Pool Fishing

Introduction to pools/schools of fish, including pool types, and how to find and fish them. On this page:

What are Pools?

Bobber Floating in the Pool, Waiting for a Bite
Bobber Floating in the Pool, Waiting for a Bite

Pools (or schools) of fish are swarms that contain a limited number of fish. Once these fish have been caught, the pool will disappear. The angler must continually move between different locations to continue fishing. Fishing pools (schools, shoals, circles, holes, swirls) is similar to other "node-based" resource gathering, such as mining ore veins.

Pools appear on the water's surface. They look like swirling patches of water, clearly visible from nearby land. Pools are fished just like open water, except that the bobber must land visually on or within the surface circle of the pool (highlighted on the picture, left). There is no way to control precisely where the bobber lands, so you might need to cast several times. For detailed instruction on how to fish pools, read the illustrated introduction getting started chapter.

You can fish any pool with fishing skill 1. With patch 3.3, you will never catch junk items from pools. Since Patch 6.1, skill does not affect the catch from pools in Draenor, except for Lunkers.

Finding Pools

Pools can always be seen from nearby land. There are two common types of pool:

  1. School of Fish

    School of Fish
    School of Fish - This is a Bluefish School, but most schools of fish look the same.

    Shimmering circle on the water's surface, with many fish swimming about below. Moving the cursor over the pool will tell you what the pool contains - for example "Firefin Snapper School" mostly contain Firefin Snapper.

  2. Pool of Wreckage

    Pool of Wreckage
    Pool of Wreckage

    Boxes, barrels and crates clustered together, within a faint shimmering circle on the water's surface. These pools are called names like "Floating Wreckage".

Minimap with Find Fish Ability Active
Minimap with Find Fish Ability Active

Schools of fish and pools of wreckage are the most common pool types. There are other types of pool, such as Pure Water. These are described in the Unusual Pools section.

Pools can also be tracked on the minimap (shown right), but only once you have learnt the "Find Fish" ability. Find Fish is learnt from a Weather-Beaten Journal, which can be found in many crates fished from pools. For full details, please read about Other Equipment.

Pools cannot be found in all waters. The Pool Locations section will explain which zones contain which pools.

Why Fish Pools?

Pool fishing is harder than open water fishing because the angler has to move: That both wastes time and risks having to fight creatures to clear a path to each pool. But there are advantages to fishing from pools:

Not every fish can be caught from a pool. And there are rare cases when (non-Draenor) open-water fishing is most effective.

A good example of the complex pros and cons of fishing pools vs open water is contained in the analysis of the best method of catching Stonescale Eel: Open water is more effective, but only at certain times of day, in certain places, and only for sustained fishing. Details on Pool Spawning, and Pool Strategies, are discussed later in this chapter.

In Draenor, pool fishing is slightly less advantageous:

Pools take longer to fish than open water, because extra time is spent recasting and moving between pools. In most Draenor zones, sustained pool fishing for prized Draenor catches will be no faster than open water fishing. In some zones, far slower. Generally, treat pools in Draenor as a bonus, to be fished if convenient, not to be actively sought out.

Now you know what you are looking for, where should you look?

Learn More

Comments about Pool Fishing

Below are readers' comments about "Pool Fishing":

3.3--no trash in fishing pools?

  • GormanGhaste, October 2009

    I haven't seen anyone mention this on this site yet, so I'll link the source:


    "Don't forget, in patch 3.3.0 you never catch trash from fishing pools, regardless of skill. "

    What does this mean? And why would anyone need to skill up fishing, if pool fishing was always successful?

  • el, October 2009

    I assume it means that with skill 1 you can successfully catch fish from any pool anywhere - even places like The Frozen Sea.

    Update: It's true. Skill 1-6: 5 Glassfin Minnow from a Glassfin Minnow School. 0 Trash. The next 5 casts into open water all yielded junk.

    This means the new Kalu'ak Fishing Derby requires fishing skill 1. Also opens up some interesting new options for leveling fishing - a direct choice between speed and gaining valuable fish.

  • Robodin, October 2009

    There goes the fishing market, if any schmuck with 1 fishing skill can fish up mats for whatever food they need :/

  • Expand 17 more comments

    from "3.3--no trash in fishing pools?".
  • Trigot, October 2009

    This is horrible its just another easy button to lame out the game. Its no longer going to be anything to be proud of because its somthing a lvl 1 can go and do with no fishing skill.

  • DarkMime64, October 2009

    So we level fishing now for... what purpose exactly?

    I'm assuming, then, that a character with 1 skill in Cooking can make a Fish Feast, too.
    And someone with 1 skill in First Aid can make Frostweave Bandages.

    No? Oh..

  • el, October 2009

    DarkMime64 wrote:

    So we level fishing now for... what purpose exactly?

    To be able to equip that Arcanite Fishing Pole, which gives a +40 bonus to skill, which you need to... erm, hold on. There are still fish that cannot be caught from pools - the Dalaran fountain, Old Azeroth fish used to level cooking, etc. But it's hard to answer your question.

    I'd rephrase the question: Why have fishing skill at all?

  • Gizel, October 2009

    el wrote:

    DarkMime64 wrote:

    So we level fishing now for... what purpose exactly?

    To be able to equip that Arcanite Fishing Pole, which gives a +40 bonus to skill, which you need to... erm, hold on. There are still fish that cannot be caught from pools - the Dalaran fountain, Old Azeroth fish used to level cooking, etc. But it's hard to answer your question.
    I'd rephrase the question: Why have fishing skill at all?


  • mikado, October 2009

    Was fishing very hard to begin with? Did it need all the past and future nerfs it's received? Don't get me wrong, I am excited about the tournament, but making it so that anyone can participate just by clicking "learn fishing"? I think that's a bit much. I don't see the point of this change.

    Next up: mine titanium with lvl1 mining skill and herb in Storm Peaks with lvl1 herbalism skill. But no, these are primary professions and too many folks would throw a fit if that happened. But fishing is just some trash secondary profession and noone will care, amirite?

  • Averiy, October 2009

    The three fish required for a fish feast can be pool caught, it's true, but the most efficient way to catch them is in Wintergrasp, where they are caught from open water in a near equal ratio, so that you don't have many fish of any one kind left over. This you cannot do without fishing skill.

  • Kamaria, October 2009

    This is all so depressing

  • Al, October 2009


  • Utopia, October 2009

    Sadly it seems we anglers are becoming another victim of the dumbing-down in the name of accessibility which is sweeping through wow......

  • Feiwong, October 2009


    I've opened a suggestion thread complaining about this change... so if anyone wants to support it, please do


    Best regards,

  • el, October 2009

    Here are some more discussions on the official forums:


    Pool fishing involves moving around, looking for specific things in the water. Pools are the closest we currently have to the Cataclysm method of fishing mentioned at BlizzCon (hooking specific fish you can see swimming). Encouraging pool fishing in this patch makes a lot of sense. In fact, it may be an attempt to demonstrate that a more interactive method of fishing can be popular. Although people here tend to mostly fish from pools, over all players open water is much more popular. So trying to make the least popular aspect of fishing more popular might be logical overall, even if we see things differently.

    Of course leveling fishing skill (and specifically leveling alongside cooking) appears (same source) to account for a significant proportion of fishing activity. There's a risk of simply making the whole cycle pointless: Nobody needs to level fishing skill, so nobody fishes. Rationally, you'd counter that by arguing that if people didn't want to fish, they would not have levelled fishing skill. However Joanna Average WoW player transpires to be surprisingly irrational. "That 1/450 bar needs to be filled!" "One day I'll want to farm Mr. Pinchy..." I'm sure we've all been there, even if we find a reason to justify our actions. A superficial (or worse, pure economist) understanding of that irrationality is a dangerous thing.

    Traditionally the role of fishing skill has been to test patience. Patience is the main requirement for fishing. And requiring 10 or 15 hours of fishing before an angler can catch the good stuff, is what separated "us from them". It's also classic EverQuest-style grinding, that used to be common in WoW: Do the same thing over-and-over, before you can do what you actually wanted to do.

    Patch 3.1 started to dilute the test of patience. 3.3 dilutes it so far we're struggling to see a purpose.

    The basic problem for fishing (and all WoW professions) is that there was never a hard part that followed the "pointless grind" of skilling-up. So removing the need for skill means that everyone can do it immediately. Consequently, there's nothing exclusive or special for anglers who are prepared to put a lot of work into the profession.

    Or is there? Ah, but there is! At least for fishing. Take a step back and look at this forum. Or perhaps earlier in the year, when things were busier: The most popular topics are about catching the Sea Turtle, Pinchy, One that Got Away. Listen to the furvor with which people defend (or are annoyed by) the Salty title. All things that are a serious test of patience, and provide the angler with something to care about, something exclusive that is valued among those they play with.

    Now, there are all kind of issues with this form of non-monetary, individualistic consumerism. And I suspect we'll eventually laugh at the paradox of how Blizzard's attempt to counter inequalities that exist outside of the game (by blocking Real Money Trading), has actually created one of the most unequal communities within the game (by trying to prevent the trade of anything perceived to have value). But that's a philosophical discussion for another time. We are where we are. And right now we're in a land where titles, mounts, and other apparently useless things have the greatest sense of value.

    Why not go further? No computer-incremented skills whatsoever. Instead (if fishing still is a test of human patience) add far more apparently useless, but rare, things that take patience to acquire. (Rare doesn't imply strictly random - rare but less variable - for example a Sea Turtle might take 4,000-5,000 casts, not 1-~25,000 casts - excessive variability causes frustration as the mind either can't understand the pattern, or feels the pattern is unfair.) Or perhaps associate fishing with something other than patience.

    There are lots of possibilities following this line of thought: But perhaps the value of fishing shouldn't be thought of in terms of the ability to catch buff food. Increasingly, the real prestige is a Turtle-mounted Salty with a Crawdad in tow. Or similar.

  • Durth, October 2009

    Having paid for 2 epic flyers and a mechano hog just by selling food Im not to excited about this. On the other hand though its not like its really that easy to fish for this stuff without being attacked at lower levels. A level 1fishing glacial salmon pools is going to get hit by a bear or the opposing faction at the lumber mill. Lloot crazed divers are at the sculpin lake in Borean Tundra. Nettlefish ahve all sorts of animals runnnig around their pools. Im just not sure how this will all shake out. I dont like professions being easy. Going through the bs to get them leveled was the only thing keeping the market at a certain level. A lot of people just wouldnt bother but now its always getting easier and easier. Plus it makes me feel old and grumpy :p

  • Durth, October 2009

    Oh I forgot to mention the 5 tab Guild bank and all the gold spent tipping other people for enchants and gemming and such. Some people laugh when you put cooking in trade but I think most os us here know better.

  • Gned, November 2009

    I'm feeling pretty abused over the new fishing changes. Mostly because my invested time and efforts are at least partially meaningless now.

  • Leny, November 2009

    I find this to be a horrible idea..... two things that kind of set me out in my guild was my habit for paying huge amounts for non-combat pets and fishing

  • Shreda, January 2010


    Sorry, I had to do something dramatic

  • Renetta, January 2010

    I don't really have a strong attitude in many ways. Yes Salty is my preferred title because I like fishing and it's the perfect title for a squid (I mean draenei). But I actually disagree that fishing is becoming less patient driven. Getting fishing to 450 takes not a lot of patience. There is constant short-term reward (oh another tick, uh here is something funny I fished up, do old world pool achievement to break the monotony, visit nat pagle etc etc).

    Rather this is being replaced with things that for some, though not all requires a lot of patience. The one that didn't get away took me over 7.5k casts (I think the general believe is that the average is around 1k) if I remember correctly and made me vow to never fish for an extremely low drop achievement again. Well I didn't stick to it. Now I'm at way over 12k on the turtle without luck (here it seems that people converge on a believe that the average is 4-5k) and patient permitting I may fish indefinitely without any reward whatsoever. So yeah rare _is_ random, else I'd have both much earlier.

    I for one have never ever felt my patience tested so much as in the new system, not the old. But yeah, some may have been more lucky and hence don't even know that patience may be required. I certainly don't complain that I got my old ironjaw on my very first cast, that indeed didn't take any patience to do. That said, for many of us getting all fishing achievements is way harder than doing the old fishing skill leveling was. If someone doesn't understand that you simply got lucky.

    I like the BB contest. This is not a test of patience. It's a test of preparation, planning, swift decision making and some luck. But luck is but one factor and one can work to bend the odds one way and many who do the contest will see their fish counts go up with experience. Before I won I had two contests where I was 1 fish short - that's the margin of error the contest had when you are prepared and do all the right things. The new fishing contest is just Vegas though and I am only happy it's in the game because it at least doubles up on the chance to get a turtle as well.

    In fact the relationship is reversed now. If you are unlucky you need extreme patience with limited short-term reward. Yes if you are lucky you need no patience at all. So if the complaint is that fishing moves away from patience to luck I might actually agree. But from how it sounds there will be some skill added to the equation and frankly I'd rather work on things I can control than fish 10k pools for nothing at all (well except the ability to completely destroy the value of fish in the AH for a good while).

    So yes I hate the new system, nothing resembles disillusion more than weeks of solid fishing without any sign of reward or any promise that reward will ever come - but making skill leveling easier now and possibly removing it later doesn't move me at all. In fact I welcome it.

    Ultimately in terms of game design as a whole, the EQ model is dead. WoW has discovered that the time people have is constant, so if you add new stuff you have to obsolete old mechanisms to keep things to do in balance with people's time. Else the game becomes inaccessible for newcomers because they'd have to catch up 5 years worth of gaming to be where the original population got. A phenomenon not unfamiliar in EQ, and while relished by some, really a bad idea to keep a game community together. The WoW model is sustainable, but yes requires that people accept change and that old way to get to X will be replaced by a new way to get to X that may in fact be much faster.

    MMOs are about renewal. Yes we farmed 1 year of Molten Core 3 days a week for T1 sets. They are worthless now. One can focus on that and how unfair it is that people now get T9 for running heroics not requiring the wipes and patience and learning, or one can recognize that it was fun while doing it and look forward and appreciate the new content that comes ones way.

    On Cataclysm fishing I reserve judgment until I have seen it, but looking backwards won't be how I'll be judging it.

  • Reply

    to "3.3--no trash in fishing pools?".

Northrend Pools Distribution Map

  • Balazar, January 2010

    I note the link takes to you a web page, and the download link on the web page is to a .rar file. Perhaps I'm a tad bit paranoid, but I would prefer a straight up image file.

  • Mightfish, January 2010

    Balazar wrote:

    I note the link takes to you a web page, and the download link on the web page is to a .rar file. Perhaps I'm a tad bit paranoid, but I would prefer a straight up image file.

    Thank you for your comments.
    Now, you can direct view a picture.

  • Mightfish, January 2010

    Updated to version 1.1 !

  • Christhina, February 2010

    This is actually very handy, and a good record to show new anglers (and handy for us older, more forgetful types like me) :)

    Mightfish - I wonder only one thing - the links above appear to take me to the same map that is the entire continent of Northrend, and this map is populated with fishing pools where they spawn in each zone.

    Am I missing a reason for the separate links? The map always seems to open "focussed" on Borean Tundra (though I can scroll easily enough to the other zones, of course) - I'm just hoping I'm not missing something, hence I thought I'd ask :)

    Either way, this is well done, and thank you for sharing your hard work with us all :)

  • Mightfish, February 2010

    Christhina wrote:

    Am I missing a reason for the separate links? The map always seems to open "focussed" on Borean Tundra (though I can scroll easily enough to the other zones, of course) - I'm just hoping I'm not missing something, hence I thought I'd ask :)

    Thank you for your support !
    This function seems simple, but the design is very difficulties.
    Sorry, i do not have the ability to solve this problem.

  • Al, February 2010

    Thanks for this contribution to fishing knowledge, Mightfish.

  • Basill, February 2010





    You are now handing out all our well kept secrets... my god what have you done...
    *Equips a fishingpole with razorblades attached and starts hunting newbies looking at maps while fishing*

    On a serious note..

    Job well done, maps looks nice and not overfilled with useless information.
    big thumbs up for the work, love the links to Els site..Cuz I gotta admit..other fishing sites dont reach El´s site to the socks and are not worthy...

    Not so serious note..

    a troll blog..... ;( why not an ally toon..(cuz they kinda rocks)


  • jtb, January 2011

    I am getting a 404 error when i try to access these, are they no longer posted?

  • Christhina, January 2011

    JTB, I am now getting the same.

    Sadly, it seems the map (which was very well done), along with our friend Mightfish, seems to have disappeared :(

  • Mightfish, May 2011


  • Reply

    to "Northrend Pools Distribution Map".

Improve view of fishing pool

  • Dharock, June 2010


    i'm currently trying to get my last fishing acheivement, the turtle and i got a rather annoying problem while i'm fishing in the lage in borean tundra, i got a hard time to view the pool properly, it's a faint glow ring almost same color at water, and every time i have to look north/west ish the sun reflection is totally blanking the water.

    anybody got any command or addon that could help me with this ?

  • Noor, June 2010

    Changing your display settings can make it better or worse; I think turning off some of the water effects can help.

  • Enarka, June 2010

    Remove specular lighting and Full-Screen Glow Effect.

    You'll love it.

    A much more sober WoW, and easier fishing.

  • DokBrown, June 2010

    I will definitely try this. I always have to turn around away from the sun.

  • Reply

    to "Improve view of fishing pool".

more efficient pool fishing?

  • Thilyse_of_BASS_NRA, April 2009

    A little background first. Fishing for Deviate Fish, and cooking Savory Deviate Delight is a cash cow on my server. I paid over 1000 gold for the recipe, and hit the break even point in less than 2 weeks, averaging selling 47.35 Savory Deviate Delight per day at an average price of 1g 63s 52c EACH! It has been exactly 1 month today since I started doing this, and my gross sales are 2400 g 47s 36c.

    So, obviously, it's to my advantage to fish as efficiently as possible, in order to maximize my profits. Now, I make sure that looting is set to auto-loot, I cast with a double right click of the mouse, & only fish in pools. Even so, I still have had to deal with the irritating random spray casting that Blizz uses, even when you are targeting a pool. BTW, I'm lvl 62 with lvl 395 fishing, so in The Barrens, I catch something on every cast.

    However, about 10 days ago, I made a cast immediately after the auto-loot cleared the loot box, and the cast came back directly into the pool. I tried it again on the next cast & the same thing happened, and the pattern has continued consistently ever since. It is NOT absolute. Sometimes the spray effect will still kick in. But if the cast lands outside the pool area, many times another immediate cast clicked inside the pool area will land the cast back in the pool. The bottom line is that by developing a rhythm for this, I've cut the amount of time necessary to farm 40 - 60 fish a day almost in half.

    What I was wondering was if anyone else has come across this pattern while pool fishing, in The Barrens, or elsewhere. I realize that this is not relaxing, fun fishing [which I still do in other areas], but it has happened so consistently that it can't be a fluke. Let me know if you've had similar experiences.

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