Fishing is a core skill in Stardew Valley. Not only is it needed for completing the Community Center, but it’s also an excellent way to make a killing all throughout the game. Once you know the good fishing spots for the current season and weather, you can easily earn a couple thousand gold in a few hours, with plenty of time to spare for other activities. Before you start raking in the cash, you need to know what fish are where, and when they might show up.
To start off your fishing career in Stardew Valley, one of the first fish you’ll want to know about is the carp. It’s one of the most common types of fish, present during Spring, Summer, and Fall in rivers and ponds. That said, there are a few uses for carp, and the various different species you can catch.
Catching a carp
Carp are the easiest fish to catch in Stardew Valley, and can be caught with little effort, even if you’ve never fished before. You can find them in rivers and forest ponds during any season other than winter, and they don’t need any special conditions for you to catch them. Simply cast your line and wait for them to bite.
Once you’ve got a bite, you’ll need to complete the fishing minigame. If you didn’t know, all you need to do is keep your green bar over the fish icon to reel it in. While this can be difficult for some fish, especially at a low level, catching a carp is almost effortless. These sluggish fish will barely move, making it easy to keep up with the changes during the minigame. What’s more, you can easily get a perfect catch, causing your carp to be of iridium quality, making it worth much more in both cash and friendship points.
If you want to maximize your chances of hooking a carp, you should pay a visit to the Secret Woods. There, you can expect to catch a carp between 41% and 53% of the time when it isn’t raining, during any season other than winter, and at any point during the day. You shouldn’t have to cast more than a couple of times to catch a carp fishing at this pond.
Using a Fish Pond
If you really want a steady supply of carp at your doorstep, you can also use a Fish Pond. Once you build one at your farm, fish ponds can be populated by throwing one of a particular fish in. They will then begin to reproduce, and a few unique items can be harvested from them. Carp, for example, will produce Carp Roe for you to collect periodically.
If you want to harvest them, cast your line in and hook them one at a time. You won’t need to complete the fishing minigame for fish in a fish pond, but each fish will be of standard quality as a tradeoff, even if you threw in higher quality fish, to begin with. As each fish pond can only hold a certain amount of fish, you’ll need to complete quests to increase the population cap if you want more. These quests are usually quite easy, involving the collection of certain items, though some fish are picky and ask for something tough to get. Thankfully, carp are easy to please, only asking for 2 Green Algae and 2 Cave Carrots to increase their population cap to 5 and 10 respectively.
What can a carp be used for?
There are quite a few uses for carp in Stardew Valley. First, the fish has utility on its own, especially if you’re on a lengthy fishing trip. Raw carp can be used to restore a bit of energy, with iridium carp restoring 33. As they are both common and easy catches, you’re bound to hook a few during your fishing trips at rivers or ponds. As you run low on energy, you can eat some of your carp to maximize your earnings from fishing, instead of heading home early or rushing to the Stardew Salon for a pick-me-up.
Cooking your Carp
While carp is acceptable on its own, cooking one will net you much better results. Once your friendship level with Linus is at least 3, you’ll receive the recipe for Sashimi in your mailbox. This recipe requires one of any fish to make, with each Sashimi restoring 75 energy and 33 health. It’s a good idea to keep your low-value fish for this recipe, as you’ll get more out of them this way.
Alternatively, you could use your carp to make Maki Rolls, once you’ve bought the recipe from Gus for 300g or watched the Queen of Sauce episode on 21 Summer. Each Maki Roll will restore 100 energy and 45 health, though it also requires 1 Seaweed and 1 Rice. Once in your second year, you could instead make Carp Surprise. This recipe can be learned from the Queen of Sauce on 7 Summer, requiring only 4 carp to make. Each Carp Surprise will restore 90 energy and 40 health.
Carp are also required to complete a few quests. You’ll need it for the Lake Fish Bundle at the Community Center, so you’ll need to catch one at some point if you intend to fix it up. Carp is also sometimes requested at Pierre’s help wanted board, earning you 90g and 150 friendship points with whoever posted the request. Demetrius and Willy also sometimes request them, but they’ll let you keep the carp once you catch them.
Other types of carp
In addition to the standard carp, there are four other species that you can catch, though they are much harder to catch than their sedentary siblings. Midnight Carp is likely the first carp variant you’ll encounter. They can be hooked during Fall and Winter in the Cindersap Forest pond, the Mountain Lake, and Ginger Island, though they only come out at night past 10pm. If you’re in the area, Midnight Carp are worth catching. They can be sold for a bare minimum of 150g without the Angler perk and at regular quality, with a maximum sale price of 450g with Angler and at iridium quality.
The second carp variant is the Scorpion Carp. This species can only be caught once you’ve unlocked the Desert, which requires you to have repaired the bus at the Community Center. It can be caught during any season between 6am and 8pm, but you’ll need a fishing skill of at least 4. Once you meet the requirements, take the bus to the Desert and head over to the pond for a 12-20% chance of hooking one.
The Mutant Carp is the third variant of carp you can catch. To hook it, you’ll need to head into the Sewers, which means you’ll need to do a lot of work for the Museum. The Rusty Key is required to unlock the Sewers, which Gunther will give you once you donate 60 items. In the Sewers, each cast will have a 10% chance of hooking a Mutant Carp.
The final carp variant is a legendary fish, only obtainable as part of a quest. Once you’ve accepted Mr. Qi’s Extended Family quest, you can head to the same place you caught a Mutant Carp for this legendary fish – the Radioactive Carp. Once you’ve caught it, all carp will be yours, and you’ll have a fair few entries in your fishing log.