How to go fishing in Stardew Valley

It’s fishin’ time

There’s tons of content in Stardew Valley to keep you busy, but one of the most fun — and financially rewarding — is fishing. There’s a huge variety of different fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods to catch in the game, as well as some other exciting surprises along the way. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the first step is mastering the basics before you venture out into open waters, and on that front, we’ve got you covered.

Getting your fishing pole

There are different levels of fishing poles in Stardew Valley, the first of which is the Bamboo Pole. The morning of the second day on a fresh save, you’ll wake up to a letter from the town fisherman Willy inviting you to come and meet him down at the dock. Upon taking him up on his offer, Willy will give you the Bamboo Pole, which will allow you to catch fish. Hooray!

Once you get your fishing skill to level 3, you can get the next best rod from Willy: the Fiberglass Rod, which you’ll be able to purchase for 1,800 gold. The Fiberglass Rod unlocks the ability to put bait on your line — more on that later. The final fishing rod you’ll have access to is the Iridium Rod, which will run you a steep 7,500 gold and will unlock after you reach fishing level 6. The Iridium Rod allows you to add bait as well as various fishing tackle, but again, we’ll cover that below.

How to fish

Okay, so you’ve finally got your fishing rod, but how do you actually use it? With your fishing rod equipped, walk up to a body of water. The three main fishing locations in Pelican Town include the ocean, the river, and the lake. While standing in front of the water of your choice with your fishing rod equipped, hold down the button to use your equipped tool. This will bring up a meter that allows you to gauge how far you want to cast your line. To cast, simply release the button at the right time, and you should be all set.

When you get a bite on the line, you’ll hear a sound cue and see a little exclamation point animation pop up. Hit that same button again to start the fishing mini-game. A bar will appear that has a smaller green bar inside of it, and a meter to the right. The goal here is to fill the meter on the right by hovering the green bar over the fish icon as it moves upside down. When you press (or hold) the button, the bar goes up, and when you release it, the bar goes down. The key to a successful catch, nine times out of ten, will require you to tap the button to keep the bar hovering.

The key here for beginners is patience and practice, because the Stardew Valley fishing mini-game is notoriously difficult, especially at the start of the game. It seems counter-intuitive, but the more fish you catch, the more you’ll level up your fishing skill, which will cause your green bar to grow bigger and actually make things easier. If all else fails, Willy sells a practice fishing rod at his shop on the beach, which will allow you to get a better feel for it before moving on and up.

How to put bait on a fishing rod in Stardew Valley

Once you’re in the big leagues with the more advanced fishing rods, there are also some other elements that will come into play. The first of these is bait, which allows you to catch fish more frequently by causing them to bite faster. Bait can be acquired a few different ways in Stardew — you can either buy it from Willy, craft it from bug meat that you’ll get from killing monsters in the mines, or find it in treasure chests that you can get as a bonus while fishing.

Putting the bait on your rod is pretty simple. All you’ll need to do is pick up the stack of bait in your inventory, and then hover over the fishing rod. Then simply click the “use” button (right click or the face button in the western position on a controller) to add the bait to your rod. You can take bait off of your rod by hovering over your fishing rod in your inventory and engaging the “use” button again.

The Iridium Rod allows you to add tackle as well, including items like bobbers, spinners, and weights that give you different advantages and allow you to catch some of the game’s more difficult fish. Any tackle can be added to your Iridium Rod using the same technique you used to add bait.

Noelle Warner
Features Editor