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How to fish in Skyrim

Now that players could’ve potentially been playing Skyrim for a decade by this point, there may not feel like there’s anything left to do in this huge, open-world RPG. That may be true — however, with the release of the Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, Bethesda has packed in a host of new content, quests, and mechanics to draw you back into their winter wonderland for a few more hours. Among the technical upgrades, this version includes some of the most polished and popular content the community created in the Creation Club. One new feature that isn’t as flashy as the others is the ability to sit back, relax, and spend some leisure time fishing.

For whatever reason, fishing is one of the most common side activities in gaming, so it was only a matter of time before it came to Skyrim. In prior versions of the game, the only way you could collect fish was by jumping in a river or lake and grabbing one with your bare hands. Thankfully, those days are over, and you can now catch fish like a sophisticated Dragonborn by casting your line and reeling in some new fish. If you’re ready to take on a lower-stakes activity in Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, here’s everything you need to know about fishing.

Further reading

How to start fishing in Skyrim

A bucket of fish near a river.

Before you can start fishing in Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, you need the right equipment. Thankfully, rods are plentiful in certain areas. The first place you’ll come across one is in Reverwood, after the opening sequence of the game. Here, you can find a rod free for the taking near a new point called Fishing Supplies that looks like a fishing rod resting on a basket of fish. These are the spots where you are allowed to fish. Yes, sadly, you can’t fish anywhere you like, only at designated spots.

Alternatively, you can go over to the Fishery location to the west of Riften to meet an NPC named Viriya and Swims-In-Deep-Water. Both have fishing-related quests you should grab before you get too invested in fishing. Swims-In-Deep-Water will explain fishing spots as well. Equip your rod as you would a weapon, and interact with any Fishing Supplies spot to start fishing.

Once your line is cast, watch the lure. Little splashes of fish will start popping up, but wait for the cue from your controller rumble to start reeling in. There’s no need to mash or play an extensive mini-game here, making it quite an easygoing experience. Check your Quest tab to see what you’re asked with catching for Viriya.

What can you catch, and what can you do with fish?

Fishing in skyrim.

Obviously, every type of fish from the original version of the game is present and catchable in Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, but this update called for a ton of new fish to be added. Here’s a full list of all the fish you can catch:

  • Angelfish
  • Angler Fish
  • Angler Fish Larvae
  • Arctic Char
  • Arctic Grayling
  • Brook Bass
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Direfish
  • Glass Catfish
  • Glassfigh
  • Goldfish
  • Juvenile Mudcrab
  • Lyretail Anthias
  • Pearlfish
  • Pogfish
  • Pygmy Sunfish
  • Scorpion Fish
  • Spadefish
  • Tripod Spiderfish
  • Vampire Fish

So, those are all great, but aside from the few quests, why bother fishing? Well, aside from the fun of it, you can use fish for a few things. The first should be obvious: Cooking. You can use fish as an ingredient or cook them up solo for a nice health-restoring item. If you’re more scientific, though, you can use them as ingredients to brew different potions at alchemy benches. Finally, if you’re especially proud of a big catch, you can mount it on your wall like a true sportsman, or even keep it as a pet in an aquarium. You’ll need to have built a house first, which is part of the Hearthfire expansion.

If you craft your own hatchery, you can even breed fish for profit and an endless supply for cooking and crafting.

Sometimes your line will catch on something other than a fish, though. Deep in the waters are some unique items that only your fishing line can snag for you. You’ll never know when or where you’ll pull up one of these trinkets, so there’s no sense in actively hunting for them, but they’re a nice little surprise. Here’s a full list if you want to know what sunken loot you can rescue:

  • Lynea’s Amulet of Dibella: +15 to Speech, +40 to Max Stamina
  • Denstagmer’s Ring: Fire, Frost, and Shock Resistance increased by 20%
  • Fang of Haynekhtnamet: A Dagger with an enchantment to deal 25 Shock Damage
  • Lucky Fishing Hat: Changes the weather to Rainy while fishing
  • Mentor’s Ring: All Spell costs reduced by 10%
  • Ring of Khajiit: Increases movement speed by 10%, grant the Hide spell
  • Ring of Kynareth: Changes Sunny and Warm weather to Rainy while fishing
  • Ring of Phynaster: Magic, Shock, and Poison Resistance increased by 20%
  • Ring of Surroundings: Improves Sneak by 20%
  • Ring of the Wind: Increases movement speed by 15%
  • Vampiric Ring: Grant the Drain Life spell
  • Viriya’s Charm: Grants Water Breathing, +22 to Light and Heavy Armor
  • Warlock’s Ring: Blocking creates a weak Ward spell, mitigating 25 Magic damage; increases Health regeneration by 30% and movement speed by 5%

Fishing tips

Looking at a fish in an aquarium.

To wrap things up, here are some basic tips to keep in mind when you go out on your first fishing trip. Nothing about it is too complicated, but these are worth keeping in mind.

First, do know that some fish will only spawn next to certain fishing spots, so you’ll need to learn what type of fish live where if you’re looking for a specific one. Also, some fish are quite temperamental and only show up at spots when it’s raining.

If you’re going to be spending a bunch of time fishing, equip some items to help you out. The Ring of Kynareth will turn the weather to rain on the spot, as can the Storm Call dragon shout, and there are better fishing rods you can get as well.

When waiting for the telltale rumble of a fish biting your line, don’t jump the gun. There’s always a few light, false vibrations before the true bite occurs. Don’t react too quick and reel in before the fish really takes a bite.

Lastly, go explore the world again. New fishing spots will be all over the land, so there’s no better excuse to take the long way from place to place than discovering all the new fishing spots along the way.

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