To the casual fisherman or woman, there may seem to be a lot of variety in which fish can be caught in which zone. The pattern is actually very simple for open-water fishing. There is no need for a matrix that lists every fish and every zone.
Originally I studied the fishing entries in the Book of Thott in great detail. I summarised the fish catches recorded in each zone, splitting them into inland and coastal areas. I ignored "unreliable" data:
- Locations that cannot be mapped accurately.
- Fish types representing less than 2% of total catch (Thott's records include many accidental entries).
- Locations where the total catch recorded was less than 100 (except where I have personally fished there).
- Quest-only fish.
- Cross-boundary locations, such as rivers (it is not clear which zone the catch actually came from).
Later, Cataclysm catches were checked manually.
Pools have not been included in the gazetteer. Raw Sagefish and Raw Greater Sagefish catches have been ignored (these can only be caught from pools). Fortunately pools for Alchemy fish (Oily Blackmouth, Firefin Snapper, and Stonescale Eel) were (at the time of the original analysis) found in areas of sea where the fish can also be caught in open water.
I grouped zones where the same sets of fish were caught. These zone groups were used to create the gazetteers shown below.
The table below shows the zone groups that common types of freshwater (inland) fish can be caught in. "X" indicates the fish can be caught in zones within the zone group. The zones in each group are explained below the table.
|Raw Brilliant Smallfish||X||X||-||-||-||-|
|Raw Bristle Whisker Catfish||-||X||X||X||-||-|
|Raw Longjaw Mud Snapper||X||X||X||-||-||-|
|Raw Mithril Head Trout||-||-||-||X||X||-|
|Raw Nightfin Snapper||-||-||-||-||X||X|
|Raw Sunscale Salmon||-||-||-||-||X||X|
|Raw Whitescale Salmon||-||-||-||-||-||X|
Zone groups contain the following zones:
- Zone Group 1: Azuremyst Isle, Dun Morogh, Durotar, Elwynn Forest, Eversong Woods, Mulgore, Teldrassil and Tirisfal Glades.
- Zone Group 2: Azshara (General), Blackfathom Deeps, Bloodmyst Isle, Darkshore (Freshwater), Darnassus, The Deadmines, Ghostlands, Ironforge, Loch Modan, Northern Barrens, Orgrimmar, Redridge Mountains (General), Silverpine Forest, Stormwind City, Thunder Bluff, Undercity, The Wailing Caverns and Westfall.
- Zone Group 3: Arathi Highlands (General), Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Stranglethorn (General), Redridge Mountains (Lake Everstill), Stonetalon Mountains and Wetlands.
- Zone Group 4: The Cape of Stranglethorn (General), Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas (General), The Hinterlands, Scarlet Monastery, Southern Barrens (General) and Western Plaguelands.
- Zone Group 5: Badlands, Eastern Plaguelands, Felwood, Feralas (Verdantis River), Maraudon, Moonglade, Tanaris and The Temple of Atal'Hakkar.
- Zone Group 6: Blasted Lands (Tainted Forest), Dire Maul, Feralas (Jademir Lake), Scholomance, Silithus, Un'Goro Crater (General) and Winterspring.
Unnamed inland areas of Azuremyst Isle contain the zone's coastal fish. Deadwind Pass and Zul'Aman both contain Barbed Gill Trout, Bloodfin Catfish, Crescent-Tail Skullfish and Lightning Eel - not part of the standard zone group pattern.
Five other fish are found in certain zones only:
- Darkshore Grouper - Darkshore.
- Deviate Fish - Northern Barrens (Oasis only) and The Wailing Caverns.
- Oil Covered Fish - Stonetalon Mountains.
- Raw Loch Frenzy - Loch Modan.
- Sickly Looking Fish - Blackfathom Deeps, Silverpine Forest, Tirisfal Glades, and Undercity.
The table below shows the zone groups that common types of saltwater (coastal) fish can be caught in. "X" indicates the fish can be caught in zones within the zone group.
|Large Raw Mightfish||-||-||-||-||-||X|
|Raw Glossy Mightfish||-||-||-||-||X||-|
|Raw Rainbow Fin Albacore||-||X||X||-||-||-|
|Raw Rockscale Cod||-||-||-||X||X||-|
|Raw Slitherskin Mackerel||X||X||-||-||-||-|
|Raw Spotted Yellowtail||-||-||-||X||X||X|
|Raw Summer Bass||-||-||-||-||X||X|
Zone groups contain the following zones:
- Zone Group 1: Azuremyst Isle, Durotar, Eversong Woods, Teldrassil and Tirisfal Glades.
- Zone Group 2: Azshara (General), Bloodmyst Isle (General), Darkshore (General), Ghostlands, Gilneas (Ruins), Northern Barrens (General), Silverpine Forest and Westfall.
- Zone Group 3: Arathi Highlands (General), Ashenvale, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Stranglethorn (General), Stonetalon Mountains (West) and Wetlands.
- Zone Group 4: Arathi Highlands (Forbidding Sea), The Cape of Stranglethorn (General), Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas (General), The Forbidding Sea, The Great Sea, The Hinterlands and Southern Barrens (General).
- Zone Group 5: Azshara (Ruins of Arkkoran), Badlands, The Cape of Stranglethorn (Jaguero Isle), Eastern Plaguelands, Northern Stranglethorn (South Seas), Tanaris and Thousand Needles.
- Zone Group 6: Blasted Lands (Coastal) and Swamp of Sorrows.
Seas occur in 2 different forms:
- As a sub-area within another zone: Normally the catch is precisely the same as coastal water elsewhere in the zone. This form is most common.
- As a separate zone: The catch is not related to nearby zones. This form applies to The Frozen Sea, and specific parts of The Forbidding Sea and The Great Sea.
Outland contains no ocean, only inland waters. All fishable open water in Outland contains Barbed Gill Trout in large quantities. This fish gives no buff when cooked, so for most anglers will be "vendor trash". The high proportion of Barbed Gill Trout should encourage anglers to fish from pools, which in most cases will give a better catch rate. Although there are lakes in Blade's Edge Mountains and many recently opened dungeons, at the time of writing those waters are not fishable.
|Fish||Where to Catch|
|Barbed Gill Trout||Terokkar Forest, Nagrand, Netherstorm, Zangarmarsh.|
|Felblood Snapper||Hellfire Peninsula (Pools of Aggonar), Nagrand (Forge Camp: Hate), Shadowmoon Valley.|
|Figluster's Mudfish||Nagrand, Netherstorm.|
|Golden Darter||Terokkar Forest.|
|Icefin Bluefish||Nagrand, Netherstorm.|
|Spotted Feltail||Terokkar Forest, Zangarmarsh.|
- Fish Finder - Where to catch fish, showing skill required, type of water, and variations such as time of day.
- Pools and Schools - Describes how to fish pools such as schools or floating debris, where to find pools, and how to efficiently fish them.
- Skill and Locations - Skill needed to avoid catching junk in each area, with a simple explanation of where different types of fish are found.
- Darkmoon Skill Tiers - Describes how personal fishing skill determines the set of fish you may catch from open water around Darkmoon Island.
- Wrath of the Lich King Fish - New fish and catches in WotLK.
- Cataclysm Catches - Lists new fish caught in Cataclysm, including cooked dishes, alchemy and supplies, and catch rates.
- Cataclysm Old Azeroth Changes - Describes how the Cataclysm changes the waters of Old Azeroth.
- Mists of Pandaria Catches - Describes Mists of Pandaria's fish catches, and where to catch them.
- Thepp's Lieu de Pêche - Matrix showing fish types and locations (PDF in French).