- "Recently, the number of these fish has decreased tremendously, so I'm going to release this one."
- — Pond Owner
Hylian Loaches, also known as Hyrule Loaches, are recurring fish in the Legend of Zelda series. They are notorious both for their rarity and for the difficulty catching one presents. The Hylian Loach closely resembles an actual species of fish called the Bowfin.
The Hylian Loach is extremely rare; every time Link enters the Fishing Pond, there is a small chance that a loach will be present. Link can check before paying for a Fishing Rod by swimming to the submerged log, which is where the loach usually resides. Once Link finds a loach, he should scare it away from the log into the middle of the pond, then back away and prepare to cast at it. Approximately every 75 seconds, the loach will come up for air; this animation is the only time during which it can be hooked. For this reason, it is much easier to catch the loach with the Sinking Lure: as the standard lure floats, it can only interact with the loach for a brief moment at the surface of the water, while the Sinking Lure can encounter the loach at any point in its trajectory. Also, the direction in which the loach will swim as it surfaces appears random, making it extremely difficult to predict the exact point at which to cast using the standard lure.
With the Sinking Lure equipped, Link should stand with the water up to his ears so that he can view the loach from underneath the water using C-Up. Since the loach can only be Z-targeted briefly during its surfacing animation, using C-Up is the best way for Link to line up his cast beforehand. If more than 75 seconds pass and the loach has not surfaced, scaring it into a different location usually corrects this behavior. Once at rest, if the loach is floating above the bottom of the pond, Link should cast his lure and reel it in past the loach repeatedly, hopefully crossing its path during its ascent. If the loach is resting on the pond floor, Link's job is slightly easier: he can cast, let his lure sink to the bottom, and reel it directly on top of the loach before stopping. With this accomplished, the loach will hopefully become interested in the lure immediately upon starting its journey to the surface, and bite. Even with all of these conditions met, catching the loach is still extremely tedious: lining the cast up perfectly is a challenge; other fish will interfere by biting at the lure; and the loach will often show no interest, even at a lure placed inches from its face.
The Hylian Loach typically weighs between 30 and 35 pounds. After finally catching one, Link can present it to the Pond Owner for a purple Rupee. The owner then releases the fish due to a recent decline in its population, so it is not kept in the display tank and its size is not recorded. Link will have to exit and reenter the Fishing Pond if he wishes to catch another loach. Interestingly, the Pond Owner makes no mention of Link's use of the Sinking Lure when presented with a loach.
Adult Hylian Loaches can be caught at the Fishing Hole during summer, in the northernmost cove. They are generally around 30 inches in length. The easiest way to catch one is with the Frog Lure or the Sinking Lure, both of which are acquired under special circumstances. When Link catches one, a picture of him holding the fish appears above the other portraits on the wall of Hena's cabin, and a loach is added to her fish tank. Hylian Loaches can be caught as juveniles in the Lakebed Temple (room with boss key), Sacred Grove, Lanayru Spring, Kakariko Graveyard, and a Dig Cavern in Lake Hylia (near the entrance to Lake Hylia's Lantern Cavern).
The Pond Owner from Ocarina of Time can be seen holding a large Hylian Loach in a picture hung up on the wall in Hena's hut.
When Hena was a child, her favorite book was The Legend of the Hylian Loach: Twilight Fish. As time passed, she eventually memorized the entire story.
A painting of a Hylian Loach can be found in the Old Wayfarer's house.
A painting of a Hylian Loach can be found inside a house in northeastern Castle Town.
The Hylian Loach was originally supposed to appear in Majora's Mask as an item that could be kept in a Bottle. Data for it still exists in the game, and can be accessed with a GameShark or other cheating device. Its description only appears if it is placed into a Japanese version of the game, and roughly translates to "Hylian Loach Use with C Phantom fish that is seldom fished." when its description is viewed in the subscreens, and "Obtained a Hylian Loach! Seldom fished, it appears to be a phantom fish." when obtained. Oddly, unlike most bottled items, it is shown outside a bottle when Link holds it over his head upon first obtaining it. While it serves no unique purpose, it can be sold to the Curiosity Shop for 20 Rupees.
Food Grade Level
- Bronze Food - Hylian Loach
- Silver Food - Tasty Hylian Loach
- Gold Food - Delicious Hylian Loach