How to Catch Fish Easily | Fishing Guide | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH) How to Catch Fish Easily
This is a guide to fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) for the Nintendo Switch. If you are having trouble catching fish and need some advice for becoming a fishing master, use our fishing guide and learn how to catch them all.

How to Catch Fish Easily

Choose a Location

There are three places you can catch a fish from: the river, the beach, and the pond (as well as waterfall pools). The fish that you can catch in each location differ, so you'll first need to choose a spot with the fish you want!

Fish Encyclopedia

Find a Fish

ACNH Find a Fish.jpg

After choosing the spot you want to fish at, walk around until you see the shadow of a fish in the water. The shadow size ranges from very small to very large, and some will even have fins on them. Generally speaking, bigger fish will yield a higher price, although sea bass are an exception to this rule.

Walk, Don't Run!

Be sure to walk when a fish shadow comes into your view! Running close to the water will cause the fish to flee, totally ruining your chances of catching them!

Cast Your Pole

ACNH Cast a Pole.jpg

Once you've found your fish, the real challenge begins. First equip a fishing pole by opening up the inventory and selecting it, or by simply pressing left or rifght on the D-Pad to switch over to it. Obviously, this means that you will need to already have a fishing pole in your inventory, which can built via a DIY workbench.

Once you've found your fish, face it and press A to cast your lure.

Where should you aim?


Always aim in the direction that the fish is facing. When casting, you need to aim so that your lure lands right in front of its mouth, so it has a higher chance of noticing your lure.

When fishing from a river, your lure will gradually move downstream, so you should generally cast upstream from the fish so that your lure will naturally move into the fish's field of vision.

How close should you be?

Too Far.jpg

If you are too far from the bed of water you want to fish in, you won't be able to cast your pole!

Make sure you are close enough to the edge that your pole reaches, and adjust your location as needed so that you can throw the pole right in front of the fish.

Wait for a Bite and Reel In!

Reeling In.jpg

After it notices your lure, the fish will draw near and bob towards the lure. It will bob anywhere from one to five times, and bite on one of those times, bringing the lure under the water. Pressing A immediately after it does so will allow you to reel it in. Waiting too long will cause the fish to flee.

The best timing for reeling in

The fish will take anywhere from one to five times before biting. While you cannot know for sure how many times it will take to bite, you can use this knowledge to your advantage. If you find it difficult determining if the fish has bitten, listen to the audio cue. The sound of a bite is different from the sound of a bob. If a fish bobs at your reel four times without biting, it will always bite on the fifth time. This knowledge is crucial to becoming a fishing master!

Do you need to mash A repeatedly?

A common question that comes up is whether or not you need to press A rapidly to catch a fish. Pressing the A button just one time is enough to catch any fish, no matter how big it is. As long as your timing is good, it does not matter how many times you mash A after the first time!

What To Do With Fish You Catch

Donate to the Museum

ACNH Museum.jpg
When catching any fish for the first time, you should usually donate it to the museum. This will help your museum grow any become more lively when you and friends visit it later! However, if you don't care about having a good museum, you do not necessarily have to donate it.

Sell Them for Bells


Each fish can only be donated to the museum one time. After that, you should sell them at Resident Services / Nook's Cranny to receive Bells. This is one of the easiest ways to make a ton of Bells, so hone your fishing power and your wallet (or Bell bag) will thank you!

Keep Them as Pets

The other thing that you can do with fish is keeping them as pets. When you drop a fish in or outside your house, it will automatically be displayed inside a small tank. While there is no real reason for doing this, perhaps you have a favorite type of fish, or have always wanted one of your own, so now is your chance!

How to Find Rare Fish

Each Fish Appears Under Different Conditions

There are a huge number of fish in the game, and they each appear in different seasons, times, locations, and weather. If you're looking for a certain fish, you should check each of these conditions first before hunting for it.

Once you've caught a fish, you'll be able to check the conditions under which it appears in the Critterpedia at any time.

List of Factors

  • Seasonality (opposite in Northern and Southern hemisphere)
  • Active Hours
  • Location
  • Weather
  • Size of Shadow

Fish Encyclopedia

List of Fish Locations

Sea.pngSea ACNH River.pngRiver
ACNH Estuary.pngRiver (Mouth) ACNH Pond.pngPond
ACNH Clifftop.pngClifftop ACNH Pier.pngPier
ACNH Below a Waterfall.pngBelow the Waterfall

Fish locations are not divided by an individual area of the island, but instead by the type of environment. Keep each of these in mind when searching for a certain fish.

List of Fish Shadows

Size1.pngTiny Size2.pngSmall Size3.pngMedium
Size4.pngLarge Size5.pngLong-body Size6.pngDorsal-finned

When you see a fish in the water, it will be visible by its shadow. Depending on the size of the shadow, one of a select group of fish with that shadow size will appear.

Also, for rare fish in particular, the controller vibration will be stronger than for other fish.

Some Fish are Found on Rainy Days

Fish like the Coelacanth and the Frog are only encountered when it's raining. On rainy days, be sure to make searching for these rare fish a top priority.

Consider Fish Bait

ACNH Fish Bait.jpg
Fish Bait is a one-use item which will immediately attract a single fish. Although Fish bait does not increase the odds of rare fish appearing, preparing Fish bait in advance can help you catch fish in a specific location more easily.

In particular, fish which only appear in environments like Piers and Estuaries, where fish rarely appear, can be hunted effectively by using Fish bait. Be sure to pick up a Manila clams to craft Fish bait before going after them.

How to Get Manila Clams Fast

Related Guides

List of Fish Banner.png
Fish Encyclopedia

Fish by Month (Northern and Southern Hemisphere)
January February March April
May June July August
September October November December
Fishing Related Articles
How to Catch Fish Easily | Fishing Guide
Fish Prices List


21 Anonymous4 months

>>3 I usually do

20 Anonymous5 months

>>19 No, they're (sadly) available all day, all year.

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