Why can’t I pick up fish in Valheim? Pick up fish bug explained

Go fish!

Staring at a beached Perch in Valheim

Screenshot by Gamepur

While exploring the biome coasts of Valheim, you might have encountered a beached fish or two on a lake or ocean shore. Conversely, perhaps you were swimming across the large river and passed several fish along the way. However, you might have encountered an odd bug that prevents you from picking up the fish you come into contact with in Valheim. Even though the fish’s name appears on your in-game crosshair, you cannot add it to your inventory, regardless of how many times you spam your “Pick Up” input.

Related: How to get and use sticky bait in Valheim

Pick up fish bug in Valheim

If you attempt to catch without a fishing rod in Valheim, you might encounter a bug that prevents you from picking it up.
Screenshot by Gamepur

According to two posts made by Reddit users humbugg2 and Aldwr on r/valheim, the reason behind the bug surrounding the inability to pick up a beached fish or a fish swimming in water is that the developers want players to avoid catching fish with their hands. With the Fishing Rod tool and mechanics in place, it is not hard to see the logic behind why the dev team would not want adventurers skipping on fishing and easily grabbing any fish they find. After searching through the Valheim official Discord channel and Patch Notes on the game’s website, we could not find the exact point at which this “known bug” was addressed. Conversely, there were several “Misc. fixes” for fish-related mechanics. 

To test this bug for ourselves, we visited a small remote island off the shores of the Black Forest in Valheim and attempted to pick up beached fish that flung themselves onto the land. Some clipped through the ground, but we did manage to come into a close-quarters with several Perch and can confirm that we could not pick them up despite the close proximity. Therefore, if you want to pick up fish in Valheim without dealing with this known bug, you must resort to equipping your Fishing Rod instead of attempting to snatch up fish with your hands.