The best fishing games that are a real catch

The best fishing games let you take part in a relaxing pastime in a host of different virtual worlds. Nothing quite beats the satisfaction of reeling in a prize catch or a particularly rare fish in games like Final Fantasy 15 and Stardew Valley. While they can vary in style and difficulty, there’s no shortage of adventures that include fishing or put the activity at the center. 

There are plenty of games out there to hook you in with their own take on fishing. While some put more of a focus on it than others, you’ll find a broad range here. So get your rod and lures at the ready as we take you through the 15 best fishing games you can dive into right now.

15. Skyrim

Skyrim anniversary edition fishing

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Developer: Bethesda
Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, VR

Skyrim fishing is a brand new mechanic introduced to celebrate the game’s 10th anniversary. Thankfully, it launched as a free update to anyone who owns the game and isn’t locked behind the Anniversary Edition upgrade. It bumps the total fish count in the game up to 26, with some tied to certain types of water – from fresh to salt. But it’s not just about collecting them all, there’s also a fishing-related quest to play through called the Angler Acquaintances that leads you to a new location called The Riften Fishery. This acts as a hub for all of this, with characters like Swims-In-Deep-Water, Hulda, and Viriya who will regularly give out literal bounties on certain fish they want catching.

14. Far Cry 6

Fishing in Far Cry 6

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X

You don’t really need to fish in Far Cry 6. You can sell your catches in exchange for resources and use them to cook some meals at resistance bases, and there are a couple achievements tied to catching fish and cooking meals. But, really, there’s a certain zen in watching the world go by waiting for a nibble. It’s not that complicated so that just adds to the peacefulness of it all against the chaos of being a guerilla.

13. Pokemon Sword and Shield

Fishing in Pokemon Sword and Shield

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Developer: Game Freak
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Fishing in the Pokemon series has always been integral to the whole schtick of catching ’em all. Water Type Pokemon lurk beneath the waves of the oceans and the quieter waters of the regions’ lakes and rivers, and getting your preliminary old rod is quite the triumph for unlocking a whole new set of ‘mons. Pokemon Sword and Shield are the same, albeit with a little more focus on where you can cast your line. Look out for dark patches on the water, particularly around marinas or in the Wild Area, and you’ll start adding lots of new aquatic friends to your Pokedex. If we were being really picky, we’d argue that Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire are the best fishing games in the series.

12. Hades

Fishing in Hades

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Developer: Supergiant Games
Platform: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Hades, the runaway indie roguelike success of 2020, might not be the first game you think of when you’re conjuring thoughts on the best fishing games. But this adventure through the underworld does actually feature a very satisfying fishing mini-game. Later on in the game, you’ll be able to buy a fishing rod and catch yourself a mystery from the Tartarian Depths. To fish, you drop your lure at a glowing golden circle on the edge of the map. If you catch something, you can then take it to the Head Chef, who’ll gift you rewards like Nectar and Gemstones. It’s simple, and when you find the right spot and nail the timing, it only adds to the satisfaction of a great Hades run.

11. Spiritfarer

Fishing in Spiritfarer

(Image credit: Thunder Lotus Games)

Developer: Thunder Lotus
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Stadia

Fishing is a lovely little mini-game in Spiritfarer, a game about helping souls move on to the afterlife. Not only is it super peaceful to watch Stella’s Everlight transform into a fishing rod as she settles down in the deckchair, but the fishing itself is also soothing. You’ll need to focus on matching the fish’s rhythm if you stand a chance of catching them. But, there’s an unexpected pleasure in discovering the things that can get stuck to the side of your ship too, adding to the deliciousness that Stella can whip up for the Spirits back in the kitchen. Hungry bellies mean no happy Spirits, after all. 

10. Minecraft

Fishing in Minecraft

(Image credit: Mojang)

Developer: Mojang Studios
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Minecraft, like many of the other games on this list, makes fishing a key part of the gameplay loop. The ability to fish arrived with the Java Edition Alpha v1.2.0 along with the Nether, and you can now fish whenever and wherever you want to. Your rod can be improved too with a range of enchantments, including a lure. Plus, there’s more to catch than just fish, with a variety of Treasures including bows and books, junk like leather boots, and even really bizarre things like rotten flesh, to reel in.

9. The Sims 4

Fishing in The sims 4

(Image credit: EA)

Developer: Maxis
Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS5

Fishing may only be one small element of The Sims 4 gameplay, but the way Maxis has made it such an interconnected part of Sims life makes it one of the best fishing games. Not only can you create your own ponds now and fill them with fish, but you can use anything you catch to create meals or fertilize crops. You’ll have to learn about lures and travel around to find all the different species available too, with more being added through Expansions. The more you fish, the better your skill will become, which allows you to catch rarer – and thus more valuable – fish, which can then become another source of income for those who like to play The Sims without the use of cheats – you mad lot. 

8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch

While Animal Crossing: New Horizons has now added cooking for frying up your catches, in reality, fishing has always been about providing new exhibits for the museum. Delivering Blathers each species builds out your aquarium wing and delights our old feathered chum in equal parts. Completing the wing in New Horizons also earns you the coveted golden fishing rod – the hardiest of all the rods – and now a rather glorious poster to celebrate all your donations. Plus, fishing now extends to diving in order to discover a raft of sea creatures, including gigantic crabs and even pearls. 

7. Red Dead Redemption 2

Fishing in Red Dead Redemption 2

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Developer: Rockstar
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S PC

Red Dead Redemption 2 is absolutely swimming in fish, including heroically complicated to catch Legendary Fish that are incredibly valuable if you snag one. The fishing mechanic is introduced as part of the main storyline, but there’s plenty of fishing fun to be had as you explore the huge open world. There’s even a particularly amusing side-story including fishing to uncover if you find it. But, Red Dead Redemption 2’s fishing is seriously involved, with special lures needed to secure all the different types of fish, so strap those waders on tight – especially when you’re going after the Red Dead Redemption 2 legendary fish.

6. Ridiculous Fishing

Fishing in Ridiculous Fishing

(Image credit: Vlambeer)

Developer: Vlambeer
Platform: Android, iOS

An oldie but a good, Ridiculous Fishing is our mobile entry on this list. It’s a game where you use motion and touch controls to guide your lure down into the depths as far as you can without hitting anything, and then try to catch as many fish as you can on the way back up. Your fish are then flung into the air for you to shoot (don’t ask) in order to bank your winnings in cash. It’s bizarre yet brilliant, and a handy game to have in your pocket for commutes. 

5. Final Fantasy 15

Fishing in Final Fantasy 15

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, Stadia

Final Fantasy 15 has plenty of activities to take part in, from chocobo races to camping, but there’s something about its fishing that makes us keep coming back. As Noctis’ favorite pass time, doing a spot of fishing will increase his particular skill.  When you’ve found a marked fishing location you can catch two types of fish – those for cooking and the prize catches. Some side quests are also geared towards fishing, and nothing quite beats the satisfaction of reeling in a rare fish that’s tough to catch. 

4. Sea of Thieves

Fishing in Sea of Thieves

(Image credit: Rare)

Developer: Rare
Platform: Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X

Finding a fish dinner is just part of pirate life, and developer Rare has made the process not only potentially lucrative but also super chill thanks to its music. There are 10 different fish available, which can all be sold at The Hunter’s Call in exchange for gold, with the value of the fish dependant on how well you’ve cooked it on the stove. Timing is key here, with the degree of cooking ranging from raw to burnt. Fishing can also nab you some Treacherous Plunder, which – despite the name – isn’t actually dangerous, and again can be traded in for gold. You might even reel in an Ashen Key, which you can sell to the Bilge Rats for five doubloons or use to open Ashen Chests. 

3. Stardew Valley 

Stardew Valley Prismatic Shards

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Developer: ConcernedApe
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, iOS, Android

The fishing in Stardew Valley has become pretty iconic purely for the fact it can be a little frustrating. If you want to fill out the Community Centre and build strong relationships with the residents though, you have to invest time – and money – into your rod. Keeping your bobber in the green reeling-in line is almost impossible for the rarer fish but thankfully there are ways and means to increase the size of the bar and the speed at which your line snaps. Plus, when you actually nail that fish you’ve been after for weeks, it’s oh so worth it.

2. Moonglow Bay

Moonglow Bay

(Image credit: Coatsink)

Developer: Bunnyhug
Platform: Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC

Unlike the majority of the other games on this list, Moonglow Bay is a game that’s all about fishing. You play as someone trying to revitalize a small town one fish at a time. You’ll have to grab your rod and head out to the piers, or further afield on your boat, in order to discover all the fish. There are multiple rod and lure types to combine for finding new fin friends, alongside crab pots and nets for alternative fishing options. Then, you start to make your living by cooking up the fish and selling it to your fellow townsfolk. There’s a sweet storyline to go alongside it, an adorable dog companion, and even some legendary fish to discover.

1. Ultimate Fishing Simulator

Ultimate Fishing Simulatror - the best fishing game ever

(Image credit: Ultimate Games)

Developer: Ultimate Games
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

Of course, our list of the best fishing games had to be topped with an actual fishing sim, and Ultimate Fishing Simulator is as close to the real thing as you’re going to get without getting wet. About to be bettered by Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2 at some point in the near future, the current iteration is still the best fishing experience. Intense attention has been paid to modeling everything from equipment to bait, and it’s incredibly realistic with day-and-night cycles to boot. Plus, there’s loads of DLC too if you want even more fishing fun. 

Check out our best cat games and best dog games while you’re at it.

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