The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (2024)

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The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (1)

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At face value, fishing might not be the electrifying sport most people are clamoring for. It's no secret that sports like football and basketball have more extensive fan bases. This is why few AAA fishing games exist, and fishing is mainly used as a small feature in video games. That's not to say fishing can't be a rousing hobby that translates well into video games.

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Fishing appeared in some of the earliest video games, yet some series' fishing mechanics haven't changed a bit. Fishing in games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Final Fantasy XV adds more depth to the overall package, providing players with a relaxing yet realistic experience that can serve as a welcome distraction from the main questline.

In addition to the best fishing games, this list will include some of the best fishing mini-games found in other titles.

Updated January 7, 2024, by Tom Bowen: Though there are plenty of big AAA games that include basic fishing mechanics, few, if any, can compare to a title that's been designed entirely around the sport. These realistic fishing games can be incredibly enjoyable when they're done well and can also be a great way for players to learn about the intricacies of real-world fishing as they play. For those who've had enough of CoD and now find themselves looking for the reel deal, these excellent fishing games are a great plaice to start.

20 Pokemon Sword & Shield

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (6)
Pokemon Sword and Shield
Developer(s)
Game Freak

Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Platform(s)
Switch

Released
November 15, 2019

They might not have the most advanced fishing mechanics, but Pokemon Sword & Shield do have the best fishing in the mainline Pokemon series. Fishing in the eighth-generation games is as straightforward as finding a black circle and then casting the rod's line into the water.

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Players won't find a massive bass, however, but instead an assortment of Pokemon with different sizes and appearances. Fishing has hardly changed since the franchise's earlier generations though, so some may feel that the time has come for Pokemon to follow other AAA video games and incorporate more advanced fishing mechanics in future entries. Sadly, Scarlet & Violet somehow manage to feel like a backward step in this regard.

19 Far Cry 6

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (8)
Far Cry 6
Developer(s)
Ubisoft
Publisher(s)
Ubisoft
Platform(s)
PS5 , PS4 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S , Xbox One , PC , Stadia

Released
October 6, 2021

It took a while for fishing to come to the Far Cry franchise, with the first game to feature the mechanic being Far Cry 5 in 2018. Given that wild animals and hunting have played an important role in the series since its second installment a decade prior, this may come as a surprise to some. Either way though, it's definitely a case of better late than never.

The fishing mechanics in Far Cry 5 are pretty good, but the ones found in the game's 2021 sequel are even better. There is a wide array of fish for players to catch and even an upgrade system that can be accessed through the game's fishing hut. Upgrading the hut will reward players with additional pieces of the fishing outfit too, which can be used to make fishing that little bit easier.

18 The Catch: Carp & Coarse

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (9)

Rather than simply focusing on how many fish players are able to catch or the weight of their total bounty, The Catch: Carp & Coarse takes a somewhat different approach. Players visit lakes, rivers, and oceans all across the globe and are tasked with reeling in one of each of the game's 35 unique species of fish.

The game also features a multiplayer mode for competitive fishing as well as more than 100 special "Boss Fish" which are designed to really put players' skill and know-how to the test. There's plenty of licensed equipment for an air of realism too and the graphics are surprisingly impressive considering the game's fairly modest budget.

17 Shenmue 3

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (10)
Shenmue 3

Developer(s)
Ys Net
Publisher(s)
Deep Silver
Platform(s)
PC , PS4

Released
November 19, 2019

At the time of its release, few video game series provided players with quite as much freedom as Shenmue. While they're not scouring the streets of Dobuita for sailors, players can kick back and enjoy a wide range of side activities; the long list of which has only grown with each subsequent installment. It's perhaps a little surprising that duck racing was added first, but fishing finally came to the franchise in 2019's Shenmue 3.

Granted, the fishing mechanics in Shenmue 3 are incredibly basic, but there's something strangely relaxing about fishing in Bailu and Niaowu. It can serve as a nice change of pace, and finding new spots in which to fish — either through exploration or by getting tips from the locals — can be a lot of fun too. It's also a great way to earn money, which is something that players will need an awful lot of if they hope to complete the game's main story.

16 The Sims 4

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (11)
The Sims 4
Developer(s)
Maxis

Publisher(s)
Electronic Arts
Platform(s)
PS4 , Xbox One , PC

Released
September 2, 2014

The Sims 4 is another game that shoehorns in a lot of different ideas and mechanics, with fishing just one of the numerous activities that players can do to earn a little extra scratch. Again, there's very little depth to the actual fishing part and not too much player interaction required either, but it does offer something that very few other games with fishing mechanics do: customizability.

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Players can create their own bodies of water, deciding what types of fish will be in them and how many there will be. They can also improve their Sims' fishing skills to unlock more valuable fish later on, thus rewarding them more and more for their hard work over time. Certain elements are oversimplified quite a bit more than some might like, but this does help to make the mechanic a lot more accessible.

15 Tales of Arise

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (13)
Tales of Arise
Developer(s)
Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher(s)
Bandai Namco Studios
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , PS5 , Xbox One , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S

Released
September 10, 2021

In recent years, it's become popular for developers to throw in as many different mechanics as possible in order to present the illusion of choice. In reality, though, all that players are really being offered is a series of half-baked ideas that contribute very little to the overall experience. Many modern games include lazy fishing mechanics as a result, but Tales of Arise isn't one of them.

The game features 44 different types of fish spread across 12 different locations, with each one responding differently to certain lures as well as the way that players jiggle them. Upon catching the fish, players can either sell them for money or use them to cook up a wide array of meals that provide stat boosts and other perks for a set amount of time. Finding all 44 types of fish in Tales of Arise really isn't too much of a chore and the fishing part can be quite relaxing too.

14 Rapala Fishing: Pro Series

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (14)
Rapala Fishing: Pro Series

Developer
Game Mill

Publisher
Game Mill
Platform(s)
PS4 , Xbox One , Switch

Released
October 16, 2018

Those with even a passing interest in fishing will likely know all about Rapala lures already. For anybody who's unfamiliar though, they're generally considered to be some of the very best in the world. With that in mind, it's easy to see why a developer would be keen to attach the Rapala name to its fishing video game.

Though perhaps not as revolutionary as the lures from which it took its name, the Rapala Fishing series looks great and really captures the nuances of fishing. The daily tournaments help to keep things feeling fresh, while the option to use real-world weather conditions is also a nice touch for those seeking a genuine experience.

13 Sega Bass Fishing

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (15)
Sega Bass Fishing
Developer(s)
Sega
Publisher(s)
Sega
Platform(s)
Dreamcast , PC , PS3 , Xbox 360 , Wii

Released
April 1, 1999

Nintendo received a lot of plaudits for bringing motion controls to the home console market with the Wii, but its old rival Sega had already beaten them to the punch by quite a few years by that point. Sega Bass Fishing, which started life as an arcade game, came bundled with a fishing rod controller on the Dreamcast, and this allowed players to cast their lines with the flick of a wrist, rather than the push of a button.

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At the time of its release, it was one of the most realistic fishing games on the market and its tight arcade gameplay made it incredibly moreish. Its visuals may not have aged too well in the two decades since, but it's still a lot of fun to play and remains a great way to kill a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

12 Fishing: North Atlantic

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (17)
Fishing: North Atlantic

Developer
Misc Games

Publisher
Misc Games
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
October 16, 2020

Fishing: North Atlantic is fairly unique in that it focuses on pretty much every aspect of commercial fishing rather than just the standard cast and reel. Granted, for some, reeling in a big one is the only part that really matters, but those interested in the nitty-gritty side of the sport will find a lot to like here.

The game looks beautiful and runs perfectly well even on mid-level machines. The simulation elements are well-realized, and while some are a lot more enjoyable than others, there are enough activities to keep players busy for hours on end. There are one or two bugs and glitches here and there, but overall stability is improving with each new update and patch.

11 Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (18)
Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour

Developer(s)
Dovetail Games

Publisher(s)
Maximum Games
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
September 17, 2018

Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour doesn't get everything quite right, but it's still an excellent fishing game nonetheless. It looks great, features a wide variety of fish and fishing spots, and offers a solid, albeit, unspectacular multiplayer mode. Where it really shines, however, is through its brilliant career mode.

Players start out as inexperienced anglers and must work their way up through the ranks by winning tournaments and other competitions. The fishing mechanics are realistic too, making it a great way for people who are new to the sport to learn about weather conditions and bait types as they attempt to out-fish their 100+ virtual rivals.

10 Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (19)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Developer(s)
Nintendo EPD

Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Platform(s)
Switch

Released
March 20, 2020

Fishing has always played an important role in Nintendo's Animal Crossing franchise, but none more so than in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Set on a small island in the middle of the ocean, players find themselves surrounded by water on all sides, providing them with the perfect excuse to pull out a rod and partake in a spot of fishing. It's a nice way to unwind, but also a great way to earn a few extra Bells.

Though the fishing mechanics themselves are nothing to write home about, the depth of the game's ecosystem is somewhat impressive. There are 80 fish in total, many of which can only be caught during certain seasons or at certain times of the day. As of the 1.30 update, players can also dive under the water while swimming to catch a wide array of ocean creatures, including crabs, squids, and octopuses.

9 Euro Fishing

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (20)
Euro Fishing

Developer(s)
Dovetail Games

Publisher(s)
Dovetail Games
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
November 3, 2015

For a game based solely on fishing, Euro Fishing offers surprisingly immersive gameplay. Players can become masterful anglers by practicing in this simulation game, learning all about lures, bait types, and other useful information about fishing as they do so.

As one might expect, there is lots of waiting while playing the game, meaning the anticipation can often be cut with a knife. From an enjoyability standpoint, Euro Fishing missed the mark a little, but the game showed lots of promise in its early days. Love or hate it, it's hard to deny that Euro Fishing offers a more realistic experience than most other fishing games.

8 Stardew Valley

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (21)
Stardew Valley

Developer(s)
ConcernedApe

Publisher(s)
ConcernedApe
Platform(s)
PC , Xbox One , Android , iOS , PS4 , Switch

Released
February 26, 2016

Stardew Valley's stellar fishing is attributed to the types of fish and its relaxing nature. Certain fish appear during the off-season, yet fishing in the game is a year-round sport. To catch fish in Stardew Valley, press the Use Tool button and gauge the meter for distance.

Despite having layers of depth, Stardew Valley can lack immersion as the 16-bit graphics are on par with a Super Nintendo game. Resembling a retro simulation game, Stardew Valley's Pelican Town is the setting for highly relaxing fishing.

7 The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (22)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Developer(s)
Grezzo

Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Platform(s)
Switch

Released
September 20, 2019

Found in the Northern section of Mabe Village is a subtle feature that must be experienced. 2019's The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remake contains a fishing mini-game that expands upon the one found in the original Game Boy title by adding fish types and more polished gameplay mechanics.

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There are fish like the Runt, Lunker, and Cheep Cheep that make the catch incredibly satisfying. Also, there is the overarching goal of catching the prize of the pond, Ol' Baron. Those who are able to catch Ol' Baron will be handsomely rewarded with at least 90 Rupees.

6 Ark: Survival Evolved

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (24)
ARK: Survival Evolved
Developer(s)
Studio Wildcard
Publisher(s)
Studio Wildcard
Platform(s)
Linux , macOS , PC , PS4 , Xbox One , Stadia , Switch , iOS , Android

Released
August 29, 2017

The action-adventure survival game Ark: Survival Evolved takes fishing to a whole new level with a fishing net. This item was added as part of the Expansion Pack Genesis: Part 1 and is just one of many big improvements that have been made to the game since its somewhat underwhelming launch.

A fishing net might not be for everyone, which is why the game's devs have incorporated other options. Ark: Survival Evolved includes a fishing rod, which yields different sizes and types of fish depending on the bait used. Expect to catch Sabertooth Salmon and Piranhas when fishing in-game; some players might also find rare treasures.

5 World of Warcraft

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (25)
World of Warcraft
Developer(s)
Blizzard
Publisher(s)
Blizzard
Platform(s)
PC

Released
November 23, 2004

If someone is in the mood for relaxing fishing and doesn't want to get into the sport's complexities, World of Warcraft is a must-play. The game's subscription structure might put certain people off, but those who are already subscribed to the game should definitely give fishing a try if they haven't already.

Although numerous water bodies make the fishing fantastic, it might be time for this MMORPG to switch to a free-to-play model. Subscribers, however, play the game regularly, relishing the opportunity to go fishing. It's just one of many activities that players can partake in and a great way to unwind after a challenging mission or raid.

4 Red Dead Redemption 2

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (26)
Red Dead Redemption 2
Developer(s)
Rockstar Games
Publisher(s)
Rockstar Games
Platform(s)
PS4 , Xbox One , PC , Stadia

Released
October 26, 2018

Rockstar Games is continually going above and beyond by incorporating features outside the main story in its games. Fishing is initially introduced in the main story of Red Dead Redemption 2, but the bulk of the content is experienced in free roam.

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Grab a fishing pole from the inventory, bait the rod, and cast it into a body of water. Red Dead Redemption 2 contains an abundance of marine wildlife, including some legendary fish that are incredibly valuable. As such, fishing in Red Dead 2 can be a great way to earn a bit of extra money while also taking a break from the chaos of the main story.

3 Fishing Resort

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (28)
Fishing Resort

Developer
Prope

Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Platform(s)
Wii

Released
August 4, 2011

Naturally, since the game was released on the Nintendo Wii, Fishing Resort utilizes motion controls. There are 216 fish species contained in this game, making it one of the most comprehensive fishing games ever released. They all look fairly realistic too, which may surprise some considering the game's cartoonish art style.

Since fishing is the main component of the title, and it's not only a side feature, Fishing Resort is quite polished. The largest fish in the game is Dunkleosteus, a prehistoric fish that is extremely rare. Even with a 39-hour completion time, few players have caught the magnificent creature.

2 Sea of Thieves

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (29)
Sea of Thieves
Developer(s)
Rare
Publisher(s)
Microsoft Game Studios
Platform(s)
Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S , Xbox One , PC

Released
March 20, 2018

Starting out as a lackluster pirate adventure, Sea of Thieves has evolved into so much more. According to seaofthieves.com, "Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll rank up with The Hunter’s Call" - and rank up players have.

Compared to the various swashbuckling adventures that populate the game, fishing provides an incredibly relaxing way to pass the time. It also has benefits such as providing food, although catches will need to be cooked before players can tuck into their bounty.

1 Fishing Planet

The 20 Best Fishing Games of All Time, Ranked (30)
Fishing Planet

Developer
Fishing Planet, LLC

Publisher
Fishing Planet, LLC
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
August 11, 2015

Hands down, Fishing Planet is the most immersive and exciting fishing game on the market. It's as close as players will ever get to doing the real thing without leaving their own homes. Of course, this does bring with it one or two downsides, particularly for players who don't like waiting around.

Expect to grind levels in this game while catching an assortment of fish. The attention to detail is impressive and, to top things off, Fishing Planet is using a free-to-play model that seems to work well. The game is widely available on platforms like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, so there's no excuse not to check it out.

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