Fish Dreams – What Do They Mean?

7 Min Read | By Nicholas Barber

Last Modified 24 May 2024   First Added 27 May 2022

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

What Does it Mean to Dream of Fish?

Fish. A serene symbol to many, with a lot of cultural weight worldwide. Whether you love to watch them swim around or enjoy a fish dinner, these often-elegant animals hold a lot of weight to them when awake and when sleeping.

Fish represent several different things when they appear in your dreams, and happily, these are usually positive. Dreaming of these aquatic creatures can indicate “you will get money and power”, according to Russell Grant in The Illustrated Dream Dictionary.

If the fish are swimming up towards the surface of the water, the dream may mean you are in a position where good things like wealth, love and satisfaction are about to come into your life. On the other hand, a fish swimming in deep or murky water can mean you’re experiencing troubled times. Dreaming about fish swimming can also be a symbol of fertility or personal growth, according to Exemplore.

All of these different variations of fish dreams have their own symbolism and meaning for your waking life.

The Dream:

There’s nothing quite like turning down the lights, lighting up a candle and soaking in a relaxing hot bath at the end of a long day.

And so now, after running the water and swishing in your favourite bubble bath, you slowly lie back in it and stretch out your legs, savouring this rare moment of ‘me-time’.

Scooping up some foam, you’re just about to blow the bubbles when you feel it. Something alive. The ‘something’ is touching your right foot.

Clearing away the foam, you’re astonished to see a piranha fish sharing your bathwater. The next second you scream out in pain as it starts biting your toes.

Then you wake up. Fortunately, not in the bath but in your bed.

It was just a dream. But wait a minute; is that a bite mark on your toe?

Variations of the Fish Dreams

Two betta fish. One is red, blue and white, with a tinge of orange. The other is more pinkish-red.Fish dreams can vary widely. You may dream about eating a fish – or even have a dream similar to the one above, where you’re being eaten by a fish.

Your fish dream may involve catching a fish, seeing a fish out of water, or even encountering a dead fish.

When you have a lucid dream like this, it’s natural to wonder what it might mean for your life.

Variations of the dream

Rather than taking your dream at face value, it’s worth considering how it can be applied to your life and what’s going on for you personally. To help you do this we’ve explored some of the most common fish dream meanings below.

Dreaming about catching fish

If you have recurrent dreams about trying to catch fish you’ll be glad to know it’s said to means that you’re “a diligent person whose mind is focused on achieving goals.

And fishing dreams are also connected to spiritual and creative advancements, says Dream Interpretations. These dreams are telling you to, “explore your creative pursuits and play with hobbies. Find out what your true passion is and become more invested.”

The good news doesn’t end there. According to The Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Symbols, Signs, and Meanings by J.M. DeBord, dreams about the successful catching of a fish can symbolise a real-life win: landing a job, getting married, getting a record deal. “Fishing is also associated with the acquisition of knowledge,” DeBord explains, “particularly self-knowledge.”


Dreaming about eating a fish

Another common way in which fish can play a role in our dreams is when we eat one. According to, the symbolism behind a dream about eating fish depends on the style of fish, “If you’re eating a large fish, it can symbolise soon-to-be-gotten profits, or the quick accumulation of material goods. A smaller fish, however, can mean you’re in for some small troubles or minor annoyances.” On the other hand, eating raw fish in a dream could mean you need to spend more time working on the specifics of a current plan or situation that you find yourself involved with.

Dreaming about being eaten by a fish

Turning the tables, if you dream about a fish eating you – just like the dream of the piranha in the bath above, this might mean that you’re surrounded by people who don’t have your best interests in mind. “It indicates there are some people around you who are using their power to harm you,” according to Dreaming and Sleeping. As a result, try to be careful not to let yourself become affected by those people’s negative intentions.

Dreaming of a fish out of water

The commonly used English idiom, ‘a fish out of water’ describes someone who is struggling in an unfamiliar situation. So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that if you see a fish out of water in your dreams it’s likely to have a negative meaning for your waking life.

Diving deeper, this dream is likely to mean that you feel detached and lonely in this world. Symbolism and Metaphor says, “Just like the fish, you feel alone without your people, or your ‘school of fish’ who you should be with. You’re somewhere where you shouldn’t be.”

This dream can be seen as an indication to try to change your behaviour to improve your relationships with those around you.

Answering the dream:

The experts believe that dreams can teach you lessons about what’s happening in your emotions, and your unconscious. Dreaming of fish is said to represent your physical and spiritual alignment with the material world.

These dreams often represent your beliefs around value, self-worth, and abundance. Fish can appear to communicate your deep beliefs on your mindset around success, your feelings around being deserving, and what you are attracting into your physical world.

Now that we know what the experts think about the meaning of fish dreams, we need to understand how to use this knowledge to help improve our waking lives. The experts at Crystal Clear Intuition suggest you consider your emotional well-being and whether you need to take more control of your feelings after waking up from a fish dream.

Notable appearances in popular culture:

Fish play many important roles in our culture – from their economic importance in the fishing industry and the popular sport of angling – to folklore, religion, art, film, literature, and mythology. Fish possessing magical abilities appear in fairy and folk tale traditions all over the world, including the Spanish fairy tale The Knights of the Fish, and the Albanian heroic tale The Twins.

Recognised as a source of beauty for millennia, fish have been painted in cave art, been raised as ornamental fish in ponds and displayed in aquariums. Fish also feature prominently in literature and film, in books such as Hemmingway’s The Old Man and The Sea. Large fish, particularly sharks, have frequently been the subject of horror films and thrillers, most notably the novel Jaws, which spawned a series of films of the same name. Piranhas are shown in a similar light to sharks in films such as Piranha.

Fish also have a central role in religion. In the Book of Jonah, a major work of Jewish literature, a prophet named Jonah is swallowed by a giant fish after being thrown overboard by the crew of the ship he’s on. After three days, the fish vomits Jonah up on shore. The book was later included as part of the Christian Old Testament and a version of the story it contains is summarised in the Quran.

Find out more about dreams and their meanings by reading our articles on being chased in your dream, why your teeth fall out in your dream and what it means to be late in your dream.

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