What is Fishing in ESO?
With the recent introduction of the Psijic Ambrosia experience boosting potion, fishing in ESO has taken on a new dimension. This guide will cover everything you need to know about fishing and will include tips for everything from how to get bait to how to get the coveted Perfect Roe ingredient for Psijic Ambrosia.
What Can You Catch While Fishing?
There are five basic things you can catch while fishing in ESO:
- Rare Trophy Fish
- Common Fish
- Special Bait
- Wet Gunny Sack
- Used Bait
Rare Trophy Fish
Each major zone in the game has twelve rare trophy fish that can be caught, four blue and four green. Additionally, each of the three “starter” zones has a single blue rare fish to catch. Catching all the rare trophy fish in a given zone completes an achievement.
To see the achievements, open your Journal, click the Achievements tab, click the Trophies category, then select the Fishing achievements group. You’ll notice individual achievements for each zone, plus achievements that tie multiple zones into logical groups, such as all the Daggerfall Covenant zones. Several of these individual zone and grouped zone achievements have an associated armor dye color, which is unlocked with the achievement.
However, while the colors are nice, the real prize is the Master Angler title, which you can select for display over your name. Other than the Emperor title, there is no rarer title you will see in the game.
Once you catch a rare trophy fish and it goes into your inventory, it gets marked off on the list of fish you need to catch for that specific zone. This is an important point, the fish must get into your inventory for you to get credit for it!
If you are fishing a hole with other people, it is possible for the hole to be “fished out” while you are looking at your catch. This causes your catch to disappear. Therefore it is highly recommended to turn Auto Loot ON, so that you automatically “catch” your rares. There is nothing more frustrating than finally getting that elusive Midget Salmon only to lose it before you can put it into your inventory.
Once you’ve gotten the rare trophy fish into your inventory it “registers” in your achievement list and you no longer need it. Rare trophy fish can be sold to any vendor for 110 gold for blue rares, 90 gold for green rares caught in Craglorn, and 36 gold for green rares caught anywhere other than Craglorn. While these aren’t earth shattering numbers, it doesn’t hurt to earn a little pocket cash while fishing.
Another use for the rare fish you catch is to share them with your other characters on your account. The rare fish are Bound, but you can put them in the bank. Another character can then get them out of the bank and “use” them to check the fish off of that character’s fishing achievements.
Note also that, while you are traveling from hole to hole, you will come across all kinds of crafting materials, treasure chests, and mobs to fight. A two-hour group fishing expedition can yield over 1000g worth of rare fish, crafting materials, and equipment drops.
Most of the time, your fishing attempt will produce a common fish. Common fish are useful for several things and, with the introduction of Psijic Ambrosia, will be the primary goal for those who don’t care about the achievements.
Common fish can be “cleaned” by using them in your inventory. The result will be the basic fish ingredient used by several food recipes. However, it now has a small chance of also producing Perfect Roe, the legendary ingredient required for Psijic Ambrosia! This is produced in the same way that you get Dreugh Wax or Tempering Alloy by refining raw clothing or blacksmithing materials.
How do you fish?
Regardless of zone, each of the four water types has two associated common fish, as shown in the following table:
Previously, once you had a stack or two of fish for provisioning, the only thing to do with common fish was to sell them to a vendor for 3g each. Of course, now common fish will have value in guild traders, in the same way that a stack of raw ore is worth more than the refined ingots.
You can also catch special bait when fishing. Special bait is functionally identical to basic bait, but can only be acquired by fishing. It conveys no additional chances for catching rare trophy fish and should simply be used in the same way as basic bait.
Wet Gunny Sacks
Sometimes you will catch a wet gunny sack. At first glance, this seems like junk, but such is not the case! A wet gunny sack is the functional equivalent of the heavy sacks that you find in dungeons and throughout Tamriel. It will contain some random type of crafting item, from a lowly trait stone to as much as two Kutas, so don’t trash them!
The last item you can catch is used bait. As the name implies, this catch is worthless in every respect and should be destroyed to clear inventory space. While you can catch used bait even when you are doing everything right, catching used bait is almost a sure indicator that you are using the wrong type of bait for the water type you’re fishing. If you catch used bait, try another type of bait.
What Do You Need for Fishing?
To start fishing, all you need is bait in your character inventory. There are four types of basic bait that you can find, one for each type of water in the game. You can also purchase an all-purpose Basic Bait from vendors for 15g each, but it is markedly inferior to the four specialized bait types, with a “catch” rate of less than 50%, and should be ignored.
As mentioned before, there are also four special bait types that you can get only by catching them while fishing. The four types of water and the associated bait types are as follows:
Water Type Basic Bait Caught Bait Ocean Worms Chub Lake Guts Minnow River Insect Parts Shad Foul Crawlers Fish Roe
The key to this is identifying the type of water you have in front of you and choosing the correct bait type from the table above. If you use the wrong bait for the water, you still have a chance to catch something good, but you also have a large chance to catch Used Bait, which usually means you are using the wrong bait.
In some cases, the water type is obvious. Rivers are running water, lakes are still water, and oceans are along the beach. However, in the transition areas between zones, you can have two different water types right next to each other. Foul water zones can be found anywhere, in River, Lake, or Ocean areas. What makes water foul is the presence of nearby dead bodies or undead.
The one surefire way of identifying a water type is to fish it and see what you get. Catching any rare trophy fish, common fish, or special bait will tell you exactly what type of water you are looking at.
Normally, each zone has all four water types, but this doesn’t always hold true. Several zones have only three water types, with the three rare trophy fish that would otherwise be caught in the missing water type being distributed among the other three water types. For example, Rivenspire has no foul water zones, so the foul fish are divided among the lake, river, and ocean water zones. Similarly, Craglorn has only river and lake water types, so each water type has six fish associated with it, two blues and four greens.
Where Do You Find Bait?
Bait can be farmed throughout the world from different sources. Picking alchemy and clothing mats can produce worms or crawlers. Crawlers can also be farmed by killing small spiders, centipedes, etc. Guts can be farmed by killing small critters, such as rabbits, rats, and lizards. Insect parts can be farmed by picking butterflies, torchbugs, wasps, and other flying insects. Finally you can catch bait, as mentioned above.
The first thing you need to do is to find a fishing hole. Fishing holes are areas of disturbed water with fish jumping and swirling around, as shown in the following images:
When you approach a fishing hole and place your cursor on it, you will see an interactive prompt, as shown in the following image:
Press and hold the E key to reveal a quick access wheel for choosing which bait type to use:
Once you have selected a bait type, the prompt will change to show the selected bait type. To fish, simply press the E key. Your character will pull out a fishing pole and cast a line into the hole.
After a short time, you will hear a “reel” sound, see the bobber get pulled into the water, and see your character pull up the pole. You now have a few seconds to press the E key again to reel in your catch.
If you don’t have auto-loot enabled, you’ll see the loot box showing what you’ve caught. However, as previously mentioned, it is highly recommended to enable auto-loot while fishing. When fishing with other people, a hole can be finished while you’re looking at what you’ve caught, causing you to lose your catch, so turn on auto-loot and you won’t lose that elusive Midget Salmon!
When it spawns, each fishing hole has sufficient fish for fifteen casts. Sometimes you’ll get fewer casts, which means that someone else fished the hole earlier. As a matter of courtesy to other players, if you fish a hole you should fish it completely so that it can respawn as a new, full hole.
As one of the ESO loading screens indicates, you have a higher chance of catching a rare trophy fish if you fish with other people. This higher chance also applies to chances of catching special bait and wet gunny sacks.
While the exact chances have not been published, it is believed that there is a 5% chance for one person, 10% with two, 15% with three, and 25% with four or more people fishing the hole. So you’ll probably want to limit your groups to 4-5 players, so you have a good balance between maximizing your chances and fishing the holes out too quickly.
Sometimes you will see an NPC fishing a hole. Unfortunately, fishing with an NPC does NOT increase your chances of catching rare fish.
Once you’ve caught a rare fish and put it into your inventory it registers in your achievements list. You can then sell it to a vendor for cash.
Farming Perfect Roe
As described above, Perfect Roe is obtained by cleaning common fish. Because rare trophy fish, special bait, and wet gunny sacks contribute nothing to your chances of getting Perfect Roe, you do NOT need to fish with a group.
In fact, because fishing with a group increases the chances of catching the rare and special items, you will want to fish under conditions that minimize your chances of catching these special items, i.e., solo. This is, of course, good news for those seeking Perfect Roe. You don’t need to get a group together, just head for the nearest fishing hole and start casting! And because you don’t need any particular common fish, you can fish in any water type using the most easily obtainable bait.
Where Should I Fish
While it is beyond the scope of this guide to cover every possible fishing location in the game, something that is pretty much impossible, this section will give you an idea of where to start for each water type in the three beginning zones, plus the common zones (Coldharbour, Craglorn, and Cyrodiil).
- Foul – North Shore Point, the large lake south of the Eagle’s Brook Wayshrine.
- River – From the east gate of Daggerfall to the waterfall that drops into the ocean.
- Lake – From the Burial Tombs Wayshrine southwest through the series of small lakes.
- Ocean – Along the west coast from the Daggerfall Port north to the Farwatch Wayshrine.
- Foul – There are no foul water hole in Auridon. The three fish that would otherwise be assigned to foul water are assigned one to each of the other three water types.
- River – Along the river east of Tanzelwil Wayshrine running southeast to the coast.
- Lake – A asmall lake east of the Windy Glade Wayshrine and the lake area northeast of the College Wayshrine.
- Ocean – Along the western coast between Wreck of the Raptor and the Seaside Scarp Camp world bosses.
- Foul – Around the Armature’s Upheaval crafting station and the yellow water around Graymist Falls.
- River – The river west of the Brothers of Strife Wayshrine, which runs north and south.
- Lake – The small lakes northwest of Lukiul Uxith, west of Ashen Road Wayshrine, and arouind the Steamlake Encampment.
- Ocean – Running northwest along the coast from the road leading west out of Ebonhart to the northern part of the bay around The Matron’s Clutch world boss.
- Foul – Being a place of death and desolation, Coldharbour contains only foul water zones, so you can use crawlers or fish roe in any hole you find. Several holes in the water zone just east of the Hollow City are a good place to start.
- River – Along the river west of Belkarth running to the north or the river running south from Skyreach Pinnacle.
- Lake – The large lake south of Belkarth or the lake west of Shada’s Tear Wayshrine.
- Foul – All the holes in the lake surrounding the Imperial City are foul.
- River – Southeast of Blue Road Keep starting at the small lake and running east and south.
- Lake – The small lake southeast of Blue Road Keep, as well as the series of small, connected lakes east of Drakelowe Keep, running north and south.
- Ocean – Two holes on what looks like a river/stream just east of the road running north out of the Gate of Mnem.
How Do You Make it Easier?
Vanilla ESO doesn’t make it easy to fish. You can see the names of the fish you need to catch on the achievements page, but it gives no indication of which type of water each fish can be caught in. It doesn’t even tell you which water types a zone has; you just have to get out there and fish to figure it out.
Fortunately, the addon makers have come to the rescue!
Rare Fish Tracker by katkat42 is the single most essential addon for the dedicated fisherman. It has a pop-up dialog, which you can keybind, that shows the water types in each zone, along with their associated fish. It keeps track of which fish you’ve caught and allows you to see at a glance which water types you need to fish to clear a zone.
A close second in value is Votan’s Fisherman by Votan, which gives you several utilities that make fishing easier. Once you’ve caught a fish and identified the water type of the hole, Votan’s will show the water type on the casting prompt along with a list of what you’ve historically caught in this hole.
It also marks the hole on your map, with different colored icons indicating the type of water. When you mouse over a hole, it displays the water type and shows everything you’ve caught from that hole.
However, the most useful of Votan’s features is the huge prompt that fills your screen when it is time to reel in your line. This is so much easier than having to pay close attention to the bobber, your character’s animation, and in-game audio. Simply press E when a huge fish hook fills your screen.
Finally, Votan’s Fish Fillet allows you to clean a full stack of fish with a single click, eliminating the tiresome process of repeatedly clicking the fish stack or pressing the Use key.
So load up Minion, install the addons, then hit the waterways to complete your fishing adventures (and achievements)!