Skip to main content

When and where to find Animal Crossing’s rarest fish

The rare fish in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be the bane of your completionist career. Whether trying to fill out your museum or critterpedia, or to just make stacks of bells from C.J., there’s bound to be a finned friend or two that’ll stop you in your tracks.

New Horizons is already the most successful entry in the entire franchise. It’s also the most extensive release by far, adding intricacies on top of familiar challenges.
how to plant money tree animal crossing new horizons glowing spot

Animal Crossing doesn’t throw every fish at you at once. They often show up during certain months or even at specific times of the day. Knowing when and where each rare fish spawns can save you a lot of time and frustration. To help, here’s a list of the rarest fish in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, when and where they spawn, and how many bells you can expect to get for them from the Nook twins.

Related Videos

Animal Crossing hemispheres explained

When beginning your Animal Crossing: New Horizons adventure, you’re asked whether you want an island on the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. The idea is to choose the one to match where you live, but you’re free to choose whichever you like.

Your choice of hemisphere dictates seasonal changes, ultimately affecting the months in which fish and bugs spawn on your island, so it’s important to know which area your island is in.

Here’s a quick reference sheet of which months comprise the four seasons on both sides of the world.

  • 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

Animal Crossing rare fish times and locations

Animal Crossing rare fish guide

Northern Hemisphere

  • Golden Trout: River (Cliffside), March-June/Sept.-Nov., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Oarfish: Sea, Dec.-May, all day (9,000)
  • Stringfish: River (Clifftop), Dec.-March, 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. (15,000)
  • Coelacanth: Ocean, all year, rain (15,000)
  • Barreleye: Ocean, all year, 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. (15,000)
  • Blue Marlin: Pier, July-Sept./Nov.-April, all day, (10,000)
  • Snapping Turtle: River, April-Oct., 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. (5,000)
  • Tuna: Pier, Nov.-April, all day (7,000)
  • Mahi-Mahi: Pier, May-Oct., all day (6,000)
  • Giant Snakehead: Pond, June-Aug., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (5,500)
  • Giant Trevally: Pier, May-Oct., all day (4,500)
  • Ranchu Goldfish: Pond, all year, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (4,500)
  • Ocean Sunfish: Ocean, July-Sept., 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. (4,000)
  • Saw Shark: Ocean, June-Sept., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. (12,000)
  • Great White Shark: Ocean, June-Sept., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. (15,000)
  • Whale Shark: Ocean, June-Sept., all day, (13,000)
  • Hammerhead Shark: Ocean, June-Sept., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. (8,000)
  • Blowfish: Ocean, Nov.-Feb., 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. (5,000)
  • Napoleonfish: Ocean, July-Aug., 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. (10,000)
  • Koi: Pond, All year, all day (4,000)

Southern Hemisphere

  • Golden Trout: River (Cliffside), March-May/Sept.-Dec., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Oarfish: Sea, June-Nov., all day, largest shadow (9,000)
  • Stringfish: River (Clifftop), June-Sept., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m., largest shadow (15,000)
  • Coelacanth: Ocean, all year, rain, largest shadow (15,000)
  • Barreleye: Ocean, all year, 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., small shadow (15,000)
  • Blue Marlin: Pier, Jan.-March/May-Nov., all day, largest shadow (10,000)
  • Snapping Turtle: River, Oct.-April, 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., extra-large shadow (5,000)
  • Tuna: Pier, May-Oct., all day, largest shadow (7,000)
  • Mahi-Mahi: Pier, Nov.-April, all day, large shadow (6,000)
  • Giant Snakehead: Pond, Dec.-Feb., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., extra-large shadow (5,500)
  • Giant Trevally: Pier, April-Nov., all day, very large shadow (4,500)
  • Ranchu Goldfish: Pond, all year, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (4,500)
  • Ocean Sunfish: Ocean, Jan.-March, 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., fin shadow (4,000)
  • Saw Shark: Ocean, Dec.-March, 4 p.m. to 9 a.m., fin shadow (12,000)
  • Great White Shark: Ocean, Dec.-March, 4 p.m. to 9 a.m., fin shadow (15,000)
  • Whale Shark: Ocean, Dec.-March, all day, fin shadow (13,000)
  • Hammerhead Shark: Ocean, June-Sept., 4 p.m. to 9 a.m., fin shadow (8,000)
  • Blowfish: Ocean, May-Aug., 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., medium shadow (5,000)
  • Napoleonfish: Ocean, Jan.-Feb., 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., largest shadow (10,000)
  • Koi: Pond, All year, all day, large shadow (4,000)

Crafting and using bait to catch fish

Animal Crossing manila clam bait

If you were intrigued enough by those little spouts of water coming from your beach to dig them up, you likely pulled up a manila clam and learned how to make bait. Bait, crafted with a single manila clam, is used to spawn fish in nearby waters.

Stand near a body of water and sprinkle the bait from your inventory into the pond, river, or sea. A shadow should spawn almost immediately.

There are no secret spawn rates triggered by this particular item. Not that we can reliably claim with current data, anyway. It’s just a way to speed up random fish spawns.

What it can be used for, however, is to hopefully reduce the amount of time needed to catch something like the stringfish, koi, or golden trout due to their limited spawn points. Toss bait into cliffside pools, and you’ll dramatically speed up the fishing process, hopefully allowing you to reel in a rare fish in less time.

What’s the dock or pier for?

Animal Crossing rare fish dock pier

You also pick from a handful of island layouts when you first begin the game. These are randomly generated so no two look the same right off the bat. However, there are a few features every island has, even if the exact location varies. The important one for fishing is the pier. The pier can attract unique, hard-to-find ocean fish — namely the tuna, blue marlin, mahi-mahi, and giant trevally.

Editors' Recommendations

Is Elden Ring cross-platform?
Characters fighting on horseback in Elden Ring.

The various Souls and Souls-adjacent games that FromSoftware has developed ever since Demon's Souls have all introduced or iterated on new features that few if any other games ever attempted. We're talking about more than just difficulty, too. Things like how the games handle death, leveling up, currency, and story were all fresh takes in the industry when most gamers first saw how they were done. Perhaps the most ambitious -- and at times clunky -- innovation came in how the games handled multiplayer as a component. With Elden Ring being the latest in its catalog, many wonder how FromSoftware will change these systems, if it does at all.

Elden Ring is a Souls game at heart, only now viewed through the lens of an open-world experience. Fans of the studio's previous works will immediately recognize various multiplayer aspects, such as messages written by players, ghosts, and bloodstains showing the last moments of someone else's life. Summoning help, invading, or being invaded, however, is the real meat of what people expect from a multiplayer standing, and these all are back in Elden Ring. But with the game coming to every major platform, including past generation systems, will you be able to play with friends on different systems? Here's all the info you need on whether or not Elden Ring is cross-platform.

Read more
Pokémon Legends Arceus: Where to find all Legendary and Mythic Pokémon
how to catch arceus in pokemon legends pok  mon battle

Slowly but surely, the Pokémon series has undergone its own evolution over the course of the past two decades. There are some things that may never change, most importantly the mechanic of finding and catching a colorful, creative, and unique roster of monsters in their fictional worlds. Leading up to Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the mainline games have been reluctant to, or incapable of, showing Pokémon out in the world before you encounter them. This makes the world feel far more natural, but also exciting when you finally find the location of the ultra-powerful and rare Legendary and Mythic Pokémon.

These Pokémon didn't earn those monikers for being pushovers. Fighting one, let alone trying to capture one, is no easy feat. Before you can even think about testing your team against one of these monumental challenges, you of course need to know where they dwell. These aren't the kinds of Pokémon you will find randomly roaming the fields like a normal monster. These make up a good portion of the end game content, so you won't be able to access them easily. If you want to try your luck at taming these rare and powerful Pokémon, here's where to find all the Legendary and Mythic Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Read more
Fortnite Klombo guide: Where to find them and how they work
Klombo in Fortnite.

As always, Fortnite continues to evolve, with new mechanics, points of interest, and creatures added periodically. The most recent addition includes the Klombo, an odd dinosaur-looking creature that roams the island. These creatures are tied to specific questlines and have some hidden attributes you'll want to be aware of. But where can you find them and what is their purpose? Here's what you need to know about Klombos in Fortnite.

Recommended reading

Read more