Fishing for Gold
Most fish sell to vendors for a few Coppers. The value of fish is its value to other people: What people are prepared to pay at the Auction House, or how pleased people are when you give them some fish.
Most fish can be used to feed hunters' pets, or cooked and eaten as a light (un-buffed) snack. These simple foods can easily be bought from vendors. It is an advantage to be able to fish/cook these foods for yourself, but do not expect to sell such foods at auction: It is easier for others just to buy from vendors.
There are fish and materials other people want that can only be gained by fishing: These are described in detail in the Buff Food and Supplies sections. The raiding community generally makes the greatest use of buff food: A single group might use hundreds of cooked fish during a trip to Sunwell Plateau. This creates a constant demand for fish.
There are some exceptions to this rule: A few items can be gained by fishing which sell for several gold to vendors. These are described in the Other Valuable Fished Items section.
What Determines Prices?
If the fished item is in demand: The higher the fishing skill required to fish in areas where these are found, or the harder these fish are to catch or process, the fewer are willing and able to catch them. The fewer people fish, the higher the prices.
So, cooked Furious Crawdad tend to be valuable because they are only caught from pools in elevated lakes (that require a flying mount or flight ability to reach), whose water requires a skill of 405 just to cast. And the +30 Stamina buff gained when the cooked fish is eaten is the best available.
But that does not guarantee a good price: If you are fishing for pure profit, it is very important to continually assess current Auction House prices. Prices depend on both demand and supply for fish. If everyone starts catching one type of fish, prices will drop. If that happens, it might be worth fishing something else for a while, until prices improve again.
For example, many writers will recommend you catch a specific fish, traditionally Stonescale Eel. Maybe these fish are still valuable on your auction house, maybe not. But if every angler were to catch them, the price would drop and a different fish would make more money. The secret to making gold from fishing is not "one fish", but to know which fish are likely to sell well at your local auction house.
This chapter includes guide prices for auctioned fish, but read these with caution - "your mileage will vary".
Fishing for You
There is more to "value" than just selling fish for gold or using them to support raiding.
Some gear caught while fishing can be sold at auction. One of the single most valuable tradable items, The 2 Ring, is gained by fishing. Expect to earn hundreds of gold by selling that. Its namesake, the The 1 Ring is not especially useful, however it carries exceptional novelty value, so can still be sold at auction for tens of gold.
And some things gained from fishing neither have use, nor can be traded, but are still "valuable". The minipets - the Magical Crawdad and the "Bucket Pets" - are the best example: You'll just want one...
- Tessie's Auction House FAQ - Guide to using (and making money from) the auction house.
- Also in the Valuable Fish chapter: Buff Food, Supplies, Gear, Minipets, and Other Valuable Fished Items.