Catching Success: A Beginner’s Guide to Stardew Valley Fishing for Money

Hello, friends! Fishing is a highly profitable activity in Stardew Valley, as well as an essential collection task. From the very first spring, it’s possible to earn over 8,000 gold per day. Between Spring 2 and Spring 4, there isn’t much else to do, so fishing is a must. As the game progresses, you’ll need to level up your fishing skill and collect a variety of fish. In this article, we’ll discuss fishing techniques and equipment to help you become a fishing expert in Stardew Valley.

A character in Stardew Valley fishing on a lake with trees in the background
Fishing in Stardew Valley

Getting Started with Fishing:

On Spring 1, Willy is not at home, so you can’t meet him or start fishing. On Spring 2, check your mailbox for a letter from Willy inviting you to the beach. After reading the letter and arriving at the beach, you’ll trigger a cutscene and receive a Bamboo Pole, which allows you to start fishing.

A character in Stardew Valley receiving a Bamboo Pole from Willy
Receiving the Bamboo Pole

Different Fishing Rods:

There are four types of fishing rods in the game:

  • Bamboo Pole
  • Training Rod
  • Fiberglass Rod
  • Iridium Rod

The Training Rod can be purchased at Willy’s Fish Shop and sets the green fishing bar to the size it would be at fishing level 5. However, it can only catch fish with a difficulty of 50 or less, and the caught fish have no quality. In my opinion, this rod is not very useful, as fishing experience points are tied to fish quality and difficulty.

Understanding the Fishing Mini-game:

The fishing mini-game may seem difficult at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. The goal is to keep the fish within the green bar. When the fish is inside the bar, the catch meter fills up, and when the fish is outside the bar, the meter decreases. If the meter is empty, the fish escapes; if it’s full, you successfully catch the fish.

Screenshot of the fishing mini-game in Stardew Valley
Fishing Mini-game

Many beginners struggle with controlling the green bar because they try to hold down the mouse button, causing the bar to shoot up and fall back down. The key to mastering this mini-game is to use a rhythmic clicking pattern to keep the green bar steady.

When a fish leaves the green bar’s range, don’t panic or chase it too quickly. Instead, adjust your clicking frequency: increase it slightly when the fish moves up and decrease it when the fish moves down. Even if the fish leaves the green bar area, don’t worry about catching up immediately. Lower difficulty fish won’t jump around too much, and as long as you can fill the catch meter when the fish stops moving, you’ll be able to reel it in.

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Mastering Perfect Catches:

Once you’ve become proficient at catching difficult fish, you can start aiming for perfect catches. Each fish has a fixed behavior pattern, and with enough practice, you’ll be able to identify the fish by its movements and anticipate its actions. Perfect catches increase the quality and experience points of the fish, which is essential for leveling up and increasing income.

Fishing Level Progression:

High-difficulty fish are faster and harder to catch, but you don’t need to force yourself to catch them early in the game. As your fishing level increases, using upgraded fishing gear will become much easier, and these fish won’t be as challenging to catch as they were initially.

Fishing at level 0 or 1 can be challenging because the green bar is short, but once you reach level 2, things will become much more manageable. As you continue to level up, fishing will become increasingly easier, allowing you to fully enjoy this profitable and essential aspect of Stardew Valley.

Fishing Strategy for Beginners:

Mountain Lake: Ideal Location for New Players

The best place for beginners to start fishing is the Mountain Lake, which is located at the top of the map, to the right of Robin’s house. To get there, simply head right from the top of your farm. You can fish at the fence location or the first spot to the right on the bridge. It is recommended to fish on the bridge, as it is more convenient to place a chest there for storage. Since your inventory space is limited at the beginning, having a chest nearby is helpful for storing items.

A screenshot of a character fishing at the Mountain Lake in Stardew Valley
Mountain Lake Fishing Spot

If you fish all day on Spring 2, you can reach Fishing Level 2 or more, making fishing much easier. Even though some players may reach Fishing Level 4 or 5 on Spring 2, it usually requires long-lasting bubbles, many treasure chests, or other auxiliary factors. These occurrences are rare, so there’s no need to chase them.

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After fishing on Spring 2, you can sell your fish at night, and on Spring 3, you can go to Willy’s shop to buy the Fiberglass Rod. The shop refreshes items once you reach a certain level, so there’s no need to wait for the level-up screen or Willy’s letter. To check your skill level, you can view it in the skill level interface, so once you reach Fishing Level 2, you can buy the Fiberglass Rod.

Leveling Up and Purchasing Better Fishing Rods

An alternative method is to fish at the beach until you reach Level 2 on Spring 2 and then buy the Fiberglass Rod, but this method is less stable, as you will need to accumulate funds on Spring 1 to afford the rod and enough bait. You can try this method if you’re interested, but I personally don’t recommend it. Upgrading to the Fiberglass Rod on Spring 3 is more stable and doesn’t take much longer.

The Fiberglass Rod is essential because it allows you to attach bait, which significantly reduces fishing time and increases profits and experience gains by up to 70%. On Spring 3, it always rains, and fishing for Catfish in the river can yield the highest profits. However, it requires a certain level of fishing skill, so it’s not recommended for beginners. If you’re interested, you can try it, but if you fail, you can always reload your save and return to the Mountain Lake, which offers decent leveling and profits.

By not fishing for Catfish and sticking to the Mountain Lake, you can reach Fishing Level 5 or more on Spring 3. It’s possible to reach the maximum fishing level within seven days, but there’s no need for beginners to rush. Even if it takes eight or nine days to reach the maximum level, it won’t significantly impact your overall progress.

Once you reach Fishing Level 6, Willy’s shop starts selling the Iridium Rod. It’s not recommended to buy this early in the game, as the only added benefit is the ability to attach tackle, which helps with catching more difficult fish but doesn’t significantly increase early-game profits. The rod itself costs 7,500 gold, so it’s a significant investment.

Fishing Skill Selection and Increasing Profits

As for skills, at Level 5, choose Fisher to increase the value of fish by 25%. At Level 10, choose Angler to increase the value of fish by 50%. These two skills don’t stack, so the total bonus is 50%, but it still provides the most significant early-game profits. You can sell your extra fish the day after your skill upgrades to maximize profits, as the money-making skills don’t take effect until the next day.

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Screenshot of the fishing skill selection screen in Stardew Valley
Fishing Skill Selection

Fish Collection Bundle

Lastly, let’s talk about the fish collection bundle. This can be completed by the fall season. The crab pot bundle can be acquired by picking up items on the beach. Then, simply set up a crab pot in your home’s pond to complete the collection.

As for specialty fish, they can be found in fixed locations. The ghostfish is on the 20th level of the mine, the sandfish is in the desert, and the woodskip is in the Secret Woods. These three can be caught at any time.

Screenshot of the locations where specialty fish can be found in Stardew Valley
Specialty Fish Locations

Recommended Collection Routes for Each Season

For the other fish, I recommend following a collection route with minimal memorization.

During Spring, focus on fishing in the Mountain Lake and keep one of each Largemouth Bass, Carp, Bullhead, and Chub.
In Summer, you can collect Sturgeon from the Mountain Lake and Tuna, Pufferfish from the ocean. If your first training fish isn’t a Sunfish, you can try catching it in the river.
In Fall, choose a rainy day and start by fishing for Salmon and Catfish in the river, followed by Tiger Trout and Walleye. After that, head to the ocean to catch Sardines, Red Snappers, Tilapia, and Eels. In the evening, return to the river to catch Bream.

Screenshot of the seasonal fish collection in Stardew Valley
Seasonal Fish Collection

You can generally complete the fish collection for offerings in just one day during Summer and Fall. For a complete fish collection later in the game, you can refer to the wiki to check for any missing fish. I won’t recommend a specific route for this, as it can vary depending on your progress and preferences.


In conclusion, following these fishing tips and strategies will help beginners develop their fishing skills and progress steadily in the game. Remember to be patient and enjoy the experience, as there’s no need to rush to reach

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