There are several rare fish to find in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the Golden Trout is certainly one of them. It's only available for six months of the year (that's two three-month spells) and then only in one very specific location on your island. If you're wondering how, when and where to catch the Golden Trout, just follow the steps below and you'll soon have it hooked.
If you're after information about every fish in New Horizons and general tips on how to hook them, check out our Animal Crossing: New Horizons fish guide and list for all the fishy facts you could want.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Catch the Golden Trout
When can you catch the Golden Trout?
The Golden Trout is only available at the following times of the day/year:
- Time: 4pm - 9am
- Months: Mar-May, Sep-Nov
Where is the Golden Trout?
The Golden Trout can only be found in elevated streams or the highest point on your island. We initially caught it in our highest clifftop pool (the one with a waterfall), although we also had success in rivers on the first 'elevated' level, too.
There's no point trying to catch the Golden Trout in any sea-level river location - as Blathers in the Museum will later inform you if you choose to listen to his fishy facts (and you should), this trout only likes high mountain streams.
How do you catch the Golden Trout?
The trick to joining the Golden Trout club is to craft fish bait using the squirting Manila Clams you dig up on the beach in order to have the rare fish spawn. Each clam can be crafted into a single helping of fish bait which you can sprinkle in any body of water for the shadow of a fish to appear.
To catch the Golden Trout we dug up Manila Clams from the beach using our shovel and crafted them all into fish bait.
We then went to the highest cliff on our island and threw the fish bait in the water there. After catching multiple Loaches and a Cherry Salmon, a medium-sized fish shadow appeared on our seventh or eighth attempt, and when we hooked it and pulled it out - lo and behold - we had joined Club Golden Trout!
It should be noted that we were very lucky to catch this fish so quickly and other players report that it took them significantly longer. However, using the above technique will have you hooking a Golden Trout eventually, even if it takes you longer.
Of course, the fish will still spawn in the spot without the use of bait, but the chances of a fish being present in the appropriate river and it being a Golden Trout are far slimmer than if you use bait to repeatedly spawn fish in the correct location.
It should be noted that the above method and location is exactly the same one we used to catch the rare Stringfish, too. However, we exhausted all our good luck with the Golden Trout - the slightly rarer Stringfish took us much longer to hook (upwards of 100 bait over several nights).
How much is the Golden Trout worth?
The rare Golden Trout is worth 15,000 Bells if you sell it to Timmy and Tommy (or 12,000 Bells if you leave it in the Nook's Cranny Drop Box). Make sure you donate one to the Museum, though!
If you catch and keep three Golden Trout, speak to C.J. when he visits, give him the fish and he'll send you a Golden Trout statue (as he will for any three identical fish specimens you give him). Is it worth the many hours of bait-crafting and fishing for the rather disappointing Golden Trout collectible you get?
Of course it is! Probably.
This article is part of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, which includes a Complete Fish List, Complete Bug List and Complete Sea Creatures List. If you're looking for specific fish or bugs, we can tell you how to catch the elusive Coelacanth, Mahi-Mahi, Giant Trevally, Stringfish, Golden Trout and all the Sharks and Beetles, along with a full list of critters leaving at the end of the month (unless you visit Kapp'n's Boat Tour islands, of course!).
We can also help with How to Spot Redd's Fake Paintings and Statues, How to Make Bells Fast, How to Breed Flowers, How to Get more DIY Recipes, How to Upgrade Nook's Cranny, where and when to find special characters like Gulliver, Sable, Label, Wisp, Celeste, Pirate Gulliver and Jack, plus tips on using the Star Wand, Tool Ring, Rock Trick, Cutting Down and Moving Trees, using amiibo on Harv's Island, How to Back Up Your Island Data, How to Time Travel, How to Get a 5-Star Island Rating and a whole lot more.
If it's new content you're looking for help with, we can help you find gyroids, unlock Brewster's café, use the new Pro Camera App for selfies, enact new ordinances, get the beloved Froggy Chair, and even learn How to Cook.
And finally, Where to Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch, if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game, and How To Buy The Happy Home Paradise DLC, too!
The golden trout is worth 15k. Stuff put in the box only sells for 80% of its value due to "shipping costs".
I find it hard to believe NL did this on the 7th try. I (and many others on youtube video comments throughout) have tried the precise setup described here. For hours. Nothing. No doubt Gavin is making a claim to look cool when in fact he is leaving out the "it took many hours to do actually" part. Unreal.
I’ll be amazed if this takes less than ten attempts. I’ve been trying to get a stringfish, which seems to be virtually identical to catch, for a couple of days. Must have made a hundred baits and no luck so far.
@dreamssux If the spawn chance is 1%, that doesn't mean it has to take everyone 100 tries! Much like shiny hunting in Pokemon, some people get one far faster than others, and some (sadly) take a lot longer.
@Kuchenjaeger Right you are! We used the Drop Box. I've edited the article, thanks
@dreamssux You got me! I'm lying about catching a digital fish to look cool Still, I'll add in a line saying it may well take longer.
@dartmonkey No problem, happy to help. Also I just wanna mention that you have an A+ username.
I caught one the same night I unlocked the ladder. It took three and half hours and tons of fishing rods. Sure you can catch them, but I do find it hard to believe they got it on the 7th try with bait. I finally gave up on making bait because the overall process was too long.
@dartmonkey You miss the point. You infer in your weak writing that it's easy to do. It's far from easy. As always, you played for hours then only showed us the one video where you got it right then bragged that it was easy. Love to see the dozens of failed attempts on the cutting room floor.
@jan3601 U miss the point. He claimed it's easy and by doing this, he was stating this just to make his topic more click-baity (hey all! Easy method to do this!) when in fact he did not show us the hours of failed attempts to do this. Nor is it really easy at all. Read dozens of comments on golden trout youtube videos and see many persons doing exactly what he did and not getting it. Also, you have no idea what the spawn rate is. Pure guess work (as always)
The fish spawns at all cliff levels. Not the highest spot.
Going for it tonight! Wish me luck @dartmonkey!!
I managed to get one of these suckers last night on my last attempt before going to bed. Feels good man.
@stvnorman I personally used 45 baits to get the string fish definetley the hardest fish I've caught.
I have to say this worked perfectly for me... I made 20 things of bait trying to catch the stringfish... Ended up catching the golden trout in the first five...Took about 15 before I finally caught the stringfish. I consider it a very lucky night.
@dreamssux It's just RNG. I made 20 bait, went up top, and caught one on my second try. Took me muuuuch longer to catch a stringfish.
I was actually lucky enough to get one when I travel to another island using a nook ticket. I was trying to farm tarantulas and I decided to climb to the top of the island and on my first try I got the golden trout I couldn’t believe it
@NineDarkTales Reluctantly just gave up on the stringfish. Must have used 200+ bait on my and other islands. Did get an oarfish from the sea today though!
Got two Golden and finally StringFish need another one.....plenty char and cherry salmon....
Here's my record for the GameFish:
Cherry Salmon: 12+1
Char : 4+1
Golden Trout : 3+1
StringFish(had the OH MY GOD) : 1+1
Koi(never thought I get this one) : 3+1
Goldfish(surpised me): 3+1
Tadpool(was no-way this possible): 4+1
The + is the extra given to Museum. And I created over 100+ bait to get this besides all the other fishes that stole my bait before I got these GameFish. Got 2 Tuna, 4 Marlin, 4 Sturgeon, 6 Oarfish, to many Snapper and Soccer fish alot of the blackstripped fish. They should let us trade to other players for other fishes. Now I will try to catch the Char/Cherry from now on I guess.
Glad to read the comments. I made 80 bait and didn't get it. Thought I was doing something wrong. I have 2 highest streams on my mountain so did 40 on both. Didn't get this or string.
I agree that it shouldn't say it is easy, it makes a lot of us feel like we are doing it wrong.
If it had, "only spawns 1 in 100 times so keep trying", that would make more sense.
I spent a good couple of hours getting clams and crafting bait to catch this, no luck. My wife hops on her profile and just randomly catches it not even knowing it would be there. RNGesus does not love me
got some vanilla clamps, made into fish foods. went to clifftop, try fishing for golden trout. got none.. wait a min, if my memory served me right, i caught one unintentionally few days ago. Check my records.. i caught it before and donated to the museum XD
for whatever reason, my account seems to catch rare fishes easily. tons of Oarfish.. and got like 3 coelacanth (rainy days at the pier) and a barreleye (shocked when i get this one, got just outside my house lol). few blue marlins and tunas
@dreamssux Why is it hard to believe? It's random, you're not guaranteed to get one within X amount of tries not do you have to try X amount of times before you can get one.
I got the Blue Marlin and Tuna first try one after the other, my girlfriend was there near 2 hours trying to get either of them. Theres no science to it, Nintendolife arent just lying because you didnt get lucky.
Still haven’t got one ... and the leave in a few days. There’s always next year.
I had forgotten about this fish. Just caught one on a deserted island. Very close to the last day they'll be available here too!
@dreamssux it's clear that you don't understand how RNG works
About 80 fish bait in, got 1 char and 10% seems to be mitten crabs. Got another 80 to use, looking forward to making another 200 fish bait cries in corner
So, 160 bait and about 70 minutes in, caught 3 pikes and 2 chars. Used about 100 bait at the very top of the river, and about 60 just below the highest waterfall. Seems like an impossible task right now..
Edit: switched the pike and char amounts
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