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Summary

The table below lists the effective fishing skill required to fish open water without catching junk (or excess Golden Carp in Pandaria). Read the text below for an explanation of how these values were discovered.

Zone Fishing Skill
No-Junk SkillZones and Areas
1Blackrock Mountain, Burning Steppes, Mount Hyjal (Throne of Flame), Southern Barrens (Great Divide), Twilight Highlands (Cannon's Inferno) and Un'Goro Crater (Fire Plume Ridge)
25Azuremyst Isle, Blasted Lands (Tainted Forest), Darkmoon Island, Dun Morogh, Durotar, Elwynn Forest, Eversong Woods, The Lost Isles, Mulgore, Teldrassil and Tirisfal Glades
50Gilneas (Worgen)
75Azshara (General), Blackfathom Deeps, Bloodmyst Isle, Darkshore, Darnassus, The Deadmines, Ghostlands, Gilneas (Ruins), Ironforge, Loch Modan, Northern Barrens (except Oasis), Orgrimmar, Redridge Mountains (General), Silverpine Forest, Stormwind City, Thunder Bluff, Undercity, The Veiled Sea, The Wailing Caverns and Westfall
100Northern Barrens (Oasis)
150Arathi Highlands (General), Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Stranglethorn (General), Redridge Mountains (Lake Everstill), Stonetalon Mountains and Wetlands
225Arathi Highlands (Forbidding Sea), The Cape of Stranglethorn, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas (General), The Forbidding Sea, The Great Sea, The Hinterlands, Scarlet Monastery, Southern Barrens (General) and Western Plaguelands
300Azshara (Ruins of Arkkoran), Badlands, Eastern Plaguelands, Felwood, Feralas (Verdantis River), Maraudon, Moonglade, Northern Stranglethorn (South Seas), Tanaris, The Temple of Atal'Hakkar and Thousand Needles
375Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand (Outland) (Forge Camp Hate), Shadowmoon Valley (Outland) and Un'Goro Crater (General)
400Coilfang Reservoir and Zangarmarsh (East)
425Blasted Lands (Coastal), Deadwind Pass, Dire Maul, Feralas (Jademir Lake), Scholomance, Searing Gorge, Silithus, Stratholme, Swamp of Sorrows and Winterspring
450Isle of Quel'Danas, Terokkar Forest (Rivers) and Zangarmarsh (West)
475Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, Howling Fjord, Nagrand (Outland) (General), Netherstorm and Zul'Drak
490Nagrand (Outland) (Lakes)
500Crystalsong Forest and Terokkar Forest (Lakes)
525Dalaran, Sholazar Basin and Wintergrasp
550Deepholm, Hrothgar's Landing, Icecrown, Storm Peaks and Ulduar
575The Frozen Sea, Mount Hyjal (General) and Vashj'ir
625Dread Wastes (Inland), The Jade Forest (Widow's Wail), Kun-Lai Summit (Sha-Touched) and Townlong Steppes (Niuzao)
650The Jade Forest (Inland), The Ruby Sanctum, Twilight Highlands (General) and Uldum
675Tol Barad
700Dread Wastes (Coastal), Isle of Giants, Isle of the Thunder King, The Jade Forest (Coastal), Krasarang Wilds, Kun-Lai Summit (Coastal), Townlong Steppes (Coastal) and Valley of the Four Winds
725Townlong Steppes (Inland)
750Kun-Lai Summit (Inland) and The Veiled Stair
825Timeless Isle and Vale of Eternal Blossoms

Areas with unknown no-junk skill: Crusaders' Coliseum, Icecrown Citadel, Molten Core, Naxxramas, The Obsidian Sanctum, Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub.

Preface

This research was conducted before Wrath of the Lich King. That made several changes:

  1. Patch 3.0.2 introduced messages to tell anglers what skill was required to fish in an area. An angler with fishing skill 1 could therefore gain most of the information here simply by trying to cast. Easy!
  2. Patch 3.1 changed the role of skill. Every area of water now requires just fishing skill 1 to cast. However, there is still a certain skill required to fish without catching junk items.
  3. Patch 3.3 removed junk from pools, so that any pool can be fished with skill 1.

There are now no messages that tell anglers the "no-junk skill" of an area (the effective skill required to fish without catching junk). Research shows the no-junk skill is simply the former minimum (base) skill plus 95. So the "no-junk skill" is the same as the old "no get-away skill".

The original method and analysis is described below. Certain terms and methods are now out-dated. However the results are still accurate.

The Problem

What fishing skill will I need to fish in a certain zone is not an unreasonable question to want an answer to. But getting a straight answer to this seems to be remarkably difficult. There is general agreement that higher level zones require a higher fishing skill. To quote the book called WoWWiki, "Zones usually have a fishing level of 5 times the average level of monsters in them, but some zones vary considerably from this rule of thumb."

The problem with documenting what skill is needed is that there is only one reliable benchmark: Can I cast a line or not? If I can't, whatever skill I have is insufficient, but I have no way to know how insufficient: I might be one point short or a hundred points short. If I can cast a line, there is no reliable way to tell how much I exceed the base skill requirement by. A rough guess can be made from the proportion of fish that get away, but this is not normally accurate because while you are experimenting, your skill is improving.

Existing Sources

I started by comparing three separate lists of recommended fishing skills by zone. Note that the minimum "recommended" skill doesn't mean the base skill. The sources are: Draznar (archive), Deedoohangus ((in French)) and Razorfold. I have sorted the zones by level (taken from the official Flight Path Maps). Level is typically the level range of the monsters and quests in the zone.

Capital cities have been listed alongside their starting zones. However, the waters of the capital cities are widely regarded as more difficult to fish than starting zones. Moonglade is a Druid training ground covering all levels, but I have classed it alongside neighbouring Felwood. Zones with no recommended skill are not listed.

Zone Fishing Skills - Comparison of Sources
ZoneLevelDraznarDeedoohangusRazorfold
Dun Morogh/Ironforge1-101-501-501-55
Durotar/Orgrimmar1-101-501-501-55
Elwynn Forest/Stormwind City1-101-501-501-55
Mulgore/Thunder Bluff1-101-501-501-55
Teldrassil/Darnassus1-101-501-501-55
Tirisfal Glades/Undercity1-101-501-501-55
Darkshore10-2050-8050-100-
Loch Modan10-2050-10050-100-
Silverpine Forest10-2050-10550-100-
Westfall10-2050-8050-100-
The Barrens10-2550-10050-100-
Redridge Mountains15-2580-120100-150-
Stonetalon Mountains15-2775-125100-15055-130
The Wailing Caverns15-21--55-130
Ashenvale18-3075-150100-15055-130
Duskwood18-3095-150100-15055-130
Hillsbrad Foothills20-30100-155100-15055-130
Wetlands20-30105-150100-15055-130
Thousand Needles25-3575-125100-150130-205
Alterac Mountains30-40150-170150-200130-205
Arathi Highlands30-40150-180150-200130-205
Desolace30-40100-175100-150130-205
Stranglethorn Vale30-45150-250150-200130-205
Badlands**35-45175-225150-200-
Dustwallow Marsh35-45150-300150-200130-205
Swamp of Sorrows35-45175-225150-200130-205
Feralas40-50150-175150-200205-300
Tanaris40-50225-275200-250205-300
The Hinterlands45-50200-245200-250205-300
Blasted Lands**45-55235-265200-250-
Azshara (Bay of Storms)48-55--300+
Azshara (Mainland)48-55200-275200-250205-300
Felwood48-55175-250250-300205-300
Moonglade48-55--205-300
Un'Goro Crater48-55225-275250-300205-300
Burning Steppes50-58240-290300+-
Western Plaguelands51-58255-270250-300205-300
Eastern Plaguelands53-60265-280300+-
Winterspring53-60250-300300+300+
Deadwind Pass55-60--300+

** No evidence of fishable water in the Badlands and Blasted Lands (before the Cataclysm).

A few zones clearly break the relationship between level and fishing skill, and have a lower fishing skill requirement than predicted by their level: Desolace and Feralas in particular. Perhaps level is not such a useful guide?

Trial and Error

The method used to accurately determine the base fishing skills of zones is simple, but very time consuming: Travel round a series of zones. Attempt to fish in each zone you visit, but never catch anything (so skill never improves while you are travelling). After visiting all the zones, fish and gain some additional skill. Then go back round again. Several different attempts can be made at each location with the same personal fishing skill by using different lures and fishing poles.

I increased the skill level tested by five points at a time. This means that the results may be wrong up to 4 skill points. For example, I might have found that I could not fish with an effective skill of 50, but could fish with 55 skill. The base skill could be anywhere in the range 51-55, but I am assuming 55.

It is not practical to fish everywhere: Even with access to all the relevant flight paths, it would take days just to travel. I selected a range of zones that were relatively easy for the young dwarf I hired to reach. To reduce time spent travelling, the locations fished were close to flight masters.

Tests up to skill 205 areas were conducted by the dwarf I hired, using this method. The remaining 330 skill zones were check by me personally (with 300 personal fishing skill).

Zone Fishing Skills - Results
ZoneLocationInland or CoastalBase Skill Requirement
Arathi HighlandsNear Stromgarde KeepInland130
AshenvaleAstranaarInland55
Azshara (Bay of Storms)Bay of StormsInland330
The BarrensRatchetCoastal<1
DarkshoreAuberdineCoastal<1
DarnassusTradesmen's TerraceInland<1
Deadwind PassNear KarazhanInland330
DesolaceNear Nijel's PointInland130
Dun MoroghIceflow LakeInland<1
DuskwoodOn road to RedbridgeInland55
Dustwallow MarshTheramore IslandCoastal130
Eastern PlaguelandsLake MereldarInland330
Elwynn ForestGoldshireInland<1
FeralasFeathermoon StrongholdCoastal205
Feralas (Jademir Lake)Jademir LakeInland330
Hillsbrad FoothillsSouthshoreCoastal55
The HinterlandsQuel'Danil LodgeInland205
Loch ModanThe LochInland<1
Redridge MountainsLake EverstillInland55
Stonetalon MountainsMirkfallon LakeInland55
Stormwind CityThe CanalsInland<1
Stranglethorn ValeBooty BayCoastal130
TanarisSteamwheedle PortCoastal205
TeldrassilRut'theran VillageCoastal<1
Western PlaguelandsChillwind PointInland205
WestfallLongshoreCoastal<1
WetlandsMenethil HarborCoastal55
WinterspringFrostfire Hot SpringsInland330
Zul'GurubNear entranceInland330

There are only five skill levels listed: <1, 55, 130, 205 and 330. However, the first (<1) is misleading. Some of these locations are a lot less than one (almost no "get-aways", even at around skill 1), and some are only slightly below one (possible to fish at skill 1, but with a very high proportion of "get-aways" at that skill). Gut feeling was that the base skill in the easiest zones was about -70, and in the harder zones was about -20. These were impossible to confirm, because there was no way to maintain constant fishing skill below 75.

A Simple Answer

In the Gazetteer topic I showed that fish catches in each zone match one of just six possible patterns. Surprisingly, when I grouped zones by base skill requirement, almost every single group fitted perfectly within one of the six groups created for fish catches. I'm almost certain that base skill requirement is directly related to the fish catches that are possible in the zone. So, even though I have not confirmed the base skill requirement of every single zone myself, I believe the table below can be used as an accurate summary of base fishing skill requirements. (The table below has been updated with post-Cataclysm information, although the general pattern is still very similar to the original findings.)

Zone Fishing Skill - Old Azeroth
No-Junk SkillZones and Areas
1Blackrock Mountain, Burning Steppes, Mount Hyjal (Throne of Flame), Southern Barrens (Great Divide), Twilight Highlands (Cannon's Inferno) and Un'Goro Crater (Fire Plume Ridge)
25Azuremyst Isle, Blasted Lands (Tainted Forest), Dun Morogh, Durotar, Elwynn Forest, Eversong Woods, Mulgore, Teldrassil and Tirisfal Glades
50Gilneas (Worgen)
75Azshara (General), Blackfathom Deeps, Bloodmyst Isle, Darkshore, Darnassus, The Deadmines, Ghostlands, Gilneas (Ruins), Ironforge, Loch Modan, Northern Barrens (except Oasis), Orgrimmar, Redridge Mountains (General), Silverpine Forest, Stormwind City, Thunder Bluff, Undercity, The Veiled Sea, The Wailing Caverns and Westfall
100Northern Barrens (Oasis)
150Arathi Highlands (General), Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Stranglethorn (General), Redridge Mountains (Lake Everstill), Stonetalon Mountains and Wetlands
225Arathi Highlands (Forbidding Sea), The Cape of Stranglethorn, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas (General), The Forbidding Sea, The Great Sea, The Hinterlands, Scarlet Monastery, Southern Barrens (General) and Western Plaguelands
300Azshara (Ruins of Arkkoran), Badlands, Eastern Plaguelands, Felwood, Feralas (Verdantis River), Maraudon, Moonglade, Northern Stranglethorn (South Seas), Tanaris, The Temple of Atal'Hakkar and Thousand Needles
375Un'Goro Crater (General)
425Blasted Lands (Coastal), Deadwind Pass, Dire Maul, Feralas (Jademir Lake), Scholomance, Searing Gorge, Silithus, Stratholme, Swamp of Sorrows and Winterspring
450Isle of Quel'Danas
575Mount Hyjal (General) and Vashj'ir
650Twilight Highlands (General) and Uldum
675Tol Barad

Postscript: Outland

Zone Fishing Skill - Outland
No-Junk SkillZones and Areas
375Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand (Outland) (Forge Camp Hate) and Shadowmoon Valley (Outland)
400Coilfang Reservoir and Zangarmarsh (East)
450Terokkar Forest (Rivers) and Zangarmarsh (West)
475Nagrand (Outland) (General) and Netherstorm
490Nagrand (Outland) (Lakes)
500Terokkar Forest (Lakes)

Isle of Quel'Danas is not in Outland, but is only available with The Burning Crusade.

Postscript: Northrend

Zone Fishing Skill - Northrend
No-Junk SkillZones and Areas
475Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, Howling Fjord and Zul'Drak
500Crystalsong Forest
525Dalaran, Sholazar Basin and Wintergrasp
550Hrothgar's Landing, Icecrown, Storm Peaks and Ulduar
575The Frozen Sea
650The Ruby Sanctum

The Frozen Sea is the deep sea that surrounds Northrend. It is not formally a zone. However it has different skill requirements and catches from nearby zones: It does not follow the old Azeroth pattern, where seas share the characteristics of the nearest zone. Icecrown, Storm Peaks and Zul'Drak do not contain any fish.

Postscript: Cataclysm

Zone Fishing Skill - Cataclysm
No-Junk SkillZones and Areas
1Mount Hyjal (Throne of Flame) and Twilight Highlands (Cannon's Inferno)
25The Lost Isles
50Gilneas (Worgen)
550Deepholm
575Mount Hyjal (General) and Vashj'ir
650Twilight Highlands (General) and Uldum
675Tol Barad

Postscript: Pandaria

Zone Fishing Skill - Pandaria
No-Junk SkillZones and Areas
625Dread Wastes (Inland), The Jade Forest (Widow's Wail), Kun-Lai Summit (Sha-Touched) and Townlong Steppes (Niuzao)
650The Jade Forest (Inland)
700Dread Wastes (Coastal), Isle of Giants, Isle of the Thunder King, The Jade Forest (Coastal), Krasarang Wilds, Kun-Lai Summit (Coastal), Townlong Steppes (Coastal) and Valley of the Four Winds
725Townlong Steppes (Inland)
750Kun-Lai Summit (Inland) and The Veiled Stair
825Timeless Isle and Vale of Eternal Blossoms

Learn More

Comments about Zone Base Fishing Skill

Below are readers' comments about "Zone Base Fishing Skill":

Fishing skill req for great sea?

  1. matty555, February 2008:

    Hi im level 12 and my fishing skill is 112 and im fishing at longshore at the moment next to the great sea and i was wondering at what skill level can i fidh there?

    Thanks.

  2. el, February 2008:

    The skill required and fish caught from the seas are the same as the zone you are closest to (source). There was a long-standing bug with the ocean west of Silithus. Technically this has no coastal water, so no coastal fish. The ocean there contained freshwater fish.

    Oh, and so to answer the question: the area is like Westfall, so should require 75 skill to stop fish getting away.

  3. matty555, February 2008:

    Oh so i need 75 skill to fish in the great sea? i now have 126 and i cant.

  1. el, February 2008:

    That's interesting. Perhaps your part of the Great Sea is linked to Stranglethorn Vale to the south? Most of that area requires 130 to cast, 225 to stop get-aways. Gain a few points more of skill and let us know!

  2. avalon, January 2013:

    Sha-Touched areas - above states 'no junk' skill 625. I'm fishing on Kun-Lai Summit in the Sha touched area south of Kota Basecamp with a skill of 798 (600+fishing hate+arcanite pole+head treated fishing lure) and I'm receiving about 50% junk.

  3. el, January 2013:

    Avalon - Scoured Fishbones and Desecrated Carcass are junk-quality items that may be caught when your skill is high enough to avoid junk. Catching these does not automatically mean your skill is too low. There are 13 specific junk items (listed in #2 of (Not) Catching Junk) that indicate insufficient skill. Unfortunately in a few locations the regular catch table includes junk-quality items. Sadly there's no easy way to tell them apart. I don't know why the skill-related junk doesn't have a tooltip that says "insufficient skill" on it, since this has been confusing people for the last 3-4 years.

  4. sizematters, April 2013:

    Hi,
    I am a dk tauren on Kor'gall EU. I just got this morning the Nat's Hat, reaching a fishing skill of 790 (600 max skill + 30 Dragon Fishing Pole + 5 fishing enchant on gloves + 5 Nat's Hat +150 Nat's Hat lure).
    I started fishing in Krasarang Wilds, near the Thunder Cleft base. I got more than 50% Golden Carp (fish junk). The same thing happened when I activated for 2 minutes the Sharpened Tuskarr Spear, reaching 805 fishing skill.

    I don't understand what is happening. I farmed reputation for more than 3 weeks with Nat Pagle, thinking that, afterwards, I won't get Golden Carp anymore. Maybe I missinterpret the notion of "Excess Junk fish"? Maybe in all regions, I get junk fish no matter what fishing skill I have, but I won't get junk fish all the time when my fishing skill is enough?

  5. sizematters, April 2013:

    I gave it a shot near the Fishing Trainer, Ben Of The Booming Voice, at Half Hill Market, in Valley of The Four Winds. (700 fishing skill requiered for no excess junk)

    My fishing skill: 790
    I got: 5 Emperor Salmon, 5 Krasarang Paddlefish, 9 Golden Carp = almost 50% junk fish

  6. el, April 2013:

    The base percentage of Golden Carp in inland Krasarang Wilds was 60%. There is no fixed "50%" base figure - it varies between zones: For example, 80% in (non-Sha touched, inland) Kun-Lai Summit (see Mists of Pandaria Catches).

  7. sizematters, April 2013:

    Thank you very much for the answer and for the link: "Carp are also part of the normal catch from open waters of Pandaria. So catching Golden Carp does not automatically mean your skill is too low."

    However, I consider that the truth is rather dissapointing. In the past, there was a toss
    - between fishing in pools and losing time moving between the pools
    - fishing in open water and losing time with the junk

    Now, with the new daily Fish of the Day migrations and the large pools, I think lvling fishing and acquiring all the fishing equipment is a complete waste of time.

    P.S. Maybe I'm thinking this because Kor'gall is a very low populated realm and I always have the large pools only for myself :)

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