are usually two waterfalls in your village. One is located where the river starts flowing into your village, while the other is located at the river mouth. Only a few fish can be exclusively caught here, most notably the different salmon species.
There are also a number of times that certain fish will be available to catch. Here they are split up into 4 different sections:
- Morning: 4:00am-9:00am
- Noon: 9:00am-4:00pm
- Evening: 4:00pm-8:00pm
- Night: 8:00pm-4:00am
Fish aren't the only items that you can get when fishing. Every so often you will catch tin cans, old tires or old boots. These items look like fish when they are in the water, so there is no way of telling when you will get these. Don't leave these 'rubbish' items lying in your town, Re-Tail or the Nooklings' Store will dispose of them for a small fee. If you don't want to pay, you can buy a trash can from Nooklings Stores or build one as a Public Works Project to dispose of them for free.
List of Fish
Here is the list of all available fish, when and where you can catch them, and how much you can sell them for, based on the in-game encyclopedia order. There are a number of fish that you can catch all year round; however, most fish are only available for a couple of months out of the year. This means you’ll have to fish for the whole year in order to catch them all.
Please note that if you have the Wealthy Town Ordinance enacted in your town, these prices will increase by 20%.
|Name||Image||Price (Bells)||Location||Months available||Times available|
|Pale Chub||200||River||All year||Noon|
|Crucian Carp||120||River||All year||All day|
|Dace||200||River||All year||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Barbel Steed||200||River||All year||All day|
|Carp||300||River||All year||All day|
|Koi||4,000||River||All year||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Goldfish||1,300||River||All year||All day|
|Pop-Eyed Goldfish||1,300||River||All year||Noon|
|Tadpole||File:ACNL tadpole.png||100||Pond||March-July||All day|
|Freshwater Goby||300||River||All year||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Loach||File:ACNL loach.png||300||River||March-May||All day|
|Catfish||800||Pond||May-October||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Eel||2,000||River||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Yellow Perch||File:ACNL yellowperch.png||240||River||October-March||All day|
|Black Bass||300||River||All year||All day|
|Pike||1,800||River||Sept-December||Morning, Noon, Evening|
|Pond Smelt||File:ACNL pondsmelt.png||300||River||December-February||All day|
|Sweetfish||900||River||July-September||Morning, Noon, Evening|
|Cherry Salmon||1,000||River||March-June, September-November||Morning, Evening|
|Char||File:ACNL char.png||3,800||Waterfall||March-June, September-November||Morning, Evening|
|Rainbow Trout||800||River||March-June, September-November||All day|
|Stringfish||File:ACNL stringfish.png||15,000||River||December-February||Morning, Evening, Night|
|King Salmon||File:ACNL kingsalmon.png||1,800||River||September||All day|
|Mitten Crab||File:ACNL mittencrab.png||300||River||September-November||Evening, Night|
|Nibble Fish||1,500||River||May-November||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Angelfish||3,000||River||May-October||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Neon Tetra||500||River||April-November||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Arowana||10,000||River||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Dorado||15,000||River||June-September||Morning, Noon, Evening|
|Gar||File:ACNL gar.png||6,000||Pond||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Arapaima||10,000||River||July-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Saddled Bichir||File:ACNL saddledbichir.png||4,000||River||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Sea Butterfly||File:ACNL seabutterfly.png||1,000||Ocean||All day|
|Butterfly Fish||1,000||Ocean||July-September||All day|
|Napoleonfish||10,000||Ocean||June-August||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Zebra Turkeyfish||400||Ocean||April-November||All day|
|Puffer Fish||240||Ocean||July-September||All day|
|Horse Mackerel||150||Ocean||All year||All day|
|Barred Knifejaw||5,000||Ocean||March-November||All day|
|Sea Bass||200||Ocean||All year||All day|
|Red Snapper||3,000||Ocean||All year||All day|
|Olive Flounder||300||Ocean||All year||All day|
|Moray Eel||2,000||Ocean||June-October||All day|
|Ribbon Eel||600||Ocean||All year||All day|
|Football Fish||2,500||Ocean||November-March||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Tuna||File:ACNL tuna.png||7,000||Ocean||December-March||All day|
|Blue Marlin||10,000||Ocean||July-September||All day|
|Giant Trevally||4,500||Ocean (Island only)||All year||All day|
|Ray||3,000||Ocean (Island only)||June-November||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Ocean Sunfish||4,000||Ocean||June-September||Morning, Noon, Evening|
|Hammerhead Shark||8,000||Ocean||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Shark||15,000||Ocean||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Saw Shark||12,000||Ocean||June-September||Morning, Evening, Night|
|Whale Shark||13,000||Ocean (Island only)||All year||All day|
|Oarfish||File:ACNL oarfish.png||9,000||Ocean||December-May||All day|
|Coelacanth||15,000||Ocean during rain or snow||All year||Morning, Evening, Night|