Fisher or Trapper: Which profession is the best choice

Nearly level five in Fishing and wondering where to go from here? This article will help you choose between the Fisher and Tapper professions!

A screenshot from Stardew Valley of the level-up menu. The player can choose between the Fisher and Trapper professions.

What Are Professions?

When you reach levels five and ten in each of the five main skills in Stardew Valley, you can choose between two professions.

The skills tab in Stardew Valley.

When it comes to fishing, you can choose to become a Fisher or a Trapper. This decision impacts how much money you earn from fishing, and what sort of fishing activities you’ll be focusing on with your character.

How to Level up in Fishing

Before you’re faced with this decision at level five, you need to get there first. To level up fishing, grab your fishing pole and head on over to the closest body of water. The amount of experience you gain while fishing depends on what you have caught:

  • Trash, Green Algae, Seaweed: Each time you cast a line, there’s a chance you will get one of these three items instead of a fish. All of these items are in fact useful in their own ways – Trash can be recycled, and Algae and Seaweed are used in crafting – but they will only grant you three experience points.
  • Crab Pot Harvest: Harvesting something from the Crab Pot – including Trash – grants you five experience points.
  • Fish: Catching fish nets you the highest amount of experience. However, the amount of experience you gain per fish can vary greatly.

To get the most experience, there are two conditions you need to fulfill when catching a fish. You get more experience the more difficult a fish is to catch. Secondly, you get more experience the higher quality the fish you caught is.

Difficulty is predetermined – each fish in Stardew Valley is considered to have a difficulty between five and 110 as per in-game files. The most difficult-to-catch fish is the Legend, one of the five legendary fish you can catch, and its difficulty rating is 110.

To catch higher quality fish you need:

  • High fishing skill: It goes without saying that you need a high level of fishing to catch the best fish. A higher fishing level unlocks the ability to purchase the best fishing gear, and increases your casting distance and the fishing bar, making it easier to catch perfect fish.
  • The best fishing rod: You need the Iridium Fishing Rod so that you can attach tackles onto your pole. Without bait and a tackle, fishing is more difficult and nets less profit in general.
  • Long casting distance: The player’s fishing skill increases their maximum casting distance. The longer the distance between yourself and the fish, the higher the quality of that fish will be.
  • The right tackle: The Quality Bobber increases the quality of your fish by one. For example, if you were normally to catch a Silver Quality fish, this tackle will turn it into a Gold Quality fish.
  • A “Perfect Catch”: A perfect catch requires that you cast your line as far away from you as possible and that the fish never leaves your fishing bar during the fishing mini-game. Once both of those are done, you’ll see a little “perfect” pop up above the fishing interface. Perfectly caught fish are of higher quality.
A “Perfect” Catch.

To sum things up, if you catch an Iridium Quality Legend, you will gain 255 experience – the highest amount you can get from one fish. Conversely, regular quality Sardine nets you just 13 experience – still a higher number than what you get harvesting a Crab Pot.

Fisher Breakdown

Choosing the Fisher profession means you will earn 25% more gold from each fish you sell. Using the same example as before: a regular quality Sardine will net you 40 gold when you sell it, but a Fisher’s Sardine is worth 50 gold instead. While this may seem like a negligible difference, it certainly adds up, as seen below:

Is Fisher Worth It?

If you enjoy fishing and you are likely to keep fishing even if you choose the Trapper profession, then you’re probably better off choosing the Fisher profession. If you want to earn the most amount of experience, and the most amount of gold, then Fisher is the objectively superior choice.

A further benefit to this choice is that the level ten professions, Angler and Pirate, are also quite useful. Anglers increase the worth of your fish by an additional 25%, making your fish, in total, worth twice as much as they would if you hadn’t chosen Fisher and Angler. Pirates find treasure more often by fishing, which will help you fill the museum faster up.

Trapper Breakdown

Choosing the Trapper profession means you will need to use fewer resources to craft Crab Pots. The difference in resource cost is quite significant. Normally, a single Crab Pot would require 40 pieces of Wood and three Iron Bars. With the Trapper profession, the cost goes down to just 25 Wood and two Copper Bars, instead of Iron.

Is Trapper Worth It?

If you do want to primarily rely on Crab Pots for fishing, the difference in cost of materials to craft Crab Pots with Trapper is significant enough to warrant grabbing this profession. However, there is a question of whether it is worth it to invest so heavily into Crab Pots in general.

There are several uses Crab Pots have. There are certain types of fish that you cannot catch except by the use of a Crab Pot. Namely, Lobster, Crab, Shrimp in saltwater, and Crayfish, Snail, and Periwinkle in freshwater. However, you don’t need to grab the Trapper or any of the other professions in order to harvest these fish. Just crafting or purchasing a single Crab Pot and being patient is enough to collect them.

One other drawback to Trapper is that you don’t need to craft Crab Pots at all. You can buy them at Willy’s Shop for 1,500 gold. While this seems like a high price tag in the early game, it’s nothing after you start earning some serious profits on your farm.

The upside to Trapper is that the latter professions, your two options at level ten once you’ve chosen Trapper, are quite good. The Mariner profession ensures you never get trash in your Crab Pots, whereas the Luremaster doesn’t need to add bait to their Crab Pots for them to work. Both are extremely useful if you want to pursue the patch of Crab Pot.


The Fisher profession increases your net profit when fishing by a small amount. If you’re planning on consistently fishing – whether it’s for fun or for coin – then this is the better choice objectively.

The Trapper profession decreases the number of resources you must spend to craft a Crab Pot. However, Crab Pots are not too difficult to obtain even without this profession. Moreover, Crab Pot harvests net you only five experience points, and Crab Pot fish are not very valuable. Overall, you lose out on gold and experience by investing heavily into Crab Pots.

Overall, there’s little reason to choose Trapper except if you just don’t like fishing. If you want to relax and collect fish from your Crab Pots each morning, rather than toil away at the docks, fishing rod in hand, then choose the Trapper profession and go all in. Otherwise, Fisher is the better choice, both in terms of gold and experience.

Meet the author

I'm a content writer and an avid video game player whose favourites are either chill RPGs or super competitive shooters with no in-between! If anyone is still reading this please help, Joja has trapped me in a guide-writing factory and I'm so tired of drinking Joja Cola.

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