Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How to Catch Rare Fish

Want to catch tuna, sturgeon, and sharks?

by Kyle Hanson

Once you’ve made it a few hours into Animal Crossing: New Horizons you should know how to fish. The mechanics are interesting, but ultimately pretty simple. But once you get the hang of it and start reeling in the big fish, you’ll start to wonder how the spawns work. Some fish are much rarer than others and there are actual tricks to catch them. Let’s explore some tips and tricks for how to catch rare fish in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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How to Catch Rare Fish

Let’s start by explaining some of the mechanics surrounding fish rarity in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Fish are split into various spawn pools, of sorts. There’s fish that spawn in the river, ocean, or ponds. And even among these they can be split into further subsets, such as fish that spawn in the high rivers above the cliffs, and those that spawn in the river mouth. On the ocean side, some fish only spawn near the pier, while others appear when it rains. And all of these can change based on the time of day, with with some appearing all day, others showing up from 9am to 4pm, and the rest only spawning from 4pm to 9am. Weather is a factor too, with rain or snow bringing out rare fish quite often, check out this guide for more info.

Most of the rare fish are found in the ocean, but rarity can be relative. If you do all your fishing in the ocean then you need to mix it up. Ponds offer fish like koi and goldfish that can’t be found elsewhere. And the river offers rare fish like the arowana, though only from December to March. So, of course, you need to be fishing all the time. Spread out your fishing hours, so you’re getting fish from all across the schedule. And you’ll need to fish throughout the year to make sure you don’t miss any that are seasonal. Variety is the key, but also dedication.

But let’s break down the best method for catching rare fish. First you need to decide where you want to fish. Then get some fish bait. Now you can set up in that spot, with the pier usually offering nice rare fish in the form of blue marlin and tuna, which only spawn there. Sturgeon appear in the river mouth, where the river runs into the sea, so use bait here to try to get one. And the river up in the cliffs offers rarities like the stringfish and golden trout, so bring some bait up there and get to work. Sticking to one location, using lots of bait, and catching fish all in a row really helps get the rare ones.

While fishing in the ocean is the best place for high price and rare fish in general, you need to mix it up or you’ll keep catching the same sea bass and horse mackeral over and over again. Learning the shadow silouettes of the fish you prefer is another key. Bigger is typically better in the ocean and river mouth, but the river and pond can vary wildly. However, if you see a fin sticking out above the water, that is a shark and you will definitely want to catch it if at all possible. Youll need to be quick to react though, so be prepared when you cast.

Finally, all of this applies double for mysterious islands you visit with a Nook Miles ticket. They also increase rare fish spawns, so try to apply these tips there to maximize your results. Hopefully these tips help guide your fishing and show you how to catch rare fish in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Let us know if you’re looking for tips on any species in particular and we’ll try to help out.

- This article was updated on March 23rd, 2020