Fishing is a large part of the Animal Crossing series, appearing in all the games except for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Fish can be donated to the museum, along with bugs, sea creatures, fossils and artwork. They 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: the frog, crawfish, octopus and lobster, for example. Fish can be found in all bodies of water, including ponds, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and the sea. They can be caught using any type of fishing rod, and if the player catches a fish and a villager sees them, the villager will clap.
In Animal Crossing, if a player leaves behind a fishing rod on Animal Island, the islander may use the fishing rod when it is given to them, though only on the Game Boy Advance. If used, they may catch either a Red Snapper or an Octopus, the latter of which could not be caught in the main game until Doubutsu no Mori e+.
The player must not run when going after the fish, place an item near the body of water. Nor grab the item or disturb the water by dropping a snowball, releasing a fish, tossing beans, causing a tool to break, or swinging a net into the water. This will scare it away, and the player will not see it again. When they see the fish, they must cast the line out using the (A) button. In Animal Crossing: Wild World, it is also possible to fish by using the touch screen, tapping the player or tapping the water. The player should position themselves so that the float comes near the fish when it comes to a stop (change distance from shore, angle of casting, position). The fish, if it sees the bait, will attempt to nibble. Sometimes, however, fish nibble the bait and swim past it (they do not disappear). so the player must recast the bait. If the fish follows and continues to nibble the bait, then the player must wait for the fish to bite the bait to submerge it, making a distinct "plop" noise. Once the bait is submerged, the player must press (A), shake the Wii Remote, or tap the screen as soon as possible. The fish can nibble up to five times, so if the fish has nibbled four times, the next nibble will be a guaranteed bite. If the player draws the line too early or too late, the fish swims away. Common fish such as the Sea Bass do not require quick reflexes to catch them. However, rare or expensive fish such as the Blue Marlin require faster timing, so the player must keep their concentration when catching fish. Once the fish is caught the player will hold up the fish to show off and say something about it, then put the fish in their pockets.
In Animal Crossing, City Folk, and New Horizons, the controller vibrates each time a fish touches the rod, with a stronger vibration occurring when the fish bites. In New Horizons, the strength of the vibration is also based on the size of the fish.
To catch fish, the player will first need a rod. There are four main types of fishing rod: the Flimsy Fishing Rod, the normal Fishing Rod, the Silver Rod and the Golden Rod.
- Flimsy Fishing Rod: This rod is only available in New Horizons, and it can be crafted or bought from Nook's Cranny. Its durability is lower than the regular Fishing Rod.
- Fishing Rod: This is a common tool that can be brought for 500 Bells, or in the case of New Horizons, crafted using a Flimsy Fishing Rod and a Iron Nugget.
- Silver Rod: This rod makes catching fish easier and can also be bought at Tom Nook's store. Although it is rarer, the silver rod can be bought for 500 Bells, the same as the fishing rod. However, the silver rod is not very rare in Animal Crossing: New Leaf; the silver rod is available for purchase in the Museum Shop for 600 Bells after the player has donated 50 fish. It is not available in New Horizons.
- Golden Rod: This rod makes catching fish even easier than with the silver rod, and can only be obtained by catching all fish. In the case of New Horizons however, the Golden Rod provides the most durability out of the other rods in the game, and needs to be crafted using a Fishing Rod and one Gold Nugget, with its DIY recipe obtained from catching all fish. For each game in the series, it will take a minimum of eight months (February to September) to catch all the fish without time traveling.
In addition to these four, Animal Crossing: New Horizons adds three stylized fishing rods: the Colorful Fishing Rod, the Fish Fishing Rod, and the Outdoorsy Fishing Rod. These are functionally identical to the regular fishing rod, with the only difference being their design. These rods are available from the upgraded Nook's Cranny.
Fish Bait is an craftable item in Animal Crossing: New Horizons that will spawn a random fish when thrown into a body of water. Fish Bait can be crafted using one Manila Clam, and it stacks up to 10 in the player's inventory. Additionally, it sells for 200 Bells, double the selling price of a Manila Clam.
Times and dates
Some fish, like the Sea Bass, can be caught all day and all year. Some fish, however, appear only at certain times of the day or at certain times of the year, like the Gar. Most fish either appear all day, between 4 AM and 9 PM, between 9 AM and 4 PM, or between 4 PM and 9 AM.
Fish can be found in all bodies of water throughout the player's town. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the player can use the Island Designer Construction Permit to create rivers, waterfalls, and ponds on their island.
The Sea is the largest body of water in the town and is the only saltwater area. This is where most of the very expensive fish are found, including the shark family.
- For a list of all sea fish, see List of saltwater fish.
The River is the second largest area of water in town. It runs from north to south, going through one waterfall (ACWW) or two waterfalls (AC, ACCF, NL).
- For a list of all freshwater fish, see List of freshwater fish.
A waterfall is the area where water cascades over a cliff. There is one waterfall in all Animal Crossing: Wild World towns, and two waterfalls in Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing: City Folk, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
A pond is a small pool of water. The average town has two or three scattered around.
Shadow / Size
- See also: List of fish by shadow size
There are three items of trash: the Boot, the Empty Can, and the Old Tire. The Empty Can and Boot can be caught in rivers, while the Old Tire can be caught in either rivers or the sea. Prior to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, they cannot be sold to, but they can be disposed of at Tom Nook's store for free. In New Leaf, trash can be disposed of at Re-Tail for a fee of 80 Bells or thrown away for free if the Trash Can public works project is built. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo, the player can also dispose of them without this project if they have a trash can in their home. In New Horizons, trash can now be sold, and it is used in certain DIY recipes.
In Animal Crossing: 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.
- In WarioWare: Smooth Moves, one of 9-Volt and 18-Volt's microgames involves the player controlling a fishing Wild World character. The player must pull the Wii Remote up in order to catch a fish from the river. All fish from Wild World are potential catches in this microgame. This microgame reappears in WarioWare Gold.