Most fishers have been there at some point–You want to get out on the water but just don’t have the money. Thankfully, we’re in the modern era, so fishing games are much easier to come by these days.
Even better, a lot of the best ones are actually free!
There are quite a few free fishing games out there to satisfy any angling needs, whether it’s a prolonged game session or just something to kill time while traveling.
Let’s take a look at the 7 best free-to-play fishing games currently out there.
7. Go Fish!
Definitely for the casual players, Go Fish! is available on iOS and Android devices and is easily the most accessible for anyone. It’s not complicated – cast your rod, let the hook sink as deep as possible, then snag as many fish as possible as it zips back up.
Depending on the type of fish, there could be a big payout by the time you get them to the surface. That money’s going to come in handy, too, because before casting out again, there are upgrades available to improve profits on the next run.
Size of the hook, nets, and even the weight of the hook to ensure it sinks as far as possible. Some are more ridiculous, while others are available to make sure profits are being maximized with every fish hooked. There are some secrets to find, too!
Is it super realistic? Absolutely not, but it is really addicting and will keep you interested for a couple of hours. It’s one of the easier games to pull out and play to keep busy while stuck in a train or cab ride, though, offering plenty of fun for even non-fishing fans.
Play on: Android, iOS
Okay, Fishing Clash is another that isn’t going to be very realistic in gameplay, though the graphics are much more realism-based than Go Fish. The fun of Fishing Clash is going up against other players to catch the biggest whopper while also having short bursts of gameplay to keep your attention.
Fishing itself in Fishing Clash is incredibly simple – just cast off and tap to keep your line tensity. From there it’s a waiting game, but not nearly as long as real fishing.
It’s not complicated by any means, but the game makes up for it with an upgrade and gear system that keep things interesting. You can either duel others head to head or fish on your own and try to replace them on the leaderboards, arcade-style.
The downside is that Fishing Clash is a free-to-play game. That means microtransactions are pretty prevalent. It’s not as bad as some other games, but the grind can get a little tedious after a few hours of playing.
Play on: Android, iOS
Hear me out because a fishing MMO doesn’t really seem like the best idea at first, but Fishing Online pulls it off.
The idea is for a game with the fishing and aesthetics of something like Harvest Moon with the community goal of World of Warcraft. It’s working surprisingly well, too, building a decent little player base before it’s even out of early access.
The fishing aspects of the game focus on freshwater environments, so you’ll be casting off in lakes and streams. Equipment is upgradeable, and there’s another component involving an in-game economy through selling your fish or cooking. Mechanics themselves aren’t anything special or groundbreaking, giving a more laid-back, casual feel focusing on the relaxation of fishing.
Keep in mind Fishing Online is still in Early Access, but devs are pretty ambitious with their goals for the game. Updates they have in the works include expanding into saltwater fishing and adding more in-depth contests.
Play on: PC
Time to get into the real fishing sims, with Professional Fishing bringing some of the best virtual angling for beginners. Even better, it’s free (for the most part) with the typical microtransactions and DLC add-ons. Professional Fishing has an ocean’s worth of content at your fingers, except it sticks with freshwater fishing, so it may be more like a big lake.
Take your pick from sprawling freshwater maps, choose a spot to start, and cast off. That’s all there is to get started, and players will get the basic fishing experience that way, but the lake goes even deeper. Change up your gear, wait out the weather, or grab a boat to get out to the middle of the lake or stream.
There’s a surprisingly intricate amount of strategy to land every type of fish, with dozens requiring just the right combination of time, weather, and gear to land.
The microtransactions aren’t too in your face either, making things calmer than the average free-to-play. Keep in mind, though, that the game is a little buggy, and try not to wade out too deep before casting out. You may end up sleeping with the fish otherwise.
Another fun aspect is that this shows all other players on your map live. Even just people-watching is hilarious, especially when seeing other players run a river to try and net an escapee.
Play on: PC, iOS, Android
Much like Professional Fishing, Trophy Fishing 2 takes a more laid-back approach to the sport. According to the developers, it’s even intended to become more of a fishing encyclopedia than a game, with over 1650 species to hook throughout.
Seriously, the gameplay mechanics might be more basic, a typical tension bar and quick time minigames for luring, but it’s so comprehensive. The amount of not only fish but lures, lines, and reels, in conjunction with being able to create your own lures, makes Trophy Fishing 2 deeper than an ocean trench.
Despite just how much it has, the game still manages to retain the smaller, peaceful feel of fishing out on a quiet lake. Not to say there isn’t a challenge, though, as after some leveling, the fish will get more aggressive. The Freemium mechanics aren’t that bad either, with little grinding until very late in the game.
Play on: PC
Fishing sims above are nothing compared to the hardcore angling of Russian Fishing 4. This long-running series is constantly upping the content game, with some of the most comprehensive fishing in any videogame, free or paid.
Over seventeen different locations to fish, 165 species, and a dynamic weather system that will give you some relaxing sunny days or have you pulling whoppers in a monsoon.
If that sounds like a wild survival trip only possible in the Russian wilderness, that’s because it is. You’ll have to work on other skills than just fishing, with a whole survival element related to cooking and harvesting along with it. A huge variety of tackle options helps though, and ensures you won’t be cooking up the same fish every night while you camp.
Unlike the others on the list, there’s no multiplayer component to Russian Fishing 4. Developers are constantly adding, though, with more fishing reserves, tackle, and aspects like boats or more lure types. Hell, you can even crack open a bottle in-game and day drink, just like a real fisherman!
Play on: PC
This is it – the big one, the grand kahuna, the great white whale that everyone is after. Fishing Planet has everything for every possible type of wrangler that may pick it up and is constantly adding more.
Even ice-fishing just recently made a debut in the game, with an entire multiplayer league popping up to show it off.
Twenty-five different biomes as of this writing, with everything recreated to the minute details with satellite and photo images. Advanced water physics, plus special fishing kayaks, boats, and tackle combinations, mean that for the low entry fee of absolutely nothing, you’ll have thousands of hours to find something new.
That’s not to say everything is free because “free to play” doesn’t mean it all comes without a price. Fishing Planet has enough add-ons to make World of Tanks blush, and they’re not cheap. If you’re willing, though, they add plenty of awesome new locations like the Congo or the North Pole.
Play on: Android, iOS, Xbox One/Series, PS4, PS5, PC
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