How to Fish in Red Dead Redemption 2

Fishing was a popular pastime with outlaws if Red Dead Redemption 2 is to be believed. Rockstar Games have created an enjoyable side pursuit that supports your character’s chances of survival in the Wild West and beyond. It can be quite an involving process, so we have created this guide so you can get fishing right away. There are various fish available within the game world and you need to know all about them. This guide will also help you with the legendary fish available.

When Can You Fish in Red Dead 2?

The fishing mini game is unlocked after completing the Chapter 2 story mission, “A Fisher of Men”. In this mission, Arthur Morgan teaches a young Jack Marston how to fish. This also serves as your introduction to the fishing system in the game.

How to Fish in Red Dead Redemption

First, you need your fishing rod – you can find this in the item wheel. A bait must then be attached to lure the fish.

Hold LT/R2 to grip your rod and then press RT/R2 to cast your line. The longer you hold down RT/R2, the further your cast goes. It may take a few goes to get the bait exactly where you want it, but it feels rewarding when you get it right.

What happens next will be dependent on the bait you have used. With a bobber on the end of your rod, you sit and wait for a bite. You can tap RT/R2 to attract nearby fish but if you do it too much, you will only scare the fish. With a lure on the end, you have to slowly reel the line until you feel a bite.

When you see a fish in the body of water, cast your line beyond it and reel in your lure so the fish sees it coming by. Wait until you get a strong bite before you strike as some fish will have a few nibbles before being hooked.

Once the fish is hooked, it will fight back. Your fishing line will get tight and your rod will bend. Wait until the fish becomes tired because of their efforts before reeling them in. Trying to reel in fish as it is tugging will cause your line to break.

When the fish is on the line, push the left stick in the opposite direction of their tugging to make it tire out faster. Push the right stick in to prevent the fish from taking more of the line out. However, you must be careful when doing this approach as the line can snap very easily. The line also snaps if a fish pulls away behind an object.

Reeling in

Rotate the right stick counter-clockwise to reel in your catch. Once the fish has gone tired, you need to reel it in as fast as possible. You must also consider how much line is out in the water, how taut your line is and where your fish is in the water. You can speed up the process by pushing the left stick down as it puts the fish directly in front of Arthur.

What fight you will get from the fish will depend on the size and type of the fish. Bluegills, rock bass and smallmouth bass are easy to reel in. Conversely, sturgeons and sockeye salmons will put up a fight that will take up more of your time. If your line snaps, your bait or lure will be lost. Don’t get frustrated, as there are plenty of fish available in the numerous lakes, rivers and swamps across the RDR 2 map.

Types of Bait

To add realism to the fishing system, select the correct bait if you want to reel in a bigger or legendary fish. Basic bait such as bread, corn and cheese will get you small fish. Spend your Red Dead Redemption 2 money on worms and crayfish to land bigger fish. Lures are specific to the water type such as rivers, lakes and swamps. Special lures are needed to catch bigger and legendary fish.


  • Bread: smaller fish
  • Corn: smaller fish
  • Cheese: smaller fish
  • Worms: medium-sized lake fish
  • Crayfish: large fish in deep rivers and lakes
  • Crickets: medium-sized river fish



  • River lure: all small and medium-sized fish in rivers
  • Lake lure: attracts larger fish in lakes
  • Swamp lure: medium and large size fish in swamps
  • Special River lure: medium to large river fish
  • Special Lake lure: medium to large lake fish
  • Special Swamp lure: medium to large swamp fish

Baits and Lures You Need for Each Fish

Take a trip to a Bait and Tackle shop – it sells all you need to fish in Red Dead 2. This includes your live worms, crayfish and the rest of the lures. There is one in the Bayou near Saint Denis that you will come across first.

There are numerous types of fish within Red Dead Redemption 2. Here is a quick list of some of them and what you can use to catch them:

  • Bluegill – Cheese
  • Bullhead Catfish – Cheese or corn
  • Rock Bass – Cheese or other natural baits
  • Chain Pickerel – Corn
  • Redfin Pickerel – Bread
  • Steelhead Trout – Worms
  • Lake Sturgeon – Lake Lure
  • Largemouth Bass – Crayfish
  • Smallmouth Bass – Any natural bait
  • Muskie – Lake lure
  • Sockeye Salmon – River lure

Where to Fish in Red Dead Redemption 2

It matters what time of day you fish in terms of your success. Most fish will bite during the early morning and afternoon because bugs fly closer to the surface. It is also a great opportunity to fish when it rains since there will be more bugs around.

In addition to times of the day, you will need to fish in particular places for specific fish:

  • Bluegill – All lakes and rivers with more activity during rain
  • Bullhead Catfish – Swamps; rain
  • Rock bass – Clear water in the country. Very active during sunny days
  • Chain Pickerel – Lakes, rivers and swamps. Active most during sunny weather
  • Redfin Pickerel – Rivers in the south; warm, sunny days
  • Steelhead Trout – Lakes in the south; rain
  • Lake Sturgeon – Southern lakes and swamps; overcast weather
  • Largemouth Bass – Waters in the south; rain
  • Smallmouth Bass – Northern rivers; during rain
  • Muskie – Northern lakes; overcast days
  • Sockeye Salmon – Rivers in the north; overcast weather

Enormous fish swim near the mouths of waterfalls, so try there if you are in need of success. You will also be able to upgrade your camp to include a boat, allowing you to swim out to find fish in deeper sections.

Legendary Fish

At Gill Landing, you will meet a world famous fisherman named Gill. Arthur humorously says he has never heard of him before being handed a very interesting map showing the locations of all the legendary fish in the game. It is up to you to go find them and send them to Gill for a reward – a good way to make money in Red Dead 2! These are the toughest fish in the game and will require special lures to acquire them. During free roam, if you pass a place where a legendary fish is based, Arthur will mark it on your map. This allows you to quickly return if you choose to do so another time.

A good tip for catching legendary fish is by luring ones close to the shore. This means it will take less time and effort to catch them.

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