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A renewable source of food. Similar to a Farm, but in water.
Age of Empires II description

The Fish Trap is an economic building in Age of Empires II that becomes available once the Feudal Age is reached and a Dock is built. It provides 715 food. It can be constructed by a Fishing Ship, which is also the only unit which can collect food from Fish Traps. Only Fishing Ships can lay the foundation for a new Fish Trap, but if it was laid near the shore, the player's Villagers can also construct the Fish Trap.

Tactics and placement[]

Fish Traps may only be gathered by one Fishing Ship at a time. Fish Traps are very weak and do not hinder movements of friendly or enemy ships. An enemy Fishing Ship can take over a Fish Trap and begin harvesting it simply by right clicking it.

Unlike Farms, Fish Traps could not be reseeded at the Dock. This was changed in the Definitive Edition, where they can be reseeded and/or toggled for automatic reseed.

Fish Traps should always be placed right next to Docks in order to keep the moving distances of the Fishing Ships as short as possible, preferably zero. That maximizes their productivity. Fishing Ships always position themselves on the left side of a Fish Trap, therefore it is slightly more efficient to build Fish Traps on the right side of the Dock to minimize the moving time for the Fishing Ships.

Fish Traps and Farms are about equally productive, but Fish Traps are more cost efficient. Despite this, the Fish Trap is one of the least used of all buildings and structures. It is only used in certain situations when the player runs out of space on their island, there is no more fish around, and they need to gather food for survival in late Imperial Age. Also, Fish Trap working Fishing Ships are much harder to protect than Farmers, since they cannot be walled or flee in a Town Center for shelter. Therefore, they are sunk rather easily. Also before the Definitive Edition, they could not be queued up to be automatically reseeded, unlike Farms, which means they required more micromanagement in the late game. In the Definitive Edition, an option exists to automatically rebuild Fish Traps indefinitely.

However, two civilizations appreciate Fish Traps:

  • Japanese Fishing Ships have an increased work rate. That makes the Fish Trap a lot faster than Farms for the Japanese.
  • Malay Fish Traps only cost 67 wood (just 7 more than a Farm) and provided unlimited food before update 47820. Logically, that made them as cost effective as they could possibly be (their food:wood ratio was infinite) and as such a fair choice in the late game, also their bonus reduced Fish Trap micromanagement to zero, which was a significant bonus in non-DE versions of the game. With update 47820, Malay Fish Traps now provide 3 times more food, making them approximately 4.5 times more cost effective than a generic Fish Trap.

Comparison to Farms[]

Farmers gather relatively faster from Farms than Fishing Ships gather from Fish Traps, however up until the late Imperial Age they are less effective cost-wise (also considering that Fishing Ships themselves cost wood). The actual gathering speed between them may vary due to traffic between gatherers and actual Farm/Fish Trap placement.

Building Overall food provided Food generated per wood
Farm 175 2.92
Farm + Horse Collar 250 4.17
Farm + Heavy Plow 375 6.25
Farm + Crop Rotation 550 9.17
Fish Trap 715 7.15

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Burgundians: Can research Gillnets in the Feudal Age. Gillnets cost-50% food.
  • Byzantines: Fish Traps have +20%/+30%/+40% HP in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Chinese: Researching Gillnets is 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Italians: Researching Gillnets is 33% cheaper.
  • Japanese: Fishing Ships build and gather food from Fish Traps 5%/10%/15%/20% faster in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Malay: Fish Traps are 33% cheaper and provide 3 times more food.
  • Persians: Researching Gillnets is 15%/20% faster in the Castle Age/Imperial Age.
  • Portuguese: Researching Gillnets is 30% faster.


The Age of Kings[]

  • Fish Traps take 15 seconds to build.

The Conquerors[]

  • Fish Traps now take 53 seconds to build.

The Forgotten[]

The African Kingdoms[]

  • Fish Traps now take 40 seconds to build.

The Last Khans[]

  • Fish Traps can now be queued and have the automatic rebuild option at the Dock.

Lords of the West[]


  • If a Malay player starts fishing from a Fish Trap that was initially built by another civilization, it will still provide 3 times more food (2145 food). If a non-Malay player fishes from a Fish Trap that was built by the Malay, the Fish Trap will only provide 715 food.
    • A slight quirk can be exploited by converting a non-Malay Fish Trap to a Malay one before converting it back, which will cause the food provided to be reset to 715, even if the food provided prior to it being converted by a Malay Fishing Ship was below 715.
  • Fish Traps (and Farms) are the only buildings which can be repaired by Monks (and Missionaries), but only Monks of the same player owning the Farm or Fish Trap (not allies'). In the case of Fish Traps, it still costs the same amount of wood to repair the same amount of damage, and while Monks can repair from their healing range, they do so much slower than Villagers (for Fish Traps near the shore). Monks do not start repairing the player's Fish Traps automatically, unlike healing nearby allied units.


Dried and salted fish were valuable commodities in the Middle Ages because they were a source of protein that could be transported and store. Cod caught off Iceland and Norway was an especially valuable resource. Fishing technology improvements included the fish trap that allowed the netting of fish migrating up rivers and in coastal areas.


v  d  e
Constructable buildings in Age of Empires II
Civilian buildings
House  · Monastery  · Wonder
EconomicTown Center  · Dock  · Fish Trap  · Mill  · Farm  · Market  · Lumber Camp  · Mining Camp  · Feitoria  · Folwark  · Caravanserai
ResearchBlacksmith  · University
Military buildings
Barracks  · Archery Range  · Stable  · Siege Workshop  · Castle  · Harbor  · Krepost  · Donjon
TowerOutpost  · Watch Tower  · Guard Tower  · Keep  · Bombard Tower
WallPalisade Wall  · Stone Wall  · Fortified Wall  · Palisade Gate  · Gate