Animal Crossing New Horizons Fishing Tourney: Dates, Prizes And Tips

Become a master angler and win prizes.

The basic premise of the Fishing Tournament event in Animal Crossing New Horizons is that an NPC beaver called C.J. will visit your island and host a fishing contest. This particular character can be recognized easily as he is Chip’s son, who made his appearance in the previous iterations of Animal Crossing.

CJ’s Fishing Tourney in ACNH is scheduled to begin at 9 AM sharp and end at 6 PM. Participating in the fishing tournament allows you to unlock a lot of cool new and exclusive items.

You might have some trouble while participating in the Fishing Tourney event in Animal Crossing New Horizons, as it can even give the pro Animal Crossing fishers a tough time. Lucky for you, we are here to explain how the fishing tourney works and provide tips to farm points during the tournament.

ACNH Fishing Tourney event dates

The Fishing Tourney event in Animal Crossing New Horizons will unlock on the following dates of certain months, as shown in the table below.

YearFishing Tourney Dates
20219th January, 10th April, 10th July, 9th October
20228th January, 9th April, 9th July, 8th October
202314th January, 8th April, 8th July, 14th October
202413th January ,13th April, 13th July, 12th October
202511th January ,12th April, 12th July, 12th October

There will be a major notable change on your island at the start of the Fishing Tourney. Isabelle will be the one announcing it early on during her morning announcement in ACNH. If, for some reason, you don’t have the Fishing Tourney event happening on your Island, you must make sure to check up on certain prerequisites.

These will include upgrading your Resident Services, as this is the most important requirement to unlock the Fishing Tournament event. Moreover, you also need to make sure that your island must have at least a 2-star or a 3-star rating. Once you meet both of these conditions in Animal Crossing New Horizons, the Fishing Tourney will automatically initiate on the given day.

How to play the Fishing Tourney in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

C.J. will set up shop on your main island’s plaza/ town square way before the Fishing Tourney event takes place at 5 AM. However, you will not be able to compete in this event before 9 AM.

You will also observe that your villagers will be dressed according to this specific event, and some of them will be wearing their unique fishing outfits. The villagers will also be engaged in their own fishing expeditions. Thankfully, these villagers will not be competing against you in the Fishing Tourney event, so you will not need to worry about them. Do be careful of Blue Bear, though, as he might end up stealing your fish.

During the duration of the Fishing Tourney, you will be able to hear festive music on your island. This music will go back to the regular one after the event ends at 6 PM.

Meet with C.J. at the Plaza

Once you are ready to start the fishing tournament, talk to C.J. at the Plaza. During the conversation, you will see an option that says, “Sign me up!” for you to enter the Fishing Tourney. It will cost you 500 Bells to participate in the fishing tourney in ACNH, but C.J. will waive the fee to a lower amount for just the first round. Furthermore, you can also get a discount on the participation fee if you are playing in multiplayer mode.

The rules are pretty simple for this specific event, as you will need to catch as many fish as possible in a total of 3 minutes.


The Fishing Tourney, in previous iterations of Animal Crossing, focused on the quality and size of fish you caught. However, in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Fishing Tourney will be based on speed, as the more fish you end up catching, the more points you will receive.

Find the nearest water body

Once C.J. initiates the fishing rounds, you will observe a 3-minute timer on the top middle section of your screen. All you need to do is to run quickly from the plaza and find the nearest body of water, like rivers, ponds, oceans, etc., on your island in ACNH. However, once you approach the dock area, river, etc., it is best to steady your steps so that you don’t scare off the fish.

Get a Fishing Rod and start fishing

It is highly recommended that you bring along more than one fishing rod (Golden fishing rod, Flimsy Fishing rod, etc.) for each round since these tend to easily break during mid-tournament.

You will have the option to buy the Fishing rods from Nooks Cranny in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There, you will find different fishing rods with different prices. Alternatively, you can also craft your own fishing rods for the tournament.

You can also craft a fishing rod by using certain items such as a Flimsy Fishing Rod (x1) and an Iron Nugget (x1) in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There is also a pro tip for you to follow if you only have a few fishing rods available and are worried that they may break on you. A simple fix for this problem is that you can simply reset the life span for each of these fishing rods.

All you will need to do is have their uses rest to zero. This action can be done by using a customization box/kit to change that color for any of your fishing rods.

For some reason, it will renew the use of your fishing rod, and it won’t break quickly during the Fishing tourney.


You can buy the Customization Kits before Fishing Tourney through Nook’s Cranny in ACNH at a price of 600 Bells.

The best part about participating in the fishing tourney is that you only need to focus on catching fish and not actually transporting them. You will also notice a large blue cooler underneath the tent with the fish logo on the right side of your plaza.

Any fish you catch during the 3-minute timer of the fishing tourney automatically gets transported to that same large blue cooler that you observed earlier. Once the round ends, you can check the cooler and empty it out. You will have the option to sell your fish to C.J. or keep them for yourself in ACNH.

How to catch fish during the Fishing Tourney in ACNH

To catch as many fish as possible during the fishing tournament event in Animal Crossing New Horizons, you need to be accurate and adjust your rod for a few seconds on the water. This way, the fish will automatically start to nibble on the bait of your fishing rod bopper, and you can reel them by pressing the A button to catch them successfully.

On the other hand, spamming the B button continuously will cause to you can exit the catching fish sequence faster. It will also save you some of your precious time, and you will be able to get back to the fishing activity at other spots.

Your fishing activity will mostly consist of waiting for your fishing bopper to go underwater. It will take a few seconds as the fish will circle around it before pulling it underwater. Sometimes, it takes two to three tries, but as soon as the bopper goes under, you need to pull out the fish to catch it.


If you are having a hard time keeping your sights focused on the bopper, then you can turn up the game sound. This way, you will only need to wait out to hear the bopper’s plop sound once the fish grabs onto it. This will be a far easier way rather than relying continuously on your sight for the bopper to go down during the Fishing Tourney.

For the fish to approach your Fishing rod bopper, you will need to position yourself in the correct manner because if you are off by even a little angle, the fish will not see your bopper immediately.

This is not a good sign as the fish will circle around it, and you will lose some precious seconds. You need to get more proficient at getting your aim to hit the right spot. Practice your fishing throws before the day of the Fishing Tourney or before starting the round so there is less pressure on you during the actual fishing tournament.


The Nintendo Switch Pro controller will prove quite useful during the Fishing Tourney in ACNH. The haptic feedback vibrations of your Pro controller will tell you when the fish nibbles or pulls the bopper. You can use this signal to capture the fish with relative ease.

Moreover, you need to work on improving your timing with each successful catch that you make during this fishing tourney as it can take up to 10 seconds for even the most skilled players to catch a fish. That being said, each fish you catch will earn you a single point. If you catch 3 or more fish, you will gain two bonus points.

Animal Crossing New Horizons fishing tournament tips

While fishing itself isn’t really a hard task, winning the fishing tourney requires some patience since you are on the timer and need to earn points at a rapid pace. To help you earn points as quickly as possible by easily catching fish within the 3-minute timer, we have prepared some fishing tourney tips for ACNH.

Using Fish Bait to reel in more amount of fish

Fish spawn periodically, so an easy way to spawn fish faster during the Fishing Tourney will be by making use of a specific item. It will be called the Fish bait. You can simply scatter this item into the water, and lo and behold, the fish will appear instantly for you to capture later on.

The fish bait in ACNH is crafted using only one resource called Manilla Clam (x1). You can obtain this specific resource by digging sand at dark spots on your beaches. These spots will emit a small stream of water before the dark spot disappears, so you can dig in using a shovel and collect the Manilla Clam.

The next step will be to take those manilla clams to any nearby DIY workbench to craft the Fish bait, which, as it turns out, is super easy to make. As for the Fish Bait recipe, you can learn it automatically in ACNH. It can be done when you dig up your first manila clam.

It is highly advisable that you should definitely spend your time in digging up a whole bunch of Manila Clams early on before indulging in the tourney event itself. These items will prove quite useful for you as you will be able to make a lot of Fish Baits and use them more effectively throughout the Fishing Tourney in Animals Crossing: New Horizons.

This method is highly effective in catching lots of fish in different water areas. Instead of running over to various locations, you can stay at one place, scatter the bait from time to time, increase your chances of catching more fish, get a whole lot of points, and even procure the Gold Fishing Trophy at the end of the Fishing event in ACNH.

Bring the water body near your location

The second method that can speed up your fishing process is basically terraforming a certain area to a water body in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You may have already unlocked terraforming when you unlocked K.K. Slider. You will also be speaking with C.J. at different intervals of the Fishing Tourney just to start a new round.

This can result in you losing a lot of time as you will frequently be making trips to the town square first to interact with this particular NPC and then back to the water bodies to catch those fish.

Now, with Terraforming, you can just proceed to build a suitable body of water right next to the plaza itself. This is super helpful as it saves you time and allows you to fish more efficiently. You can also combine this trick with the first method (Fish Bait) to get even better results and end up becoming the ultimate Fishing Tourney pro in ACNH.

Add your friends to the Fishing Tourney in ACNH

The best thing about this Fishing Tourney event is that you can get to enjoy it with your friends and catch those fish with relative ease. This means that if you invite visitors to your island, they can take part in this enjoyable event, and everyone will earn points together in ACNH.


You need to make a note of the timer, as once the countdown reaches zero and you are in the middle of catching a fish, you will not get the point unless the fish is out in the open and visible in your hand.

Every player on your island who is participating in the fishing tourney will get 10 bonus points whenever someone catches a fish. This is also a great way to get a hold of a lot of points while participating in the Fishing Tourney event. It is also a relatively faster process if you are grinding for exclusive prizes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Fishing Tourney Prize and Rewards (Swag) in ACNH

Once you have enough points and want to cash out and get rewards for participating in the fishing tourney, you can simply select the second option when talking to C.J., which says, “Swap my points for swag!”. Each item from C.J.’s reward list costs 10 points. You can’t choose specific items as C.J. will only give random items.


If you are worried about getting duplicate Fishing tourney items in ACNH, then you will be happy to know that once you receive each of the prizes, then and only then will you get duplicates from C.J. so for the first 13 times you trade with him, you will always get a unique new item.

Speaking of fishing tourney swag/rewards, you will be able to obtain the following 13 items while indulging and securing points in the Fishing Tourney in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. However, you will only be able to customize certain items from the list, as we have mentioned below.

Fishing Tourney ItemsSelling PriceCustomizable
Anchor Statue1400Yes
Fish Doorplate90Yes
Fish Drying rack750Yes
Fish Pochette210No
Fish Print700Yes
Fish Print Tee160No
Fish Rug375No
Fish Umbrella80No
Fish Wand1500No
Fishing Rod Stand300Yes
Fresh Cooler450No
Marine Pop Wall805No
Tackle Bag175No

To customize some of these Fishing Tourney reward items, you can simply make your way to the nearest DIY workbench and select the customization boxes in ACNH.

If you are running low on Bells, then you can also earn a hefty amount of bells by selling the fish you catch during this specific tourney in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As a matter of fact, C.J., who is hosting the Fishing tourney event, buys fish at 150% of their usual selling price, so it’s a great idea to sell them to him instead of other shops.

You don’t have to worry about reaching max inventory space with fish, as they will automatically go to the blue cooler with unlimited storage.

However, if you are interested in playing more rounds at the Fishing Tourney, then you will need to undergo the arduous task of manually clearing out the fish from the blue cooler. This way you can either sell them to C.J. or keep them for yourself. .

Apart from that, you will have the option to join the Fishing Tourney at any point during the specific day. You can rejoin as many times as you like and work hard on catching those fish, as you will have plenty of time (9 hours, to be exact) to get ahold of enough points for you to get your hands on any of the fishing trophies.


During the fishing tourney, you will need to complete one crucial task. You will need to ensure that you have emptied C.J.’s large blue cooler completely. Only then he will give you the option to exchange points for fishing tourney swag in ACNH.

Requirements to win the Fishing Trophy in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

By completing the Fishing Tourney event, you can also win a sweet fishing trophy depending on the number of points and the position you earn while competing in this specific event in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

  • The first Position (300 points) will earn you the Gold Fishing Trophy
  • Second Place (200 Points) will earn you the Silver Fishing Trophy
  • Third place (100 Points) will earn you the Bronze Fishing Trophy

Moreover, you need to keep one important thing in mind: you will have only one day (24 hours) to amass as many points as you can through this fishing activity.


The points from your previous fishing tourneys will not carry over in Animal Crossing New Horizons so don’t rely on adding them to this current event. The same is the case if you time travel to a different day, as it also causes you to lose all your hard-earned fishing points.

If you are relying on your friends during the Fishing Tourney, then getting those points early on will be quite a challenge for you as well. In most cases, it can take up to 60 minutes just to get a hold of even 100 points during the tourney in ACNH.

Sometimes, if the fishing tourney happens to overlap with the Bunny Day season in Animal Crossing New Horizons, you will see some minor changes. These will include other things spawning in the water bodies, like trash, etc. If you are frustrated by finding trash instead of fish during the Fishing Tournament event, it is better to wait out the Bunny Day event and then play the fishing tourney later.


If you miss out on participating in the fishing tournament in ACNH or need to grind some more points, you can time travel to keep yourself in the tournament. However, make sure you don’t time travel past 5 AM as that is when the game resets the day, and you will lose your points.

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Decade-long gaming enthusiast turned guide author, sharing insights on SegmentNext to improve your gaming experience.