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Fishing is a secondary profession that allows players to catch fish, which can be used with the cooking secondary skill. They can also catch fish that cannot be eaten but are instead useful for other professions. They can even catch equipment and funny items.

Fishing requires a lot of patience and time to build the skill level up to the maximum level. Fishing is the only trade skill that players can't do while exploring and killing monsters. Fishing is great for people who just want to relax and chat while playing.


Players need to find a fishing trainer. Fishing trainers are usually located next to a lake or stream. Once fishing is learned, players need to find a fishing pole. Fishing poles can be purchased from merchants who sell items required for professions ("trade merchants").

How to use Fishing

Find a body of water. Low level areas tend to be easy to fish from, so it's recommended that you start fishing somewhere in a low level area, since skillups seem far more likely if you actually manage to catch something. Equip the fishing pole in your main weapon hand. It will require both hands empty to wield. Open your Spellbook (default key: press "P") and you will find Fishing listed. Drag the fishing icon to a slot on your action bar and use this newly created button to cast your line.

A fishing bobber will appear somewhere in the water in front of you, and you'll notice a timer. Move your cursor over the bobber and it will turn into the standard interaction cursor. Wait for the bobber to splash, then click it as soon as possible. Depending on your fishing skill, you will either catch something (which will appear in a standard loot box) or the fish/item will get away. You then have to cast again if you wish to continue fishing. It's possible the fishing timer may expire before the bobber splashes, in which case you'll also have to cast again if you wish to continue.

If you continually see "Your fish has got away!" messages, it indicates your level of fishing is not optimum for the location. The best solution for this problem is to buy a better lure, or switch to an easier zone. This message does not mean you didn't click the bobber fast enough.

The higher your fishing skill, the higher the chance that you'll manage to hook a fish/item, rather than it getting away. Higher fishing skill does not improve the quality or type of items you receive, however. In some areas you may find that you can't even cast your line due to insufficient skill.

What type of items you can possibly fish up depends on the zone you are in, but different areas within a region will not yield different items or different probabilities that a certain item will be reeled in. There are a few exception to this; for example bodies of fresh water (lakes or streams) will yield different fish from sea water. Schools of fish also spawn in specific types and in specific areas.


None but a basic fishing pole, which costs less than a silver and is readily available. There are five improved fishing poles in the game you can use to boost your skill, but you don't really need these except for the hardest fishing areas. The Blump Family Fishing Pole is an Alliance-only quest reward in Auberdine and gives +3 fishing; a Strong Fishing Pole is available in limited quantities from vendors of either faction and gives +5 fishing; a Big Iron Fishing Pole can be found in the lobster traps Shadowprey Village and yields +20 fishing; Horde players can complete a quest in Revantusk Village to kill a level 50 elite turtle and get Nat Pagle's Extreme Angler FC-5000, a +25 fishing pole with considerable DPS. Last, but not least, any player can win the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza and claim the Arcanite Fishing Pole as a reward, which grants +35 fishing. You can win the contest with as little as 225 skill and some lures, but you cannot equip the Arcanite Fishing Pole until you have 300 base fishing skill.

Suggested Classes

Fishing is considered a great way for a hunter to obtain food to feed to their fish-eating pets to maintain/increase their happiness level. Cooking which raises the minimum level requirement to eat the food increases its effectiveness in this role. Large quantities of fish can be obtained quickly and cheaply by a dedicated fisherman.

Fishing is also necessary to find certain components required for alchemy.

Fishing, coupled with some decent cooking recipes, is a good, cheap way to get your cooking levels up as well.

Fishing may occasionally produce lockboxes that can be used to improve a rogue's lockpicking skill.

Starting a Fisherman


Fish in a low level area (6-10) until your skill is up to around 40 or 50. This should take you 10 or 20 minutes. Be sure to use a Shiny Bauble to buff your skill. Cook the Raw Brilliant Smallfish and Raw Slitherskin Mackerel you catch to start your cooking skill. You can find the recipes at most fishing suppliers. Then proceed to Darkshore and speak with Gubber Blump, on the beach just below the flight master, and Wizbang Cranktoggle who is upstairs at the inn. They will both give you fishing quests so you can gain some experience while fishing. Gubber Blump will also give you a decent fishing pole.


Unfortunately there are no low level horde fishing quests. However, Horde fishing areas seem to allow catching non-fish items more often than Alliance areas (see what you can catch in the Undercity's canals of green goo sometime). Tauren are lucky - the barbell-shaped lake near Bloodhoof Village has a fishing trainer and supplier, and is packed with Raw Brilliant Smallfish and Raw Longjaw Mud Snapper, and the small pond at Thunder Bluff has plenty of Raw Longjaw Mud Snapper for starting fishermen. Orcs and trolls should try their luck on the east coast of Durotar, where they'll catch saltwater fish like Raw Slitherskin Mackerel and Raw Rainbow Albacore. If you prefer freshwater fish, the pond in the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar has some Raw Brilliant Smallfish and Raw Longjaw Mud Snapper. In the low teens, your character may be able to survive fishing in the Barrens and catch Deviate Fish -- have a skilled chef prepare this fish for you before you eat it, or risk the consequences! You can also level fishing by traveling up and down the coast south of Ratchet and fishing for Firefin Snapper and Oily Blackmouth. A good rule of thumb is to look at the monsters in a zone, multiply their level by five, and assume that you'll need to have that much fishing skill to really have any success there. For the Barrens, then, with monsters in the low teens, you'll want your fishing to be at least 50 before heading out there; in Winterspring, where everything is 55+, you'll need 275 or better (and you'd better bring lures)!

Boosting Your Fishing Skill

Unlike the other professions, you can boost your Fishing skill considerably with various items, although some are only temporary.

Boost Item How
Fishing Poles (only one can be equipped at a time)
+3 Blump Family Fishing Pole Quest (Alliance Only)
+5 Strong Fishing Pole Vendor (Limited Quantities)
+20 Big Iron Fishing Pole Drop
+25 Nat Pagle's Extreme Angler FC-5000 Quest (Horde Only)
+35 Arcanite Fishing Pole Quest (Fishing Extravaganza Reward)
Boost Item How Duration
Lures (only one can be used at a time)
+25 Shiny Bauble Vendor, Quest 10 min
+50 Nightcrawlers Vendor, Drop 10 min
+50 Aquadynamic Fish Lens} Quest 10 min
+75 Bright Baubles Vendor 10 min
+75 Flesh Eating Worm Drop 10 min
+100 Aquadynamic Fish Attractor Vendor (Limited), Engineer-Made 5 min
Boost Item How
Other (Equip as many as you like - Fishing line is a permanent enchant to your pole)
+2 Enchant Gloves - Fishing Drop (recipe)
+5 Lucky Fishing Hat Quest (Rare Fish)
+5 Nat Pagle's Extreme Anglin' Boots Quest (Rare Fish)
+5 High Test Eternium Fishing Line Quest (Rare Fish)
+152 Total Possible Fishing Skill Boost

Expert Fishing

To increase your fishing skill above 150, you'll need to buy a book: Expert Fishing - The Bass and You

You can buy this book from Old Man Heming in Booty Bay for 1g, or you might find it at the Auction House, marked up significantly.

Artisan Fishing

To increase your fishing skill above 225, you'll need to be level 35 and have 225 fishing skill and visit Lumak, the Horde fishing trainer in Orgrimmar, or Grimnur Stonebrand, the Alliance fishing trainer in Ironforge. Both will direct you to Nat Pagle in Dustwallow Marsh (Sitting on an island in Dustwallow Marsh) who will give you a quest to get your fishing to a 300 ceiling. You may also travel directly to Nat Pagle for the artisan fishing quest without first visiting Grimnur Stonebrand or Lumak.

Items Obtained by Fishing

Normal Fish

Normal fish are the most frequently caught. They are a free source of food and skillups for cooking, although they they do not provide buffs like some other cooked foods. If you're able to heal yourself or have a reliable supply of bandages, you probably won't need to bother keeping the normal fish you catch. However, it is frequently good to go ahead and cook it, whether for skill or not, and then you can generally sell it for a higher price even at the vendor.

Alchemic Fish

Some fish are used in Alchemy to create potions and oils.

  • Oily Blackmouth - Blackmouth Oil
  • Deviate Fish - Elixir of Giant Growth
  • Firefin Snapper - Fire Oil
  • Stonescale Eel - Stonescale Oil

Buff Fish

  • Deviate Fish (cooked into Savory Deviate Delight, causes random transformations)
  • Winter Squid (cooked into Grilled Squid, +10 Agility for 10 minutes.)
  • Raw Summer Bass (cooked into Hot Smoked Bass, +10 Spirit for 10 minutes.)
  • Raw Nightfin Snapper (cooked into Nightfin Soup, 8 MP/5sec. for 10 minutes.)
  • Raw Sunscale Salmon (cooked into Poached Sunscale Salmon, +6 health every 5 secs for 10 minutes.)
  • Large Raw Mightfish (cooked into Mightfish Steak, +10 Stamina for 10 minutes.)
  • Raw Glossy Mightfish (cooked into Cooked Glossy Mightfish, +10 Stamina for 10 minutes.)
  • Raw Sagefish (cooked into Smoked Sagefish, 3 MP/5sec. for 15 minutes.)
  • Raw Greater Sagefish (cooked into Sagefish Delight, 6 MP/5sec. for 15 minutes.)

Container Fish

Several fish you can catch contain other items, so don't forget to open them when you catch them:

  • Bloated Smallfish (level 5)
  • Bloated Mud Snapper (level 15)
  • Bloated Oily Blackmouth (level 15)
  • Bloated Catfish (level 25)
  • Bloated Rockscale Cod (level 35)
  • Bloated Trout (level 35)
  • Bloated Mightfish (level 45)
  • Bloated Redgill (level 45)
  • Bloated Salmon (level 55)

These fish contain gems or, rarely, a valuable ring or necklace.

Venture Company Crates

These infrequently-found non-locked crates are labeled "Venture Company Supplies" and always contain a small quantity of engineering supplies such as Rough Blasting Powder, Iron Strut, etc.

  • Dented Crate (level 15)
  • Waterlogged Crate (level 25)
  • Sealed Crate (level 35)
  • Heavy Crate (level 45)


These infrequently-found non-locked trunks may contain bolts of cloth, leather, and uncommon quality gear.

  • Tightly Sealed Trunk (level 15)
  • Watertight Trunk (level 25)
  • Iron Bound Trunk (level 35)
  • Mithril Bound Trunk (level 45)

Locked Chests

These infrequently-found chests are locked and can be opened by a rogue or blacksmith.

  • Small Locked Chest (level 20)
  • Sturdy Locked Chest (level 30)
  • Ironbound Locked Chest (level 45)
  • Reinforced Locked Chest (level 55)

These chests have rather disappointing contents compared to the Trunks routinely fished from Floating Wreckage. They generally only contain bolts of cloth, leather, and (very rarely) uncommon quality gear.


Various clams can be fished and should be opened for clam meats and occasional pearls.

Message in a Bottle

Messages in a Bottle are infrequently found from ocean fishing in zones of level 20-40. Contents may include:

  • Scrolls (Scroll of Protection, Scroll of Spirit, etc.)
  • Recipes (Plans, Schematics, etc.)
  • Damp Diary pages

Quest Fish

  • Darkshore Grouper - Needed for AllianceThe Family and the Fishing Pole quest in Auberdine that gives Blump Family Fishing Pole (see above).
  • Spotted Sunfish - Needed for the AllianceSelling Fish quest in Redridge Mountains that gives the Murloc Fin Soup Cooking recipe. Note that this fish may also be found as loot when killing the murlocs that live nearby.
  • Feralas Ahi, Misty Reed Mahi Mahi, Sar'theris Striker, and Savage Coast Blue Sailfin - Needed for the quest Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme
  • Plated Armorfish, Lightning Eel, Stonescale Eel - Each are turn-in items for Argent Dawn Craftsman's Writ quests, with 30 of either tradeable for an Insignia of the Dawn}} or Insignia of the Crusade}}.

Special Items

The following items are only available from fishing, but are very rare. Some can fetch high prices at auction due to their uniqueness.

  • Rockhide Strongfish, a one-handed mace.
  • Steelscale Crushfish, a one-handed mace.
  • The 1 Ring

Trophy Fish

Certain rare fish can be caught which can be wielded in the off hand. These fish serve no purpose other than as trophies to be displayed proudly to other players. These fish include the following:

  • 10 Pound Mud Snapper
  • 12 Pound Mud Snapper
  • 17 Pound Catfish
  • 19 Pound Catfish
  • 40 Pound Grouper
  • 34 Pound Redgill
  • 42 Pound Redgill

Schools of Fish

Starting in Patch 1.9, schools of fish or floating debris appear at set locations along coastlines and rivers. Similar to the schools of fish particular to the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza, players will be able to catch specific fish and valuable items if their cast lands in the school. After several fish are caught, the school will disappear. Schools seem to respawn in a similar way to mineral nodes or herbs.

Types of schools include:

  • Deviate Fish (in the oases in The Barrens or in the waters inside Wailing Caverns)
  • Oily Blackmouth (Darkshore, Menethil Harbor, Baradin Bay, Merchant Coast, Azshara Shore and off the little islands in the Bay of Storms)
  • Firefin Snapper (Southshore, Baradin Bay, Azshara Shore and off the little islands in the Bay of Storms)
  • Sagefish (Ashenvale near town, Hillsbrad Foothills all along the river)
  • Greater Sagefish in the rivers and lakes of Stranglethorn.
  • Stonescale Eel - (Feralas, Tanaris, Azshara and southern Stranglethorn)
  • Oil Slick (mostly contains Firefin Snapper and Oil Covered Fish)
  • Floating Wreckage (all non-fish items, mainly chests of goods)
  • Elemental Water (rarely found in Azshara area - gives you Elemental Water, Globe of Water, and Essence of Water)

Schools of fish also contain the following semi-valuable items with high frequency. These same items are also found in Floating Wreckage:

  • Rumsey Rum Black Label
  • Rumsey Rum Dark
  • Rumsey Rum Light
  • Stranglekelp
  • Bloated fish (not found in Floating Wreckage)

Fishing Locations

  • The Barrens
    • All Oases and Wailing Caverns Instance - Deviate Fish
    • Ratchet - Oily Blackmouth, Floating Wreckage
    • Merchant Coast - Oily Blackmouth
  • Stonetalon Mountains
    • Sun Rock Retreat - Raw Bristle Whisker Catfish (66%), Raw Longjaw Mud Snapper (33%)
    • Windshear Crag and Blackwolf River - Oil Slicks (Firefin Snapper), Floating Wreckage
    • Mirkfallon Lake - Sagefish, Floating Wreckage
  • Stranglethorn Vale
    • Rivers and lakes - Schools of Greater Sagefish
  • Tanaris
  • Azshara
    • The Bay of Storms - High level fishing for Stonescale Eel, Darkclaw Lobster and more.
  • Feralas
    • Verdantis River, Feralas - Redgill (50%), Nightfin Snapper (20%), Mithril Head Trout (14%), Oily Blackmouth (10%), Sunscale Salmon (6%) - caught (using 300+130 skill) on an early morning. During the day, Nightfin Snapper and Sunscale Salmon swap positions.
  • Feathermoon Stronghold
    • Similar rates to Revantusk Village, the second highest drop rate for Stonescale Eel after the bay of storms, and then the safest spot for Alliance.
  • The Hinterlands
    • around the docks in Revantusk Village, Raw Glossy Mightfish, Raw Summer Bass, and the safest spot for Horde to acquire Stonescale Eel. Inland lakes contain Raw Nightfin Snapper as well.

Approximate Fishing Levels

Each zone has an associated level of fishing that defines the approximate difficulty of catching a fish. Fishing is different from other skills in that the likelihood of raising your fishing skill is not dependent on the difficulty of area in which you fish. You have a chance of raising your skill every time you successfully catch a fish; this chance is related only to your current fishing skill (the higher your skill, the less often you will get skill increases).

The higher your fishing skill is in relation to the level that a zone requires, the easier it will be to catch fish (you have fewer fish get away). If your skill is too far below the zone's requirement, you will not be able to cast at all.

Zones usually have a fishing level of 5 times the average level of monsters in them, but some zones vary considerably from this rule of thumb.

Approximate fishing levels required to reliably catch fish are:

Zone Level Fishing Level
1-10 to 50
11-20 to 100
21-30 to 150
31-40 to 200
41-50 to 250
51-60 to 300

Effects of Time on Fishing

There are 4 separate intervals of fishing times. These intervals are 6am-12pm, 12pm-6pm, 6pm-12am, and 12am-6am. During this time the drop rates of certain fish varies, for example, Sunscale Salmon and Nightfin Snapper. According to experimentation, the cycle appears to be the following:

  • 6am-12pm - Nightfin and Sunscale
  • 12pm-6pm - Sunscale only
  • 6pm-12am - Nightfin and Sunscale
  • 12am-6am - Nightfin only

Nightfin Snapper has the highest drop rate from 12am-6am, but is never found between 12pm-6pm. On the other hand, Sunscale Salmon is never found between 12am-6am, but drops quite well from 12pm-6pm.

Fish that are apparently nocturnal or diurnal:

Nocturnal (Night) Diurnal (Day)
Nightfin Snapper Sunscale Salmon
Plated Armorfish
Stonescale Eel

It is known that Winter Squid and Summer Bass appear during their respective seasons. During Autumn and Spring, they can both apparently be caught, although the frequency of each might scale throughout the season.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • You can hold shift and right-click the fishing bobber to loot everything automatically, just like a corpse.
  • You can drag the skill from your spellbook onto your hotbar.
  • Having a macro to equip your weapons can be handy if you get attacked while fishing.

Primary AlchemyBlacksmithingEnchantingEngineeringHerbalismLeatherworkingMiningSkinningTailoring
Secondary CookingFirst AidFishing
Related PoisonsTrainers