Red Dead Online boasts a lot of different activities: killing, treasure hunting, exploring, killing, horse riding, trading, killing, racing, killing and I think you can also do some killing if the mood takes you. Of course, you can also try going a little more sedate with the surprisingly-developed fishing minigame. If that's more your speed, we've discovered the most profitable places and methods for fishing.
How to Unlock the Fishing Rod
It's not enough to have the money for a good fishing pole in Red Dead Online, you have to be worthy of it. Fishing rods unlock in the catalogue and general stores once you reach rank 14, fairly early in the game, for a reasonable price of $32.50. Of course, you could also go to a store before then and pay four gold bars to get it early, but this seems a bit steep for something you should have access to before long.
Once you buy it, it should be available in the items wheel, in the same slot where animal bait is stored in the lower-right corner. Simply equip the fishing rod whenever you're near a patch of water, and it's time to give up on violence for being a master angler.
Unlocking Lures in Red Dead Online
There's two kinds of bait you can use to wrangle fish - either pieces of food, which get used up after use and can be bought at any time, or metal lures, which are reusable but don't unlock until level 30. This time we DO recommend splashing out the gold to get it early, as that's quite a way to go and lures are only a gold bar each. For both of the fish we'll be suggesting below, you'll need to get a River Lure.
How to Fish in Red Dead Online
Fishing works the exact same way it did in the single player, a three-step process of finding the right bait, luring the fish in, then playing a game of give-and-take as you drag it back to the shore. However, if you haven't played the single player, don't worry - the game provides constant tutorials and tips in the top-left hand corner of the screen whenever your rod is equipped, telling you what to do and when to do it.
Rewards for Fishing in Red Dead Online
The big appeal of fishing is earning money. There are no legendary fish as there were in the single player, and with the exception of the occasional daily challenge, the real lure of fishing is to be found in how much your prize catches can be sold for at the local butchers. There's also a second bonus: any hunting or animal catching activity provides a permanent buff to your maximum health, meaning that as you keep wrangling carp, you increase the amount of bullets you can take in a firefight.
Where to Go Fishing in Red Dead Online
So any fishing spot can be a source of profit, but not all fish are valued equally, and many don't show up in the same spot. Bearing that in mind, we've outlined two specific locations and the fish you want from them below.
Catching Sockeye Salmon
As far as we can tell, Rockstar actually lowered the price of these round red fish, simply because their potential as a source of income was harming the game's balanced economy. However, it hasn't been lowered too much, meaning that their value has gone from "ridiculous" to merely "superb."
Sockeye salmon can be found in O'Creagh's Run in the North of the map, above Emerald Ranch and to the left of Annesburg. Equip your River Lure and cast it into the water (or a Lake Lure if you have one, both work fine for salmon). There's actually two fish you have a chance of catching, either the salmon or something called a muskie, and it won't be long before you can tell the difference. Salmon are smaller, rounder, bright red instead of pale grey, and fight you a LOT less. Seriously, if you think you have a muskie, just cut the line and try again (you won't lose the lure by doing so).
You can carry up to ten sockeye salmon at once and each one nets a cool $2.50, making each run to the Run a startlingly profitable expedition. Once you have them, head to the nearest butcher's shop and offload the fish to make an easy $25.00.
Catching Northern Pike
This one is a little different - see, Northern Pike are BIG, to the extent where you're basically snaring a small sea monster. Consequently, you can't just store them in your satchel; you have to sling them over the back of your horse like you would a deer carcass or bear fur. That being said, there are ways to carry and sell more than one at a time, which we'll explain momentarily.
Head West from Valentine towards a small splash of blue named Cattail Pond, bringing a River Lure with you. It's an area filled with pike, each one worth a hefty $8.00 to any butchers. You'll fight them a lot more than you do with the salmon, but considering they're worth three times as much, it seems like a fair trade-off.
That being said, you can make a lot more in each journey if you bring a wagon with you to store them in. Wagons can be obtained either through the Trader specialist career path, or just by stealing one from any poor NPC who rides past (though prepare to feel the usual consequences of theft in doing so). By loading up the cart with pike, you can make each journey from Valentine a lot more profitable and not have to make the commute with just a single fish.
After a few visits to either area, you should be rolling in slightly foul-smelling money. Bearing that in mind, why not take a look at our guide on the best weapons around, so you can upgrade from fighting fish to fighting villains? Or you could check out more on the three specialist roles and what each one has to offer. Of course, any hunter of man or fish should be familiar with our Red Dead Guides Hub, just to know they're getting the most out of the game.