It’s almost inevitable; every good game has a fishing mini-game. These fishing mechanics can be great like Stardew Valley‘s flappy-bird fish meter or they could be so-so like Nier: Automata‘s where you throw a robot in the water, wait for it to bob, and bring it back with a fish in its claws.
Regardless, I’m an absolute sucker for a good fishing mechanic, and Valhiem certainly doesn’t disappoint. Fishing in Valhiem is surprisingly more realistic than one would think and can be difficult to master, but the benefits are so beyond worth learning the ropes, or fishing lines in this case.
The Key To The Pole
One of the things I adore about Valheim is the way the game opens itself up to you, freeing you to play at your own pace. However, the caveat to that way of game design can lead to a lack of structure. This means the game might not be giving you the items you need to partake in the activities you’ll enjoy most right out of the gate.
Just so, the item needed for fishing, the fishing pole, cannot be crafted and can only be bought from the merchant. You may be saying to yourself, “Merchant? What merchant??” There is a merchant in Valheim! He’s tricky to track down, but if you’ve got some time to go on an adventure, with my help you’ll find him and get to fishing in no time.
Tracking down the Merchant is the key to starting your fishing venture. The Merchant holds a swathe of tools that can help ease your adventure, but none more important than this fishing stick. Finding him can be a bit tricky, so it’s important to know where to look, otherwise, you’ll be running around aimlessly. Haldor the Merchant spawns in the Black Forest in a random spot, which can sound quite daunting, but there is a trick to finding him that’s easier than you may think.
There are several possible locations that the game creates in the Black Forest biome for Haldor the Merchant to spawn in and when you come within 400-ish meters of one of those locations, the game picks that spot for his spawn. Once you are within that distance, a bag icon will appear on your map, which you can access by pressing “M”. That icon is the location of Haldor and will forever stay in that location and marked on your map.
Acquiring The Pole
Now that you’ve found Haldor, you need to get what you’ve come for. You’ll quickly notice Haldor’s goods are rather expensive and they require something you might not have known you’d even need while being in the Viking afterlife: coins.
Haldor’s wares include:
- A useless but still very festive and stylish Yule Hat for 100 coins
- The Dverger Circlet that is essentially a headlamp, illuminating the scenes in front of you for the hefty sum of 620 coins
- The Megingjord that makes you much stronger allowing for 150 extra pounds of weight to be carried for a whopping 950 coins
- Some Ymir Flesh that is just a crafting material for late-game equipment that goes for 120 coins
- The ever-important Fishing Rod allowing you to get food on your terms while presenting a peaceful way to pass some time for 350 coins
- Fishing Bait which cannot be crafted and is crucial to casting your line out if you hope to reel anything back in for 10 coins per 50 bait
- The Thunder Stone which is needed to build the Obliterator which turns any item you have laying around into coal for 50 coins.
The items of importance here are the Fishing Rod and the Fishing Bait which are needed in conjunction to catch the fish. For this you will need at least 360 coins, so let’s take a look at actually obtaining the funds needed for this endeavor.
How To Get Coins
Coins can be found on Trolls, in abandoned chests throughout the world, dropped from the Fuling creatures that can be found in the Plains biome, and can be found in the depths of the dungeons. Several beings of note may be carrying them around, but Haldor is the only being that accepts these coins.. who’s side is that guy on, anyhow?
You may have already found some coins throughout your days in Valheim, but if you haven’t found any or haven’t got enough coins currently to buy the goods you need, then you probably at least have some Amber laying around. Amber is a valuable substance that holds no crafting abilities and can only be sold to Haldor. The going rate for Amber is 5 coins apiece, so you should be able to line your pockets pretty quickly. Another item to sell that you may have picked up from a dungeon or two is the Ruby which goes for a much more appealing price of 20 coins per Ruby.
Now that you’ve got your trusty pole and bait, it’s time to go fishin’! The basics of fishing are finding the fish, casting the line, hooking the fish, reeling the fish in, and grabbing the fish. This full technique can be hard to master but the payoff is beyond worth it when you no longer have to rely on cooked boar or neck meat to fill your belly. Teach a Viking to fish, and they eat for a lifetime.
The first part of fishing is finding fish to… well, fish. Fish are actual real entities in the water, so you have to be able to see fish swimming around in your chosen fishing spot if you hope to reel one in. They don’t necessarily need to be in your line of sight or visible on screen, but you at least need to make sure at least some fish are residing in the body of water you’re fishing in. Most likely there are unless you’ve fished it dry or scared away the fish with loud noises.
Next, you’ll need to cast your line out into the open waters by pressing and holding the left mouse button. For this part, make sure to have a full belly of food that can grant you a high level of stamina as your casting power and fish reeling endurance are both tied directly to your stamina bar.
The biggest tip I have for you in this one is to cast a short distance away from the bank. The last thing you want to do is launch your bobber 50 meters away and not have the stamina to reel the fish back in. I’ve found that around 15 meters or less are the sweet spots for catching lots of fish.
Now that your line has been cast, it’s time to wait for a bite. You’ll see fish circle your bobber several times and with each pass they will give your hook a little bite, sinking it into the water a bit. Fish will only test the bait a few times before they give up, so make sure you hit the right mouse button as soon as you see the bobber go under the water.
The right mouse button is also used to reel in, so you might end up too close to the bank after a few tries and need to recast your line. If you do need to recast your line, you don’t need to reel it back in before you do. Just press and hold the left mouse button again and you’ll cast out again instantly.
Once the text “Hooked” pops up on the screen, it’s time to reel that hush puppy in. This is the least peaceful part of the process, as it’s essentially a Viking vs Fish showdown. It’s a frantic battle of reeling that fish into the bank and out of the water. If you cast too far away, you’ll most likely lose the catch before you can bring it all the way up as your stamina does not refill while the fish is on the line.
Keep reeling it in until the fish is completely out of the water and within grabbing distance of your character. The fish will need to be either on land or above the water for you to grab it using the “E” button. Once you can grab it, congrats! You’ve caught a fish! You’ll notice the fish went into your inventory, and you may have even gotten several pieces of fish meat depending on whether you caught the Perch, Pike, or Tuna. The Perch will give you 1 piece of Raw Fish, the Pike will give you 2, and the Tuna will give you 4 Raw Fish.
Now that fish flood your inventory slots, it’s time to put them to use. Valheim is all about filling that belly up with a hearty meal, and having access to fish meat is an excellent way of doing just that. You can cook two items with the Raw Fish that you’ve so valiantly obtained: Cooked Fish and Fish Wraps.
The standard Cooked Fish is cooked on a cooking station just like you would with boar meat or deer meat. Place the meat on the cooking station, wait for it to cook, and grab it before it burns. This meal is an excellent addition to other cooked meats or even a great replacement to the early game meats if you are a usual one meat slot user. Cooked Fish gives 45 health and 15 stamina versus the Cooked Boar Meat and Deer Meat 30-35 health and 10-12 stamina.
Fish Wraps are a huge boost to your health and stamina but are more difficult a dish to procure. To get started with making this delicious wrap, you need to first have a Cauldron to cook in and have three Cauldron upgrades applied to it, making it a Level 4 Cauldron. On top of that, you’ll need to obtain Barley from Fuling villages, farm it inside of the Plains biomes, or find it in random chests throughout the Plains biome.
You will also need a Windmill to turn the Barley into Flour. The Windmill can only be crafted after one of the Viking gods is defeated later in the game. There’s a fair amount of work that goes into getting ready to make a Fish Wrap, but the whopping 70 health and 23 stamina might just be worth it.
Other Fishing Techniques
While catching fish with the fishing pole is the best and easiest way to catch fish in Valheim, it’s not the only way to do so. Fish cannot be attacked, but they can be grabbed by hand while pressing the “E” button. This is what fishing with the pole does; it takes fish from the water, brings them to land, and keeps them in place long enough for you to interact with them.
If you take the pole out of the equation you can still catch fish, but it just takes getting your feet wet and having some patience. For instance, if you stand in the water, fish will come up to you eventually if you aren’t moving around and will allow you to pick them straight from the water by hand.
In your time playing Valhiem, you may have noticed the rising and lowering of the ocean’s tides. You can use this to your advantage to trap fish and catch them as well! Just find a nice piece of land that opens up nicely to the ocean and make sure it’s one you can close up with building walls.
You can either build just over the low sea tide and wait for the fish to have nowhere to go after high tide, or even make an opening with taller walls that you can manually close up when fish have entered the watery area. It’s like catching fish in a barrel.
Question: Where is all my bait going?!
Answer: Bait is used every time you press the left mouse button to cast out, even if you don’t have a single fish bite the hook. Bait is pretty cheap from the Merchant at just 10 coins for 50 pieces, so stock up on as much as you can afford while you’re purchasing the Fishing Rod from Haldor the Merchant.
Question: I can never reel the fish all the way in.. do you have any tips?
Answer: Eat very high stamina foods before spending the day fishing to make sure you get the maximum fishing endurance once one is on the line. Also, make sure to cast as close to yourself as possible. A great way to accomplish this is to build a dock over the water’s edge so you can be just over the fish.
Question: Can I just shoot the fish with my bow?
Answer: Nope! Fish are completely immune to any damage and must be fished to grab on in normal conditions. There have been people who have seen fish wash up on shore, but I have never personally run into this.
I hope this Valheim Fishing guide was useful in teaching you everything you need to know to obtain a Fishing Rod and use it efficiently and effectively to get loads of fish. All in all, fishing can be quite fun once you’ve nailed the basics of fishing in the open waters.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, it’s also incredibly valuable to have this skill to lessen your reliance on what you can find to eat. If you pair fishing with a nice and healthy farm, you’re set for an afterlife.
But, to get the most out of fishing just remember to pay attention to your stamina bar, fill up on high stamina foods, go where the fish are, and you’ll bring in plenty of fish.