Can You Catch Fish in Your Toilet? The Myth and Reality of Sewer Fishing

September 20, 2020

Can You Catch Fish in Your Toilet? The Myth and Reality of Sewer Fishing

We’ve seen people fishing in sewers beside factories, small ponds, and even flooded streets.

But have you ever thought of catching fish in the safety of your own home? I’m not talking about aquarium fishing. I’m talking about toilet fishing!

I know this sounds odd, but hear me out. If we can catch fish in the sewers, what’s stopping us from doing the same in toilets? Toilets are an extension of the sewer, after all, right? 

But can you catch fish in your toilet?

The short answer is no, you cannot catch fish in your toilet. The level of water is too low and the concentration of sewage is too high. Fish need oxygenated water to survive (it’s how they breathe), and toilet water isn’t oxygenated enough.

Even if it was, the level of sewage would kill any species of fish. Toilet water goes through a reclamation process that filters out all sewage and bacteria before becoming “grey water”. Grey water is then often used for irrigation or other non-consumption purposes.

Let’s go into this in more detail.

The Truth About Toilet Fishing: Is It Really a Thing?

I was scrolling through Pinterest when I first learned about the wonders of “toilet fishing”. It was through a sign that said “no toilet fishing allowed”, with a caricature of a man holding a fishing rod over a toilet.

I would’ve dismissed it as a gag, but it genuinely looked like a sign that was used in public toilets. That had me wondering, is toilet fishing really a thing? Has anyone ever caught someone fishing in a toilet and decided to warn anyone else from doing the same?

Or was it, perhaps, put up as a joke?

The “History” of Toilet Fishing

Man catches fish in bath

If you google “toilet fishing”, three primary results come up: articles of “funny signs” that include the toilet fishing man, toilet fishing toys, and video proof of people actually catching fish in their toilets.

The “No Toilet Fishing” Sign 

Let’s first discuss the sign. The source of the image is unclear, but many say it was first found outside a Japanese public bathroom. Others, like the news magazine DailyMail, say that it was found in the toilets of the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia back in 2014.

After that, I hit a dead end. It’s possible that it all started in Russia with all the reports confirming that. But I can’t guarantee for sure that that’s really the case.

Toilet Fishing Games

In addition to the images of people fishing while on the toilet (not in a toilet), I’ve also found a surprisingly numerous amount of Potty Toilet Fishing Games.

Don’t get me wrong; I can totally imagine myself enjoying this toilet fishing game if I was, maybe, seven years old. You know, back when mobile phones weren’t a thing.

Personally, I’d rather read the back of a shampoo bottle instead of going through the effort of setting the game up every time I do my business or even play a level or two of Candy Crush on my phone to pass the time.

Admittedly, these toilet fishing games make for a funny gift. You can even add a card that says, “Who knows how long you may be in there?”

Videos of People Catching Fish in a Toilet

While searching for the mysteries of toilet fishing, I found two Youtube videos that show two separate individuals catching fish from their toilet. Both videos were published in 2018.

Catch Em All Fishing uploaded a video of him catching not one, or two, but three Peacock bass in less than an hour in a public bathroom! That’s pretty impressive. He also states that he only ever catches fish in women’s toilets, which is kind of weird, if you ask me!

The same goes for Pacific Northwest Fishing. He caught a bass almost as big as his hand within a few minutes. There was only one difference: instead of it being in a public bathroom, this happened in his own toilet.

But these two videos provided more questions than answers. Are fish caught in toilets edible? Is bass the only type of fish that can be caught in toilets? Most importantly, don’t these videos signify that toilet fishing is, undoubtedly, an activity one can partake in?

In other words…

Is It Real?

fishing in toilet

The internet is a mysterious place. More often than not, it’s difficult to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not. So, do I believe these videos are 100% true?

The truth is, I don’t really know. It’s a little fishy that there’s so little known about toilet fishing. It certainly seems easier than going surf fishing or renting out a boat to catch bass.

Granted, anything related to toilets is enough to make even the toughest fishermen turn away. It’s gross and kind of unethical. But USA Today once reported that “Sewer fishing is the newest rage in fishing” back in 2013, and that’s on par with toilet fishing, isn’t it?

So this leaves me to theorize…

Theory #1: The Videos are (Possibly) Clickbait

I’m not saying that both videos are unquestionably faked. But in both instances, we don’t actually see the fish being caught. Every time they catch a fish, the video cuts off, then we’d see them pulling out a fish from the toilet out of the blue.

It’s almost as if the fish was already in the bowl when they “caught” it!

We’ve seen reports of snakes, rats, and other small rodents swimming up the toilet. In fact, a man from Thailand had a python sink its teeth into his delicate private bits while minding his own business. It wasn’t a small snake; it was a massive 10-feet python!

Snakes and rats are able to navigate through dry pipes quite easily, but it’s highly unlikely for a fish to do the same.

Besides, it’s probable that these content creators made these for views. And with over 4 million views, it seemed that it worked pretty well. They certainly caught people’s attention with their “toilet fishing”.

Theory #2: It’s Actually Real and Entirely Possible

Still, I’m willing to give these two content creators the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they really did catch the fish from their toilet, who knows?

Maybe certain toilets are able to actually house fish, and both these men were lucky enough to experience the catch on camera.

Videos aside, maybe there really is a group of anglers that catch fish in toilets. It’s certainly not unheard of for people to fish in small waters, and perhaps they like the solitude that bathrooms provide.

And if these people did exist, surely they’d be using special gear to catch these fish. It’ll make sense to use a long, bendy rod with a string that’s over 10 to 15 feet — something long enough to reach far deep into the sewers.

Another explanation is that they’re using a makeshift toilet at the edge of a stream. Anything is possible.

Reasons Why I Believe You Can’t Fish in Your Toilet

goldfish floating in a toilet

Despite the video “evidence”, I personally don’t believe you can fish in your toilet. This is because of the following reasons:

Toilet Water Kills Fish

Sewers have city water, and city water is treated in a way that kills off organisms that live in it. In order to prevent harmful microbes from infecting the general public, the city uses several water treatment methods.

Two of the most common are chlorine and chloramines.

These two disinfectants will kill various disease-causing germs such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and norovirus.

Even the most resilient and thick scaled fish wouldn’t be able to survive these diseases.

Both chlorine and chloramines kill fish within a minute or two, which is why it’s always recommended to remove these substances from one’s aquarium water. It’s said that even 0.006 mg/L of chlorine can kill fish in about two days.

So unless the fish you catch is utterly Herculean and somehow immune to the toxic powers of these disinfectants, there’s little to no reason to believe that you can catch fish in your toilet.

The Sewer System Is Heavily Polluted

If the fish somehow manages to survive the trip through your pipes, it’ll be stuck in a container of bodily waste, chemicals, and soap — that’s too much for any living organism to handle.

Although fish pollute the water they live in with their own poop, this level of sewage will kill almost all living organisms. Fish won’t stand a chance.

The Force of a Toilet’s Flush Is Too Strong

The average person flushes a toilet five times a day. Toilet water is typically emitted from an empty horizontal pipeline into an empty vertical pipeline. Afterward, the water that was flushed will travel into another nearly empty pipe until it reaches the sewer main.

Sewer systems are completely gravity-fed, meaning that the pipes slope downward from the source (your toilet) directly to the wastewater treatment plant.

The turbulent environment is too strong for a fish to push against. Even with the help of a fishing line, you’re more likely to catch rats, insects, or snakes in the toilet than actual live fish.

The Takeaway

Can you catch fish in your toilet? Maybe, but it’s highly unlikely. As of writing this article, there is no solid proof to say that you can catch fish in your toilet, even hypothetically.

Even if you somehow can, the fish that you’ll catch will be likely infected with several contaminants, making it unsafe to eat and handle.

If you must fish near your home, maybe you can catch fish in a sewer, just like Kyle Naegeli. You’re more likely to catch fish in a sewer than a toilet, public or private.

Happy Hunting!

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