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The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Elder Scrolls Online

  • I could really use a vacation. I mean, I know there's this whole triple world war thing going on, and tensions seem to be pretty high all around, but I've kinda been single-handedly winning this entire war for the Ebonheart Pact over here with all my heroic acts and disturbingly frequent acts of triple arson I keep performing behind enemy lines. Come to think of it, I've burned, like, a *****load of people to death. With magic fire. Man, how many people have I burned to death with this magic fire? A hundred? A thousand? I've become some kinda magic-fire-burning-people-to-death monster... I really need to get away from all this BURNING PEOPLE TO DEATH WITH MAGIC FIRE. I mean, I can't just keep spending all my free time making new staffs for the sole purpose of burning more people to death with more magic fire. That's kind of psychotic.
  • I should go fishing.
  • - Azarath Ral'luul, Level 15 Dunmer Dragonknight

Fishing in ESO

Fishing is a compliment to the provisioning system, with the fish you catch serving as ingredients for recipes to create drink that would give you XP (Psijic Ambrosia) and recovery buffs (Orzorga's Smoked Bear Haunch).   In order to craft the recipes, you need Perfect Roe, which is an ingredient you get from skinning the common fish you have caught.  Note:  The green and blue trophy fish are not able to be skinned.

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Basic Fishing Mechanics

Fishing is simple enough to do: it requires no skill points, as it has no skill tree, and no equipment, as the rod magically appears in your hand when needed. All you need is to find some bait and a fishing hole.
A fishing hole will be a puddle of fish splashing around in the water. When you find a fishing hole and look at it, you'll be prompted to hold down E to select a bait.

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A wheel will pop-up, not unlike the quick item wheel, and whatever bait you have in your inventory will appear in one of the 9 bait slots.

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Once your bait is selected, when you mouse over the fishing hole again, you will be prompted to hit E to cast your line. And then you wait...

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Somewhere between 10 and 25 seconds later, a fish begins tugging on your line. You have a couple of seconds to hit E again to reel it in. If you don't hit E, you'll lose the fish and waste your bait. But if you do hit E in time, as long as auto-loot is turned off (turn off auto-loot before you go fishing, trust me), you'll see a loot box pop up with one of two things in it:
A) used bait (failure)
or
B) anything else that's not used bait (SUCCESS!)
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, that's just the beginning.

Bait Selection: The Secret to Fishing with 100% Success

Used bait is bait that has been already used. It has a gold value of 0, and no place in your bait wheel: it is garbage. But when you first start fishing, it seems inevitable that you'll end up with used bait. That's because you're using the wrong bait. I got lucky and found a little book on a bookshelf that changed my life, and was smart enough to take a screenshot of it. From this book, I learned that not about the different fish you can catch and what types of bait to use to catch them, but the different types of water those fish live in. That book is A Guide to Fishing Tamriel by "The Old Slaughterfish".

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The next page doesn't matter, it literally has one line on it, because Ol' Slaughterfish had a *****ty editor. Anyway, right there was the key to unlocking the 100% success rate fishing, compared to the 50% failure rate* you get when using the wrong bait: selecting the right bait for the four different water types. When you use the right type of bait for the type of water you are fishing, not only will you have a 100% success rate, you will also be able to catch the rare fish for your achievements and wet gunny sacks that contain crafting materials.

* I haven't had a really long time to study the failure rate, but with what I've done so far, it comes out to 50%, which is a nice, round number that people love, so I believe it to be true).

The Four Types of Water

There are four different water types that a fishing hole can be: foul water, rivers, lakes, and ocean. What type of water a fishing hole is should be pretty obvious based off of context clues, however, sometimes you can be fooled, especially by foul water.

Foul Water

  • Slaughterfish and Trodh:
  • These fish are found in the foulest waters possible: sewers, fetid swamps and in pools near decomposing bodies. A favorite of city dwellers who don't want to leave the safety of their walls, these fish are attracted to crawlers and fish roe.
  • - A Guide to Fishing Old Tamriel by "Old Slaughter Fish"

At times, foul water can be pretty obvious to spot, like the urine-colored waters of the Sulfur Pools in Stonefalls.

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At other times, it can be harder to tell, like this waterfall near the Armature's Upheaval in Stonefalls, which is foul probably because of all the crap coming out of that forge.

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In foul water, the preferred bait is either crawlers or fish roe, and the fish you can catch here are slaughterfish, trodh and chub.

Rivers

  • Salmon and River Betty:
  • Fresh flowing rivers and streams are the home of these tasty fish. They best on baits of insects and small shad.
  • - A Guide to Fishing Old Tamriel by "Old Slaughter Fish"

Rivers will be any kind of moving waters, usually starting at a waterfall and ending in either a lake or the ocean. When it gets near a lake or ocean, the water type of the fishing hole can vary. The far side of the river across of Armature's Upheaval is one of the rare river fishing holes in Stonefalls (there's only 2 that I know of and they're both on this side of the river).

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In rivers, the preferred bait is either insect parts or shad, and the fish you can catch are salmon, river betty and fish roe (I know roe is an egg rather than a fish, but you still catch it there).

Lakes

  • Spadetail and Silverside Perch:
  • Still lakes with deep holes or overgrowth that let these fish stay out of the sun are the preferred locale for these fish. Guts from small frogs, guar and chickens as well as tiny ocean minnows are the best bait for these.
  • - A Guide to Fishing Old Tamriel by "Old Slaughter Fish"

Lakes will be any large or small body of water that's not the ocean, like the Steamlake Encampment in southern Stonefalls, that's patrolled by this asshole bull netch.

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In lakes, the preferred bait is either guts or minnows, and the fish you can catch are spadetail, silverside perch and shad.

Ocean

  • Dhufish and Longfin:
  • When you are the (sic) by the sea, you should try your hand at catching these beauties. Using common garden worms and small chub will entice the largest of these fish.
  • - A Guide to Fishing Old Tamriel by "Old Slaughter Fish"

The ocean is... the ocean. Anywhere you're on the coast, you'll find an ocean fishing hole. Any coastal city usually has docks that are good for fishing, like these docks in Ebonheart.

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In oceans, the preferred bait is either worms or chub, and the fish you can catch are dhufish, longfin and minnows.
So now that you know about the four types of water you can find fishing holes in, let's talk about the 9 types of bait, and where to find them.

The Nine Types of Bait

 

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When you pull up your handy dandy bait wheel, there are nine different types of bait. These baits are:

Icon & Name Description Level
chub.png Chub Bait for fishing. Find in lakes
Chub are a preferred bait for oceans. You can catch chub while fishing in foul water.
1
Minnow.png Minnow Bait for fishing. Found in salt water.
Minnows are a preferred bait for lakes. You can catch minnows while fishing in oceans.
1
chub.png Simple bait Bait for fishing. Buy from vendors (15g)
Simple bait is not a preferred bait for anything. Simple bait sucks. I spent Day 6 of my fishing report explaining why simple bait sucks. You can buy simple bait from a merchant for 15 gold, which isn't worth it at all. ***** simple bait. I renounce simple bait.
1
chub.png Used bait Bait for fishing. Result of a failed attempt 1
Worms.png Worms Bait for fishing. Found amongst plants
Worms are a preferred bait for oceans. You can find worms when harvesting plants, like jute and other plants used in clothing, or plants used in alchemy, and apparently from zombies-type mobs according to squidgod2000. These are probably the slowest to harvest of the 4 baits you can harvest on land in my experience.
1
Guts.png Guts Bait for fishing. Find in small animal remains.
Guts are a preferred bait for lakes. You can find guts by killing certain level 1 creatures like chickens, bantam and pony guar, squirrels and rabbits.
1
Crawlers.png Crawlers external image 668152107199992979.jpg
Bait for fishing. Find amongst plants
Crawlers are a preferred bait for foul water. You can find crawlers by killing certain level 1 creatures like spiders, scribs and centipedes, and also from certain zombie-like mobs. You can also find them in plants, like worms.
1
Insect Parts.png Insect Parts Bait for fishing. Find by looting Butterflies.
Insect parts are a preferred bait for rivers. You can find insect parts by harvesting insects you see flying around, like torchbugs, butterflies and flesh flies.
1
Fish Roe.png Fish roe Bait for fishing. Find in rivers and streams.
Fish roe are a preferred bait for foul water. You can catch fish roe while fishing in rivers.
1
Shad.png Shad Bait for fishing. Found in foul water (swamps)
Shad are a preferred bait for rivers. You can catch shad while fishing in lakes.
1
Fish Bile.png Fish bile Apply to your hook to get the fish to bite. 2

 

Rare Fish and Fishing Achievements

 

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Once you've got your bait game on lock, you're ready to catch yourself some rare fish. Most zones have 12 rare fish you can catch to unlock an achievement for that zone; once you get all the zone achievements, you unlock the Fisher King achievement, which grants you the title of Master Angler.
The 12 rare fish are not tied to any specific fishing hole, but rather water types, with 1 blue fish and 2 green fish being found in each of the 4 water types. This could make things difficult, for instance, in Stonefalls, where there's only 2 river fishing holes that have been discovered.

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Other Fishing Facts

  • A fishing hole appears to have a maximum of 15 total fish in it, though you can discover one with much less. This may be because of other fishing, or possibly because the fishing hole spawned like that.
  • If fishing holes respawn (I've never seen one respawn), they respawn veeeeeeeeery slowly, at least longer than 15 minutes.
  • Changing instances, for instance (lol jinx) by logging out and logging back in, can change what fishing holes are spawned on the map.
  • Fishing in groups improves your chance of catching rare fish.

Fishing Add-Ons

For PC players, there are many fishing add-ons which will track fish you have caught and where you have fished.  Currently there are no add-ons that show you the location and type of all of the fishing holes.

Fishing Quirks

"You can not fish while in Werewolf form."

The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Elder Scrolls Online
The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Elder Scrolls Online

 

The Invisible Pole

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Sometimes if you cast a line, then hit E to reel it in, and hit E again to cast it again before that animation finishes, you'll fish with an invisible pole.

Getting Disconnected from the Internet While You Have a Line Cast

This happened to me last night during a thunderstorm, when my internet briefly went out. I had a line cast when the internet went down and after 45 seconds of waiting and not realizing I was offline, I hit e to reel it in early. Except it didn't reel it in, I just started running around with the fishing pole in my hand and my line connected to the fishing hole. It was silly.

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Fishing Guilds

If any of this stupid, broken, bugged crap sounds like fun to you, and you want to hang out with some like-minded individuals, check out r/ESOfishing on reddit, or send me a message or mail at @doctor_apocalypse in the game to get an invite to the Tamriel Fisherman's Guild, the #1 PvF guild in all of Elder Scrolls Online (that's for the NA server; if you're on EU, you can message @mafiosen to join the European chapter).

Fishing Maps

Aldmeri Dominion

Khenarthi's Roost

Foul Lake Ocean River
 n/a n/a  Pyandonean Ray  n/a
Khenarthis-roost fish   

Auridon

  
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a Ilyadifish Blue Monkfish  Shimmerpike
n/a Barbel Thrassian Eel 
Blackspotted Pike
n/a Sturgeon Mola Muskie
n/a Mudfish Eucla Cod  Bristlemouths
 Auridon fish
 

Grahtwood

  
Foul  Lake Ocean River
Bilious Catfish Stickleback Magrove Shark Greater Fangfin
Snapper Eel Dreughfish Devil Ray Hog Sucker
Swamp Eel Koi Mojarra Tiger Perch
Grahtwood Fish

Greenshade

 
     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Viperfish Jungle Bass Zebra Pompano Xylo Piranha
Cusk Eel Archerfish Manefish Lyretail
Wolf-Eel Murray Cod Triggerfish Walleye
Greenshade Fishing

Malabal Tor

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Ouze Toadfish Z'en's Whitefish Abecean Halibut Strident Leechfin
Ghastel Bass Arowana Ono Mrigal
Stargazer Inconnu Sea Bass Stonefish
 Malabal Tor Fishing   
 

Reaper's March

     
 Foul Lake Ocean River
Slimeslither Forest Bream n/a Strid Shad
Brotula Preposterous Mackerel n/a  Flying fish
Reaper's Eel Brown Trout n/a  Sheepshead
Red Gurnard Ladyfish  n/a Sweetfish
 reapers-march fishing   

 

Daggerfall Covenant

Stors M'Kai

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a n/a Eltheric Grouper n/a

stros-mkai fishing

Glenumbra

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Hag Fen Hagfish Cambray Perch Azurain Flounder Brook Trout
Dragonfish Powen Finless Sole Catfish
Lamprey Rock Bass Tuna Warmouth

glenumbra fishing

Stormhaven

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Gray Loach Silver Walleye Alcaire Pike Dreugh Shrimp
Sawfish Barfish Dab Grass Carp
Yellow Moray Yellow Bass Stormhaven Flounder River Stingray

stormhaven fishing

Rivenspire

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a Ichory Chub Northpoint Cod Ruby Tench
n/a Nase Snakehead Ribbon Eel
n/a Rivenspire Trout Dusky Grouper Stream Catfish
n/a Writhing Scrab Hake Turbot

rivenspire fishing

Alik'r Desert

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Midget Salmon Desert Pupfish Bonefish n/a
Sand Eel Banded Killifish Alewife n/a
Cutthroat Eel Lungfish Driftfish n/a
Sand Moray Saw Belly Sablefish n/a
alikr-desert fishing

Bangkorai

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a Lake Snapper Bjoulsae Hake Prickleback
n/a Scaly Lungfish Morid Cod Lenok
n/a Gar Swai Panga
n/a Paddlefish Toadfish Pupfish
bangkorai fishing
       

 

Ebonheart Pact

Bleakrock Isle

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a n/a Inner Sea Scalyfin n/a

bleakrock fishing

Stonefalls

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Scum Carp Rainbow Zander Akaviri Wrasse
Ash Shad
Fungusfish Lake Chub Armorhead Ricefish
Stinkfish Tench Travally
Thorny Catfish

stonefalls fishing

Deshaan

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a Mud Lamprey Pikeblenny Toadstool Tilapia
n/a Old Man Gar Gibberfish Cutthroat Trout
n/a Gourami Monkfish  Deshaan Chub
n/a Ide Mustard Eel Mouthbrooder

deshaan fishing

Shadowfen

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Coelacanth Histcarp n/a Shark Tadpole
Toxic Xoach Orange Roughy n/a Boga
Eel-Goby Quillback n/a Hardyhead
Pricklefish Zander n/a Opah

shadowfen

Eastmarch

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Ice Remora King Sturgeon Ghost Haddock White River Pickerel
Modoc Sucker Char Golem Shark Ice Fish
Snipe Eel Eastmarch Pike Pigfish Steelhead

eastmarch fishing

The Rift

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Sulfursucker Ilinalta Trout n/a Muskellunge
Bream Ice Koi n/a White Roughy
Skate Jarl Salmon n/a Grouper
Skorrn Zebra Oto n/a Sockeye Salmon
the rift fishing

 

Neutral

Coldharbour

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Ghoulfish n/a n/a n/a
Heinous Gar n/a n/a n/a
Moray Leech n/a n/a n/a
Stingerpike n/a n/a n/a

Azure Eel
n/a n/a n/a
Bichir n/a n/a n/a

Blue Slimefish
n/a n/a n/a
Cavefish n/a n/a n/a
Fang Shark n/a n/a n/a
Harbour Gar n/a n/a n/a
Plasm Darter n/a n/a n/a
Venomfish n/a n/a n/a

coldharbour fishing

Craglorn

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
n/a Crag Salmon n/a Nedic Eel
n/a Glasshead Barreleye n/a Yokudan Cod
n/a Forlorn Catfish n/a Bitterling
n/a Ghost Knifefish n/a Croaker
n/a Nirn Flounder n/a Dragon Goby
n/a Spiny Orcfish n/a Mermouth

craglorn fishing

Cyrodill

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Sewer Eel Runmare Bream Topal Fanche Nibenay Trout
Pufferfish Rainbow Fish Emperor Angelfish Glassfish
Quillfish Yellow Perch Jewel Fish Pirate Perch

cyrodiil fishing

Gold Coast

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Ghastly Batfish Palatine Sabertooth Sleeper Shark Bullface Wingfin
Spiny Frogfish Hammer Bombil Scorpionfish Longmouth Pike
Black Anvil Loach Spotted Bass Rattail Gold Coast Crayfish

Gold_Coast fishing

Hew's Bane

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Keuppia Cichlid Sparking Anglermouth Glass Catfish
Daggertooth Bala Shark Beggar Shark Firemouth
Fringed Mudskipper Cherry Barb Crestfish Hew's Rasbora

Hews_Bane_fishing

Imperial City

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
Aphotic Batfish n/a n/a n/a
Glow-Spotted Blenny n/a n/a n/a
Cannibal Lancet n/a n/a n/a
Blobfin n/a n/a n/a
Guiyu n/a n/a n/a
Hatchetfish n/a n/a n/a
Humpback Angler n/a n/a n/a
Imperial Loosejaw n/a n/a n/a
Scabrous Grenadier n/a n/a n/a
Flabby Whalefish n/a n/a n/a
Trapjaw Eel n/a n/a n/a
Wen Loach n/a n/a n/a
 imperial-city-fishing   

Wrothgar

     
Foul Lake Ocean River
    Crab-Slaughter-Crane  
Greater Ashmouth Giant Hammerjaw Blue-Ringed Octopus Chinlea
Lesser Ashmouth Matron Eelpout Black Scabbardfish Nelma
Pariah Lumpfish Vorkhiposh Hairy Coffinfish Tum Weever



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