Skill and Locations - El's Extreme Anglin' - WoW Fishing Guide
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Skill Required by Location

Each area has a base skill requirement to fish in. If you do not meet this requirement, you can't even cast a line ((you will be told that your skill is not high enough when you first try and cast)).

However, having sufficient skill to cast a line is not the only limitation. If your skill is less than the base skill requirement of the area plus 95, a proportion of your fish will "get away" - the bobber splashes, but no fish are hooked. Assume that if you are only about 45 or 50 skill points above the base skill requirement, around half your fish will get away. That proportion and derivation of the "95" figure are explained in The Role of Skill topic.

A fish that gets away gains you nothing: Neither the fish, nor an improved skill. Fish that get away increase the average amount of time for each catch. If you are catching something particularly valuable, you may be prepared to accept a proportion will get away. Normally avoid fish "getting away": Fish where your skill is at least 95 above the base requirement of the area. Of course poles, fishing gear and lures can be used to boost your fishing skill temporarily - as illustrated in the Equipment and Pools section.

There were some very detailed explanations of what fishing skill is recommended to fish in what area. After considerable research, I believe the table below summarises the base fishing skill requirements of zones accurately.

Zone Fishing Skill
Base Fishing Skill Required to CastSkill Required to Stop Get-AwaysZones
<1 (-70?)25Azuremyst Isle, Dun Morogh, Durotar, Elwynn Forest, Eversong Woods, Mulgore, Teldrassil, and Tirisfal Glades.
<1 (-20?)75The Barrens, Blackfathom Deeps, Bloodmyst Isle, Darkshore, Darnassus, The Deadmines, Ghostlands, Ironforge, Loch Modan, Orgrimmar, Silverpine Forest, Stormwind City, Thunder Bluff, Undercity, The Wailing Caverns, and Westfall.
55150Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hillsbrad Foothills, Redridge Mountains, Stonetalon Mountains, and Wetlands.
130225Alterac Mountains, Arathi Highlands, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Scarlet Monastery, Stranglethorn Vale, Swamp of Sorrows, and Thousand Needles.
205300Azshara, Felwood, Feralas, The Hinterlands, Maraudon, Moonglade, Stranglethorn Vale (Jaguero Isle only), Tanaris, The Temple of Atal'Hakkar, Un'Goro Crater, and Western Plaguelands.
280375Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand (Forge Camp: Hate only), and Shadowmoon Valley.
305400Zangarmarsh (except Marshlight Lake, Sporewind Lake, and Serpent Lake).
330425Azshara (Bay of Storms, Hetaera's Clutch and Scalebeard's Cave only), Burning Steppes, Deadwind Pass, Eastern Plaguelands, Feralas (Jademir Lake only), Scholomance, Silithus, Stratholme, Winterspring, Zul'Aman, and Zul'Gurub.
355450Terokkar Forest, Zangarmarsh West (Marshlight Lake, Sporewind Lake, Serpent Lake).
380475Nagrand (including Halaa and the Elemental Plateau) and Netherstorm.
395490Nagrand (Lake Sunspring and Skysong Lake only).
405500Terokkar Forest (Blackwind Lake, Lake Ere'Noru, Lake Jorune and Silmyr Lake).

Rules Governing Fish Location

Fish rack.

If you are looking for a particular fish, use the Fish Finder.

For those anglers that want to better understand where fish are found, there are a few basic rules which determine the location and availability of most fish. These are true most of the time:

  1. Different types of fish can be caught in inland water areas to those in coastal areas within the same zone. Normally every part of that zone's coast will give the same types of fish. It doesn't matter where you stand. The same is true for inland water areas. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, in Azshara, the Bay of Storms (including Scalebeard's Cave and Hetaera's Clutch) differs from other coastal regions of Azshara.
  2. The minimum level required to eat a fish broadly reflects the prevailing level of the monsters and quests in the area it is caught in. For example, starting zones are teeming with Raw Brilliant Smallfish, which almost anyone can eat (level 5), but you won't see a Furious Crawdad (level 60) until you fish in the hardest waters of Outland.
  3. There is a split between freshwater and saltwater fish. Most fish are found either on the coast, or inland, but not both. For example, Raw Whitescale Salmon are only found inland, while Stonescale Eel are only found on the coast. A few fish may be found both on the coast and inland, such as the Darkshore Grouper and Oily Blackmouth. Not all zones contain both fresh and salt water.
  4. More valuable fish are often found in at least one zone with a higher base skill requirement and one zone with a lower base skill requirement. The catch rate in the higher-skill zone may be greater than the catch rate in the lower-skill zone. For example, it is possible to catch Stonescale Eels off the coast of Feralas or Tanaris. But the best location for Stonescale Eels is Azshara, where the skill requirement is very high (read the Catching Stonescale Eels topic for evidence). This rule does not apply to Outland.
  5. Most valuable fish can be caught from open water and pools within open water. Pools ("schools") were illustrated in the Equipment and Pools section. Where a fish is found in both open water and a pool, pools are normally the quickest method of catching the fish... but not always.
  6. Catches of certain fish vary by time of day or season. The variation by time of day (known by experts as the "6 hour rule") is discussed in depth in the Variation by Time topic. Be aware that just because a source such as Thott's book says you can fish Raw Sunscale Salmon in the pools and rivers of The Hinterlands, does not necessarily mean they can be fished at 03:00. There are also two known seasonal fish - Winter Squid and Raw Summer Bass which switch at the spring and autumn (fall) equinoxes. Squid can never be caught during the summer. Bass can never be caught during the winter. Read the Catching Winter Squid topic for more information. This rule does not appear to apply to low level zones or Outland.
  7. Some fish can only be caught with the appropriate quest on your quest log.
And you thought fishing was just a case of casting your line and waiting for a fish to bite... right? To quote a wise gnome, "Easy to learn, hard to master."

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