Fishing is a new feature in Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, alongside several other new additions that have been added to celebrate the game's 10th birthday.
However, unlike the fishing mini-games you've grown accustomed to in games such as Stardew Valley, this fishing is a little different from just having a rod and plunging it into any body of water you find and hoping something will bite.
This page explains how to unlock fishing in Skyrim, how to get a fishing rod and a Skyrim fish list.
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How to unlock fishing in Skyrim
First, make sure you are playing the Anniversary Edition of the game, which was released on PC and consoles in November 2021.
After playing the introductory quest in Helgen, you'll be free to start your journey into the land of Skyrim. It's at this point that Fishing (as well as Survival Mode) is unlocked, though the latter is revealed to the player via a pop-up menu.
Fishing, on the other hand, is not so obvious - you'll have to find more about the feature yourself. You can only fish in certain fishing spots in Skyrim, and thankfully, from start of the game you aren't too far from your first fishing point. This is where you can find your first rod...
How to get a fishing rod in Skyrim
There are multiple ways to get a fishing rod in Skyrim, with the easiest being finding one via fishing locations. The first fishing location you can find isn't far from the introductory area outside of Helgen, where you end up with either Ralof or Hadvar.
It's right next to the Standing Stone, just North from where you first start.
Another way is to simply go to your nearest trader in whichever city you find yourself in at the time. For us, keen to get started on fishing straight away, we found a rod over at Riverwood's trader, Lucan. It isn't at all pricy, with a value of 31 gold.
Of course, if you'd rather show off your craftsmanship, you can also just make a fishing rod for yourself. Head to your nearest forge and you can craft the rod by using 1 iron ingot and firewood - both items being easy to buy or be found throughout your adventures). All you'll have to do then is find a fishing location and start fishing.
How to cast your line and catch fish in Skyrim
Unlike in games like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, fishing in Skyrim is focused on multiple fixed locations (meaning you can't fish just willy-nilly) so you'll have to go to specific locations where fish reside before you can become the best angler in Tamriel.
Once you find a fishing location, you need to equip a rod as though you would equip a sword or a bow. Thankfully you don't need bait, as the locations you find scattered across Skyrim will provide the bait for you.
All you need to do is go up to the bait and press the correct input and you'll start fishing.
All fish are unique in the way they may move and bite on the line. For example, a bass fish tugging on the line might kick up waves, whereas a river petty will just tug gently. Once the time is right - often indicated by the vibration of your controller / mouse and the tug of your line - you need to press the correct input (on PlayStation this would be the X button) and the fish will automatically be pulled in.
The fish is then added to the food inventory, where you'll be able to cook the fish into a delicious meal - particularly helpful if you're planning on using Survival Mode in your playthrough.
Skyrim fish list
There are multiple fish that you can find in Skyrim, with locations spread out across Tamriel.
Here's the full list of what fish you can expect to lure in during your time fishing in Skyrim:
- Angler Larvae
- Arctic Char
- Arctic Grayling
- Abaceon Longfin
- Brook Bass
- Glass Catfish
- Juvenile Mudcrab
- Lyretail Anthias
- Pygmy Sunfish
- Silverside Perch
- Scorpion Fish
- Tripod Spiderfish
- Vampire Fish
Skyrim fishing spot locations and maps
Skyrim: Anniversary Edition may have come with a new fishing mechanic, but it won't be much help to players if they don't know where they can find these new fishing spots and locations.
You'll know you've come across a fishing location when you spot a bucket of fish bait. It's also helpful to find rivers and lakes and follow them, as they'll often lead you to new areas for you to explore and find fish.
The only downside is that you'll be taking the long route to discover where the fishing spots are.
So why wait? Each location in Skyrim has its own unique fishing map that can be obtained via a number of vendors - including travelling caravans - around the continent.
Head to a General Store of a city and talk to the owner and it's highly likely they'll be selling a map with the continent's fishing spots marked on.
Whiterun fishing spots
Whiterun has 3 fishing spots, with a general map of the fishing area being sold in Riverwood.
The Rift fishing spots
The Rift has 5 fishing spots, with a general map of the fishing area being sold inside the city of Riften, as well as by vendors travelling through The Rift.
Winterhold fishing spots
Winterhold has two fishing spots, with a general map of the fishing area being sold inside the city of Winterhold, as well as by vendors travelling through the continent.
Haafingar fishing spots
The Haafingar area has four fishing spots, with a general map of the fishing area being sold inside the city of Solitude, as well as by vendors travelling through the area.
Falkreath fishing spots
The Falkreath area has five fishing spots and, unlike most of the other locations that you can find around Skyrim, these locations are mostly tight-knit and sit side by side with one another.
To find a map of the Falkreath fishing spots, you can buy a map from a vendor in the Falkreath area, as well as from Lucan in Riverwood.
The Reach fishing spots
The Reach area only has four fishing spots, and much like Falkreath and Haafingar, these locations are more tightly marked together rather than spread out across the continent.
In order to find a map of all of the fishing locations for The Reach, you can purchase a map from Markarth's local vendor, or any travelling vendors throughout The Reach.
How to display fish in your home in Skyrim
What better way to show off your hard won catches than by displaying them in your beautiful home? Thanks to the Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, you can do just that.
The way for you to display fish in your home is by first making sure that the home you're in will allow for you to build a cellar extension, solely because aquariums and such are unable to be put anywhere but inside the cellar.
The cellar extension is available in Hearthfire homes and a few others, such as the house in Solitude.
Once the cellar is added to your home, you must use the crafting table to create displays and aquarium cabinets. Then, once that is done, you can approach the displays/aquarium cabinets and add fish to them.
Final note - you are, unfortunately, unable to put two different type of fish inside your home's aquarium cabinets.
What else do you need to know about fishing in Skyrim?
Here's some other tips and tricks which can be useful as you fish in Skyrim:
- When the water calms and there's no bite around your line, it signals that there's no fish for you to catch and you'll have to wait 24 hours until you can fish there again.
- You are unable to be attacked while fishing, though you will still be able to hear monsters / NPCs talk and growl if they are nearby...
- The book Line and Lure gives helpful tips on how to fish in Tamriel, such as when to pull the fish in, what sort of fish you can find out there, and the benefits of fishing in cooking.
- Learning how to fish is useful for survival mode, which also debuts in the Anniversary Edition, where it's a great way to get food quickly and easily.
- You're unable to mark down where fishing locations are, so we suggest installing the camp creation item from Skyrim's Content Creation Club and using that to mark down fishing spots. You'll be using a lot of leather straps and iron ingots, but it's definitely worth it so you don't lose track of these locations.
- The Riften Fishery - and all the fishing quests it offers, essential for levelling up and giving you gold - is a long way away at the start of the game. To get there faster, head to Whiterun and hire a carriage for 50 gold.
- Annoyingly enough, there's a high chance that you'll reel in miscellaneous items, such as weapons, armours and useless tools, rather than fish. This is more than a little frustrating, but can be helpful if you want to sell old tat ASAP.