How to Fish in Dwarf Fortress

Don't bug us right now, we've gone fishing thanks to our Dwarf Fortress fishing guide.

Fish are another supply you can get in Dwarf Fortress that will keep your villagers fed. However, Fishing might not be totally straightforward, especially if you just picked up the game. If you’re lacking in fish and food, and want to know how to get your Fishery up to par, then keep reading for our Dwarf Fortress fishing guide.


How to Fish in Dwarf Fortress

To fish, go to Build (b)Workshops (o)Farming (f), then Fishery (y). Place the Fishery and allow it to build, then left-click the structure and select Add new task. From here, you can command your Fisherdwarf Catch live fish and Prepare a raw fish

Building a Fishery in Dwarf Fortress
Building a Fishery

You can set Work orders or set your Dwarves to perform the actions indefinitely. Remember to prepare raw fish so that the raw fish you catch can be converted to Food. 

Fishing in Dwarf Fortress doesn’t require any additional gear like a fishing pole or net–according to the Bay12 Games Forum, the Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress wade deep into the water and then use the food stuck in their beards to attract fish.

Assigning New Fisherdwarves

Before your Dwarves can catch a single fish, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve assigned some Dwarves to the Fisherdwarf task. To assign new Fisherdwarves, open the Labor (y) menu, select Fisherdwarves, then check the box next to the Dwarves you want to fish. 

Assigning a Fisherdwarf in Dwarf Fortress
Assigning Fisherdwarf

The more Dwarves you have Fishing, the more fish you’ll catch, but beware–it is possible to overfish an area, which could be detrimental in the long run. 

Setting Fishing Zones

To set up a Fishing Zone, hit the Zone (z) key, then click Fishing. Click and drag across the body of water you want to designate as a Fishing Zone and press Accept

Fishing Zones direct your Fisherdwarves to a specific body of water to fish. They are useful to designate a particular area so that you can avoid overfishing or unstuck your Fisherdwarves if they aren’t fishing. 

Why are my Dwarves Not Fishing?

Fisherdwarves are addicted to Fishing, so they will automatically try to spend most of their time getting new fish. If you don’t seem to be accumulating fish, it’s usually because of three main reasons: 

  • You don’t have assigned Fisherdwarves. 
  • There are no bodies of water containing fish near you. 
  • For some reason, your Fisherdwarf is upset and not doing their job. 

If the body of water you want to fish in is too far away, setting up a Fishing Zone may help direct your dwarves to that body of water to start Fishing. 

Remember, it’s probably easier to mine down to find bodies of water with fish in them rather than traveling far across the map to track down fish-filled water. 

Dealing with an Unmotivated Fishderdwarf

In rare cases, your Fisherdwarf might hate their jobs and their lives and may not want to fish. To see whether your Fisherdwarf is not Fishing because of an emotional or personal problem, hit the Citizen (u) menu, then hit the ? icon next to your Fisherdwarf to view their overview tab and make sure that their needs are met. 

Character Details Screen in Dwarf Fortress
Citizens Tab

For instance, your Dwarf could rely on mead to get through the day, so if you don’t produce mead, they won’t do their job. 

Another solution is to go to your Labor (y) menu, click Fisherdwarf, and just assign another Dwarf or Dwarves to the job. 

That was our guide to fishing. Have you set up a proficient production line for your food and drink? See some of our other Dwarf Fortress guides below. 

How to Make Drink | How to Create a Militia and Squads | How to Make an Office | How to Build a Bedroom | How to Trade and Build Trade Depots | How to Farm