'ARK: Survival Evolved' Guide: How To Fish

ARK: Survival Evolved introduced a fishing mechanic with the release of PC patch 245, while Xbox One users await a coming update. The new feature turns out to be a solid method of picking up rare items beyond simple fish meat.

Fishing Rod and Bait

The first step to fishing is crafting a Fishing Rod. Survivors will need to have unlocked the Bow engram and reached level 15 to unlock the Fishing Rod engram at a cost of 15 EP. The crafting materials used to make a Primitive rod are basic – 12 wood, 50 fiber, and 20 thatch. Fishing Rods of varying quality can also be found in Supply Drops.

The bait is actually the more difficult half of the new fishing mechanic. The two resources that can currently be used as bait are Leech Blood and Tree Sap. Leech Blood means you'll need to be of high enough level to go into the swamps and kill Leeches. Additionally, Leech Blood spoils after three hours. So, you will want to carry only what you will need during your fishing trip unless you have a Preserving Bin or Refrigerator handy.

Meanwhile, the Tree Sap bait requires crafting a Tree Sap Tap to obtain, which has a level 35 engram unlock requirement. It also means you'll need to be of a high enough level to set up a tap in the Redwood biomes on The Center and The Island maps.

ARK: Survival Evolved - Fishing (PC, Xbox One)
Sitting on the dock of the bay. [Image via 'ARK: Survival Evolved']Fishing

ARK: Survival Evolved players can currently catch Sabertooth Salmon, Piranha, and Coelacanth while fishing. Using Leech Blood as bait is good for all three while Tree Sap is only used for Coelacanth.

Survivors will need to find a water location that has plenty of fish spawned. However, you will have to sit down to fish. You can either build a small pier with a chair or bench placed on it, or use a boat or dinosaur platform that also has the required seating arrangements. The best fishing spots are typically along the rivers, so mobility helps a great bit.

Equip the Fishing Rod to one of your hotbar slots and then drag/equip bait to the Fishing Rod just like you do with arrows for the bow. Sit your Survivor down and then click the left mouse button to cast out and begin fishing. This will consume one bait and you'll just need to wait around 30 seconds to a minute to get a bite.

ARK: Survival Evolved - Fishing Quicktime Event (PC, Xbox One)
The quick-time event for fishing is straight forward. [Image via 'ARK: Survival Evolved']Once you get a bite, ARK: Survival Evolved will initiate a quick-time event with an 18 second time limit. You'll need to press the correct sequence of keys before the timer runs out to successfully catch the fish.

If you press the wrong button, the line will snap and you will not catch the fish.


The loot you get from fishing depends on the size and quality rating of the fish caught. The higher the size and quality, the better rewards. Fish Meat is a guarantee, but more loot is offered for everything from Fiber to Angler Gel to Black Pearls.

ARK: Survival Evolved - Fishing Loot (PC, Xbox One)
Getting loot from a Coel. [Image via 'ARK: Survival Evolved']Here are the items confirmed so far that can be gained from catching fish in ARK: Survival Evolved:
  • Absorbent Substrate
  • Angler Gel
  • Black Pearl
  • Chitin
  • Cementing Paste
  • Charcoal
  • Crystal
  • Fiber
  • Flint
  • Gunpowder
  • Hide
  • Leech Blood
  • Metal
  • Metal Ingot
  • Obsidian
  • Oil
  • Organic Polymer
  • Pelt
  • Polymer
  • Rare Flower
  • Rare Mushroom
  • Raw Prime Meat
  • Sap
  • Silica Pearls
  • Sparkpowder
  • Stone
  • Thatch
  • Wood
  • Woolly Rhino Horn
Note that the fishing mechanic is currently buggy. The initial release saw players able to receive Ascendant Fishing Rods quite easily before Studio Wildcard pulled them from the fishing loot table. A patch fixed this issue, but there are now other issues like bait not being consumed each time the fishing rod is cast.

Have any tips for the fishing mechanic in ARK: Survival Evolved? Share them in the comments below!

ARK General Guides:

ARK Map Guide:ARK Taming Guides:[Image via Studio Wildcard]