7 fishing tips for Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Dexerto
Animal Crossing

7 fishing tips for Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Published: 29/May/2020 15:36

by David Purcell


Animal Crossing players can make some serious cash – or should we say, bells – catching fish in New Horizons, and it’s not all down to luck. There are things that you can do in-game to increase your chances of making a big catch, so let’s jump right into it. 

Players will notice that there are a whole load of new bugs and fish to catch, per a new update, and of course, it’s the latter that we’ll be focusing on here. The Golden Trout, Oarfish, and Loach were confirmed to be rotated out at the end of May, with fresh additions coming in to replace them in the waters.


We’ve put together a concise list of top tips that will see you jump from beginner to expert when it comes to casting, courting, and catching in the Nintendo Switch title.

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How to catch more fish in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Pick the right time to go fishing

Depending on the season, different fish are available to catch.

Before we talk about some of the specific things that can give you the edge, it would be preposterous to not let you in on something not every player will know – certain fish spawn at different times.

Monitoring the times that they spawn is crucial, really, for you to be able to target a specific species. That, and checking the weather conditions in which they usually appear. You can do all you want in terms of advantageous methods, if the fish isn’t swimming around in the water waiting to be caught, you’re never going to catch it.


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The four seasons in-game include different months, as seen below. For a full list of fish spawn times and how to catch them, check out our guide here.

  • Spring: Northern (March, April, May) Southern (September, October, November)
  • Summer: Northern (June, July, August) Southern (December, January, February)
  • Autumn: Northern (September, October, November) Southern (March, April, May)
  • Winter:  Northern (December, January, February) Southern (June, July, August)

Take the best fishing tools with you!

Before you start things off, let’s make sure you have got the right equipment for the task ahead.

The list of things you need to hand, excluding bait which we’ll come onto, is the following:

  • Vaulting Pole: Use this to cross water, when needed.
  • Fishing Rod: Catching the fish wouldn’t be possible without it.
  • Shovel: Got to dig up them clams.
  • Slingshot: If you find presents while fishing, use this to knock down the balloon and claim the prize!

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How to get fish bait in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

You’re going to need fish bait to keep you going in Animal Crossing. So, let’s talk about how to get it.

The first one to check off on your list of things before fishing is to get enough bait to last you the session. One of the easiest ways to do this is, if you’re on the beach, digging up clams.


These clams aren’t actually visible at first glance, but as you run or walk around on the sand, small dark speckles will appear to show you where they’re found. Simply walk over to them once they’ve been found, take your shovel out, and dig it up. These manila clams are free to find, so no problem there. Do this a few times and you’ll be good to go!

After you’ve found a few of the clams, you can also take them to a workbench and create fish bait with them – which is worth 200 bells.

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Know your shadows

Sometimes you will see different sized shadows in the water, which is a hint about what type of fish are nearby. Some even show their fin!

The list we’ve linked you to previously will give you everything you need to know about each fish in-game, and how to recognize them when they appear.

One of the telltale signs, when spotted in the water, is the size of the shadow that can be seen on the surface. These sizes vary from tiny, small, medium, large, largest, and huge.

Below, you can see how each of them looks – and the differences. This is useful because if you’re trying to catch a Great White Shark, for example, worth 15,000 bells, then it’s pointless trying to cast your line out near a tiny shadow in the water, because the Great White’s is of the biggest shadows you can find.


Don’t disturb the swim, and spend time at the beach

When approaching a new swim, particularly if you can see shadows appearing already on the surface, the last thing you want to do is make too much noise and scare them off.

The best thing to do is to walk around next to the water, and not run. The running can disturb them and soon enough you will notice they have left the area, so that’s something to keep in mind.

If you spend enough time at the beach, moving from one swim to another checking for shadows, soon enough some will appear – even with fins out of the water. Once you spot one, gently approach, and cast your line into the water using the rod.

Be accurate with your casts

You want the fish to be able to see your bait, when you’re casting.

Once you have got your eye on a fish shadow you would like to pursue, try to cast out your line – using the rod – so the float lands right in front of its eye line. This way, the fish will be quickly alerted about the presence of bait.

If you’re lucky enough to get some interaction near the lure, don’t panic. Often the fish will feel the bait before taking it, nudging it, and so on. You will know when it’s finally taken the bait, though, as the float will fully go into the water and a small sound can be heard.

Reeling the fish in

Follow this final step and you’ll be catching fish – like Coelacanths – in no time.

This is the most important step, but probably the simplest to get the hang of. You will have done so many things to get to this point, so you don’t want to lose it!

Once it’s taken the bait, press A quickly on your Nintendo Switch controller to strike. If the strike came in at the right time, you will hook it, and the fish will start circling around. At this stage, you’ve already got the job done so don’t worry about hammering the button down like no tomorrow, as it’s definitely going to be pulled out of the water.

Seconds later, it will show you what was hooked! Hopefully, now that you know the spawn times and locations of each species, it will be the one that you want.

And that brings us to the end of our fishing guide for Animal Crossing: New Horizons! For more guides material, news, updates, and leaks – stick with us, and you can also send us some snaps of your catches on Twitter @Dexerto if you like. Good luck!