Fishing skills

10 Animals With Better Fishing Skills Than Humans

Ever since early humans realized there was food swimming in the water, we’ve looked and found ways to spear, trap, or catch them. Human beings have spent lifetimes trying to outsmart fish by catching them in various ways. More often than not, they discover that fish have ways of making fun of us. Basically, are we better off for the fishing methods we have discovered? Sometimes that seems a little hard to tell, especially since we’ve seen what other wild creatures do to successfully catch fish. To us, getting on all fours and trying to catch a fish with our mouths might sound laughable, but if cheeseburgers had legs, we’d be chasing them like wild animals do to catch lunch. All kidding aside, the wild animals of the world that catch and eat fish do so in such a grand way that we look a little foolish trying to trick them with a fly or a worm on a string. But with very few exceptions, that’s all we have. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how it’s really done.

sea ​​lion

Eduardo Baena/Getty

These sea lions are nefarious for stealing the catch of human fishermen, but their ability to catch anything swimming is legendary. They eat a variety of prey, such as squid, anchovies, mackerel, rockfish and sardines, but they can harm salmon stocks and can sometimes be seen just in fish passage areas near dams.

river otter

The otters were so good at their ability to catch fish that Marco Polo is said to have observed Chinese fishermen on his travels using the animals to do the work for them. Even Izaak Walton lamented the fact that they could fish us out at all levels. They are skilful, playful, and even fun to watch, but they can be aggressive towards people who get too close to them.


Kingfishers can see their prey swimming just below the surface of the water from some distance and pounce on them before they know what hit it. Not only that, but as seen in the video, they have a brutal way of making sure they don’t swallow anything that’s still alive. Anyone who has watched a kingfisher fish knows how amazing their ability is.


crested merganser eating a fish in a natural environment


While certainly not the only diving duck that catches and eats fish, the common merganser is amazing at it. In fact, they are so successful that I have personally seen gulls following and harassing them as they come out of the water in an attempt to steal their catch. They are common to see from the blind duck along the shores of the Great Lakes, but are not very good at the table due to this diet.

Northern Water Snake

Northern water snakes are excellent at chasing and catching fish. They are quite stealthy, fast and aggressive when dealing with any fish that has the wrong time to get too close to them. They are often confused with the cottonmouth which only exists in the southern part of the United States. Even though northern water snakes can be aggressive if cornered, they are not poisonous or dangerous to anyone.


Double-crested cormorant with fresh fish.


Here is another animal that is so good at fishing that humans have long reversed roles and used it to gather their food. As many anglers along the Great Lakes will tell you, this is one of the worst things to happen to fishing in the past 40 years. Cormorants are one of the best known fishing birds.

dragonfly nymph

Dragonfly larva eating a dead fish underwater.


Dragonfly larvae might be the most patient anglers, as they are ambush type predatory insects. They will catch small crayfish and other insects, but their fish-catching prowess is well documented. The best part is that all of their feasting will eventually turn them into a voracious mosquito-eating machine, the dragonfly.

Brown bear

Maybe it’s the fierce competition or it’s just the nature of bears, but even though these massive bears (capable of reaching over 900 pounds) can miss a few hits, they still make the most of what the spawn gives them to fatten up. For winter. And just as a quick review: every grizzly bear is a brown bear, but not all brown bears are grizzly bears.


An osprey on the hunt, in flight with a fish caught in a lake.


Ospreys sometimes dive over fish from a height of 100 feet above the water, locking their talons in front of them and folding their wings to enter the water as fast as they can. They have grip pads on their feet and curved claws to help carry fish after catching it. They often have to fight for their catch against marauding bald eagles who have their own ability to catch fish, but are also well known for stealing osprey.


These amazing little furry animals have an uncanny talent that allows them to chase fish in the same waters they live in and come out on top. I watched this mink come out of the water with an invading round goby in its mouth, but I could only watch it as it stopped me trying to get past with its meal.

Eventually he returned and collected the reward for his efforts and nibbled on the non-native fish. Mink are well known for their ability to swim and their keen eyesight, especially underwater. Minks have elongated bodies, bushy tails, and short legs, but they sure do work on fish.

Please see my book “The Hunter’s Way” by HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my web page, or on Facebook and YouTube.


Related videos