Project Zomboid Fishing Guide and Tips

Fishing is an integral part of Project Zomboid. It is a survivalist skill and allows you to catch fish using a fishing rod and some bait. Fishing can be a very useful skill to have, especially if you live near a water body. A single fish can feed you for the entire day!

With that in mind, I will give you useful tips in this article regarding the fishing mechanic of the game.


Tips for Fishing in Project Zomboid

  • If your fishing level is less than 3, fishing will increase your boredom.
  • The refresh/recovery rate of fish is almost 5.5 hours. This translates to approximately 20,000 seconds. Before this time, fish will not have refreshed and you cannot catch them again.
  • Failing to catch a fish will result in the loss of the attached bait. Furthermore, in such a case, you only have a 1/10th chance on gaining fishing experience.
  • Using plastic bait/fishing tackle will give you a 60%, 25% and 15% chance of obtaining little/small, medium and big fish respectively. In contrast, using live bait provides a 50%, 30% and 20% chance for getting little/small, medium and big fishes respectively. Note that small fish are included in using fish types as live bait.
  • You might not always get a while fishing. Sometimes, your rod can catch garbage. In case this happens, there is about a 33% chance for your rod to break!
  • Sometimes while fishing, you’ll notice that your line may break. There is a break line index which comes into play when this happens. Small fish have an index value of 8, medium 12, whereas large fish have a break line value of 22. Each increase in your fishing level will reduce these index values by 1. 
  • Using a professional fishing line will further reduce the index by 2. Fishing rods you craft yourself decrease the index by 3 points while a crafted spear while reduce it by 5 points!
  • Each time you fish, the game generates a random number between 0-100. If this number is less than the overall number of your index, your fishing line will break. Consequently, you will not be able to catch any fish.
  • Live bait used in fishing has a chance of escaping every time you use it. If you catch something, the live bait is guaranteed to be lost. Fishing tackles can be used to avoid this. They will not disappear once you’ve used them. However, I recommend that you only use a fishing tackle if you’re a skilled fisherman.
  • Fishing at dusk and dawn will give you a higher chance of catching fish as compared to other time periods. Additionally, chances of catching fish in winters are drastically reduced.
  • A richer environment with respect to resources translates to a higher refresh/recovery rate for fishes in the area.

A Guide to Effective Fishing in Project Zomboid

Now that you understand the different tips about project zomboid, it is important to understand the system itself. With that in mind, here are the fundamentals of fishing in Project Zomboid.

How to Fish

To start fishing, you will require a fishing rod and bait to be present in your inventory. Note that the rod and bait must be in your inventory and not in your bag. To start fishing, right-click on a river or a lake and select the desired option. 

It usually takes about 5 seconds to fish. While fishing, your character will hold the fishing rod in their main hand and bait in the other. Due to that, it’s best not to bring along any extra items. You will have the best chances of catching a fish at dusk and dawn.

Fishing Rods

You can either find fishing rods while exploring, or craft them yourself. You will need the following items for fabrication:

Making Fishing Rod
  • Reading An Angler USA Magazine Vol.1 to get the recipe
  • A Sturdy Stick which can be made by using a saw on a Plank.
  • Either Twine(2 units) or a Fishing Line(2 units) depending upon what’s available.
  • A Paperclip or a Nails.
  • A knife

Fishing Net

In addition to a fishing rod, you may also use a fishing net. If you’re lucky, you can find a fishing net trap while exploring. In order to use it, go to the body of water where you want to fish. Then, right click and select the trap from your inventory and place it in the water.

With this trap, you can hoard small fishes. These can be used as a type of live bait while fishing, or eaten. 


There exist three types of baits in total that you can use for your fishing. These are explained below:

  • Worms

This is the most common type of bait available amongst all three. Worms can typically be found by shoveling into the ground. To do this, you must have a shovel in your inventory. Once you have that, right-clicking on the ground and selecting the dig option will net you a chance at obtaining worms. 

With a little luck, you can also find worms while searching houses. Each time you use this bait while fishing, the worms are consumed. This happens regardless of whether you catch a fish or not.

  • Fishing Tackle

The fishing tackle, like worms, can also be found in boxes while searching houses. However, the chances of finding one are much less in contrast to worms. Unlike the other types of bait, the fishing tackle is durable and can be used multiple times. This effectively reduces your need of using bait.

  • Live Bait

Live bait is a small type of fish. You can find these while fishing with a rod. You can obtain a large number of these by using net traps. Like the worms, using these small fishes as bait will result in their consumption. 

Types of Fish

There are, in total, seven types of fish in the game. All of them come in the following three sizes. 

  • Small/Little Fish – These are mostly used as live bait.
  • Medium Sized Fish
  • Large Sized Fish

All types of fishes in Project Zomboid have their minimum, as well as maximum, size and weight. The size component of a fish directly affects its weight and consequently – its nutritional value. 

Larger fishes are more likely to break your fishing line or escape. However, catching larger fishes on the other hand, also provides you with a larger experience gain.

Any fishes that you catch can also be used for cooking.


Fishing is a very important skill in Project Zomboid. It can be used to catch fish and provide you with essential sustenance. The game has different guidelines for different times of the day and in different weather conditions. You can also use fishing tackle to reduce the amount of bait you need to carry around.