Fishing Guide – Valuable Fish

This chapter describes the most valuable fish, and how to catch them. It also covers some of the more unusual items that can be caught while fishing. In this chapter:

“Those of us that fish for profit love those of you who do not. By all means, please don’t fish.” – JFoobar

What is “Valuable”?

Most fish sell to vendors for a few Coppers. The value of fish is therefore entirely its value to other people. Either what people are prepared to pay at the Auction House, or how pleased people are when you give them some fish.

Most fish is only used as pet food or a light snack. These can easily be gained from other sources. There are a small number of fish that are required by other people, and can only be gained by fishing. 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.

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.

The fish listed here are the types of fish that are likely to be considered valuable – valuable enough to make it worth someone fishing for them. Read the precise prices with caution – “your mileage will vary”. Lastly, pools are increasingly the most profitable form of fishing, so be sure to read the Pools and Wreckage chapter.

Alchemists’ Fish

There are three types of fish that are required by Alchemists. Since not all alchemists enjoy fishing, or have the patience to learn, all three of these fish are in demand. Falchan notes, “Oily Blackmouth and Firefin Snappers are somewhat valuable, though since the [appearance] of the fish schools, they have become easier to get, and the markets flood, making the fish less valuable.”

Alchemists’ Fish
FishApproximate Value (each)Where to CatchRequired to make
Firefin Snapper2-8sCoastal areas in most level 20+ zones. Firefin Snappers can also be caught from pools called “Firefin Snapper School”, found along the coast of Arathi Highlands, Azshara, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas, Hillsbrad Foothills, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris, and Wetlands. The “Oil Spill” pools in Stonetalon Mountains are the only known inland location these fish can be caught.Fire Oil (2 fish per oil).
Oily Blackmouth2-10sCoastal areas in most level 10-40 zones. Inland water in Azshara, Felwood, Feralas, The Hinterlands, Maraudon, Moonglade, The Temple of Atal’Hakkar, Un’Goro Crater, and Western Plaguelands. Oily Blackmouth can also be caught from pools called “Oily Blackmouth School”, found along the coast of Arathi Highlands, Azshara, Darkshore, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas, Hillsbrad Foothills, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris, The Barrens, Westfall, and Wetlands.Blackmouth Oil (2 fish per oil).
Stonescale Eel25s-1gCoastal areas in Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris, The Hinterlands, and Strangelthorn Vale (Jaguero Isle only). Catch rates are best in Azshara (Bay of Storms area) between 00:00 and 06:00 – see the Catching Stonescale Eels topic. Stonescale Eels may be caught from pools called “Stonescale Eel Swarm” in coastal regions of Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris, and the southern half of Stranglethorn.Stonescale Oil (1 fish per oil).

Alchemists also use Deviate Fish to make Elixir of Giant Growth. The Argent Dawn also request Stonescale Eels. These uses are described below.

Stonescale Eels are particularly popular among “raiding” guilds that battle their way through the hardest dungeons. Stonescale Oil is used in several consumable potions, such as Flask of the Titans and Greater Stoneshield Potion, which help keep warrior “tanks” alive. Andrew adds, “one of the big demand drivers for these fish [Stonescale Eels] now is that the oil is required for one of the steps in upgrading Tier 0 armour to Tier 0.5.”

Deviate Fish

Deviates may be caught from the three oasis or the Wailing Caverns (a dungeon) in the Barrens. The fish may be caught from open water or pools of Deviate Fish. The Wailing Caverns so can be safely entered alone by more experienced people for the purpose of fishing ((it is a level 17-24 instance)).

Alchemists use Raw Deviate Fish to make Elixir of Giant Growth. The recipe is a rarely carried by creatures in the Barrens, so the raw fish are not frequently demanded, particularly among Alliance.

Raw Deviate Fish can be eaten, giving one of the following “effects” (from nachers): Additional Spirit ((+5 for 30 minutes)) or health (an instant heal or rejuvenation over time), reductions in Stamina and Strength for 2 minutes, 30 seconds of sleep, or random dancing and waving ((“Party Time”, for 2 minutes)). These fish aren’t worth eating raw.

Deviate Fish are best cooked. Originally, when eaten, Savory Deviate Delight gave one of several unusual effects. However, it has been reported that Savory Deviate Delight now only has one of two effects: Changing the person eating it into either a pirate ((“Yaaarrrr”)) or a ninja ((“Flip Out”)) for an hour. In addition to the curious visual change, both the pirate and ninja forms cannot be turned into sheep, frogs, turtles or any other creature those traditional mages decide upon ((immune to polymorph effects – from Swiftlady)). The ninja form doesn’t alter the loot your party gains when in dungeons.

Creatures in the Barrens sometimes carry the recipe for Savory Deviate Delight. About 1 in 1000 of all creatures there “drop” it when killed. The Barrens is a predominantly occupied by the Horde, so the recipe is exceptionally rare among the Alliance. Expect to pay at least 10 gold for the recipe at the Auction House (Alliance should look at the Steamwheedle Cartel auction houses) – up to 50 gold in some cases.

Savory Deviate Delight typically sell for 25 silver or more each (5 gold per stack of 20). When fishing in open water, about 15-25% (one in five to seven) of the fish you catch will be Raw Deviate Fish – that’s about 30 an hour. Deviates can be caught by relatively inexperienced fishermen and women: The raw fish is found in a level 10-20 zone, and only level 18 is required to cook them. This makes them very lucrative at medium level. Where the factions are at war ((PvP realms)) Alliance have to enter hostile territory catch Deviates. This tends to increase prices at their auction house. However, most Horde in these areas are young, so not much of a threat to experienced Alliance fishermen and women. Alternatively, Alliance may enter the Wailing Caverns and fish without Horde interference.

Argent Dawn Fish

With the first scourge invasion ((patch 1.11)) the Argent Dawn launched a series of quests called “Craftsman’s Writs”. The quests start at Light’s Hope Chapel in the Eastern Plaguelands (They Call Me “The Rooster”). There are 24 different quests, all of which require items “produced” by professions. Three of the quests require fish. Completing each quest gives a token which can be traded in for armaments. When first introduced, these quests created a demand for the three fish at the auction house. Most people have since realised that it is quicker and more reliable to collect items like Core of Elements or Savage Fronds instead.

Fish Required for Argent Dawn Quests
FishApproximate Value (each)Where to CatchQuest
Lightning Eel25s?Inland areas in most level 40+ zones, such as Azshara, Deadwind Pass, Eastern Plaguelands, Felwood, Feralas, The Hinterlands, Un’Goro Crater, Western Plaguelands, Winterspring, and Zul’Gurub. Lightning Eel can also be caught in the Alterac Valley battleground. Note that Winterspring and dungeons require at least 330 base fishing skill. Places like Feralas and The Hinterlands require a lower skill (205). Alterac Valley is reported to have a much lower base fishing skill requirement (under 100). Catch rates are best in the highest skill-requirement areas, such as Winterspring, between 12:00 and 18:00.Craftsman’s Writ – Lightning Eel (30 fish).
Plated Armorfish25s?Burning Steppes (Dreadmaul Rock), Deadwind Pass, Eastern Plaguelands, Feralas (Jademir Lake only), Scholomance, Silithus (Hive’Regal), Stratholme, Winterspring, and Zul’Gurub. Plated Armorfish can also be caught in the Alterac Valley battleground. All these areas have a base fishing skill requirement of 330, except Alterac Valley. Catch rates are best between 00:00 and 06:00.Craftsman’s Writ – Plated Armorfish (30 fish).
Stonescale Eel25s-1gCoastal areas in Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris, The Hinterlands, and Strangelthorn Vale (Jaguero Isle only). Catch rates are best in Azshara (Bay of Storms area) between 00:00 and 06:00 – see the Catching Stonescale Eels topic. Stonescale Eels may be caught from pools called “Stonescale Eel Swarm” in coastal regions of Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris, and the southern half of Stranglethorn.Craftsman’s Writ – Stonescale Eel (40 fish).

If you have both a Lightning Eel and a Plated Armorfish writ, then you can fish 06:00-12:00 or 18:00-00:00. Both fish appear together in reasonable quantities at these times. If you fish at the optimum time and location, Lightning Eel or Plated Armorfish writs will take about an hour to complete. Stonescale Eel writs take about 90 minutes of fishing.

Fish-based Food that Gives Buffs

Most fish can be cooked once you know the appropriate recipe. While tasty, the majority of cooked fish only recover health when eaten. Consequently they have no special value. Some cooked fish give “buffs” ((either improvements to attributes, or health or mana regeneration)). These buffs are poor in comparison to the buffs from most Alchemy potions. So, while it is possible to sell these fish (cooked) at the Auction House, the fish may not sell well. I cannot recommend specifically fishing for these to make money, but you may find yourself catching them while trying to catch something else.

Fish-based Food that Gives Buffs
Cooked FoodMinimum Level (to eat)BuffDuration (minutes)FishWhere to Catch
Cooked Glossy Mightfish35+10 Stamina10Raw Glossy MightfishCoastal areas in most level 40+ zones, including Azshara (except Bay of Storms area), Feralas, Tanaris and The Hinterlands.
Grilled Squid35+10 Agility10Winter SquidCoastal areas in most level 40+ zones, including Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris and The Hinterlands. Can only be caught in winter (between autumn (fall) and spring equinoxes). Best catch rate 12:00-18:00 in the Bay of Storms area of Azshara – see the Catching Winter Squid topic.
Hot Smoked Bass35+10 Spirit10Raw Summer BassCoastal areas in most level 40+ zones, including Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris and The Hinterlands. Can only be caught in summer (between spring and autumn (fall) equinoxes).
Mightfish Steak45+10 Stamina10Large Raw MightfishAzshara Bay of Storms area.
Nightfin Soup358 Mana/5 seconds10Raw Nightfin SnapperInland areas in most level 45+ zones, including Felwood, Feralas, Plaguelands, Tanaris, The Hinterlands, and high-level dungeons such as Zul’Gurub and Scholomance. Catch rate is highest between 00:00 and 06:00. Cannot be caught between 12:00 and 18:00.
Poached Sunscale Salmon356 Health/5 seconds10Raw Sunscale SalmonInland areas in most level 45+ zones, including Felwood, Feralas, Plaguelands, Tanaris, The Hinterlands, and high-level dungeons such as Zul’Gurub and Scholomance. Catch rate is highest between 12:00 and 18:00. Cannot be caught between 00:00 and 06:00.
Sagefish Delight306 Mana/5 seconds15Raw Greater SagefishPools called “Greater Sagefish School”, found in inland areas of Alterac Mountains (Lordamere Lake) and Stranglethorn Vale (Lake Nazferiti area).
Smoked Sagefish103 Mana/5 seconds15Raw SagefishPools called “Sagefish School”, found in inland areas of Ashenvale, Hillsbrad Foothills, Loch Modan, Silverpine Forest and Stonetalon Mountains (Mirkfallon Lake).

Pearls

Big-mouth Clams can be caught while fishing in most coastal level 40+ zones, such as Azshara, Feralas, Tanaris and The Hinterlands. These clams always contain Zesty Clam Meat. However, they sometimes contain one or more pearls. In order of increasing rarity:

Black Pearls are found in around 1 in 20 of clams. Golden Pearl are found in less than 1 in 100. It is possible to gain more than one pearl from a clam, but very rare. Various professions use pearls. Only the Golden Pearl is especially valuable – it often sells for more than 10 gold.

Catch rates for clams are poorly understood. For example, time of day seems to be a factor, but it is not consistent between areas: At Feralas, it is not possible to catch them late at night (after 00:00), but in Azshara it is possible to catch them late at night (see the Variation by Time topic for further discussion). Regardless of time of day, killing certain monsters is more effective than fishing for clams.

Heavy Fish

A wide variety of above-average weight fish may be caught, such as the 10 Pound Mud Snapper. Known types are Catfish, Grouper, Lobster, Mightfish, Mud Snapper, Redgill, and Salmon. Catch rates are around 1 in 100. The heaviest fish are Mightfish. I’ve caught some in Azshara that are almost as heavy as I am!

These fish cannot be cooked and eaten. Some can be held ((equipped in the off-hand)), although they do no damage in combat. However, “I found out I can feed the off-hand fish to my pets that eat fish! The big catfish I caught out of a pond in the Barrens made my pet lion Daniel plenty satisfied” (Anon).

There are at least two fish that act as offensive weapons: Steelscale Crushfish and Rockhide Strongfish. Both are classed as maces.

Equipment and Supplies

Occasionally equipment or supplies can be caught when fishing. Less than 1 in 100 catches in open water will be equipment or supplies. Trunks containing supplies are far more commonly found in pools – see the Pools and Wreckage chapter for details of these.

When fishing inland, items are not contained in boxes. Items caught include potions (typically healing and mana), and “uncommon” equipment, such as armor and weapons. The level of the items reflects the level of the zone it was caught in: For example, a Minor Healing Potion might be caught in Dun Morogh, while a Superior Healing Potion might be caught in Feralas.

When fishing on the coast, items are contained within a chest or container. Some of these chests are locked. Locked boxes can be opened by a skilled rogue or by using Blacksmiths’ skeleton keys. Commonly locked chests contain single bolts of cloth or leather. They rarely contain equipment. Some non-locked boxes contain goods that formerly belonged to the Venture Company, such as blasting powders. Perhaps they employ a lot of careless deck hands. As with inland fishing, the contents of a chest reflects the level of the zone it was caught in.

Messages in a Bottle appear at coastal locations in lower-level areas ((possibly only 10-30, although I have not seen one recently)), such as Ratchet and Menethil Harbor. Sulfurdust suggests, “their rate of catch seems to increase greatly near Lighthouses.” Unfortunately this theory is hard to prove or disprove with such low catch rates. Most messages in a bottle contain minor scrolls. Some contain recipes, formulas and similar instructions that professional skills can be learnt from. Occasionally messages in a bottle will contain just that – a message: One of a series of three Damp Diary pages (4, 87 and 512) which tell of one mystery shipwreck survivor’s battle with bananas. Fascinating.

Most equipment caught when fishing is not unique to water – similar items are also carried by monsters. An exception is The 1 Ring. This is an exceptionally rare catch from inland fishing areas in low-level zones, such as Orgrimmar, Stormwind, and oasis in the Barrens. The ring gives a minor (+1) bonus to all personal attributes. It is almost useless. However, the ring does have exceptional novelty value. It is likely to sell for ten or more gold at the Auction House. Take my advice though – if you do happen to catch it, don’t try and find the 2 Ring (the inscription on the ring reads “not quite as good as the 2 Ring”): Nobody has every found it. ((The One Ring is, of course, a shameless reference to Lord of the Rings. The reason I’m confident the ring can only be found in low-level inland fishing grounds – the only place Thottbot records it – is because such areas best reflect the location the famous ring is found in the books.))

Ashbringer

For a long time The Ashbringer was – quite literally – a legendary 2-handed sword: Rumoured to be caught by fishing, but yet never found. The last page of Nat Pagle’s Guide to Extreme Anglin’ reads, “…And so that’s where you’ll find the legendary sword of the Scarlet Highlord, Ashbringer. Ain’t it amazin’ what you run into in an ordinary day of fishin’?” Unfortunately, only the last page of Nat Pagle’s Guide to Extreme Anglin’ has ever been recovered, along with copies that can’t be read anymore. Since the description is in a book like this one – about fishing – people assume Ashbringer can be caught while fishing.

However, Zul’Gurub reveals Nat Pagle to be rather more adventurous than most of us. Nat’s Measuring Tape can be found there, along with his Broken Reel. Any preconceptions about the man are finally shattered by Nat Pagle’s Fish Terminator – “The inscription reads: Fishin’s fer sissies – Nat Pagle”. And it can’t even be used to catch fish. Oh my! I suppose that’s what happens when you drink too much Darkmoon Special Reserve while fishing.

After extensive personal research into the effects of Darkmoon Special Reserve on fishing ability, I now doubt that Mr Pagle ever caught the Ashbringer while fishing. I can’t even reel in my line, and certainly cannot tell what type of fish I have caught! Recently the Argent Dawn has started to discuss the Corrupted Ashbringer, which is rumoured to exist in Naxxramas. So if the Ashbringer does exist, I doubt it will be found by fishing.

Further Reading