For other uses, see Slaughterfish.
"Many of Skyrim's waterways are home to Slaughterfish, whose razor-sharp teeth have claimed the lives of many careless swimmers."
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Slaughterfish are aggressive aquatic creatures in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


Slaughterfish can be found in rivers, oceans, and occasionally ponds. Some places where slaughterfish may be encountered include:

Changes in Skyrim

Unlike previous The Elder Scrolls games in which they appeared, slaughterfish are much less common and now lay eggs, which can be harvested from clutches in or near water. When killed, their corpses float.

Battle strategy

Slaughterfish do very little damage when they attack, and do not attack particularly rapidly. Thus even a level 1 Dragonborn on Legendary Difficulty can dispatch them with only modest organization, or even more easily avoid them. The only trick is that the Dragonborn cannot unsheathe weapons or cast magic underwater, therefore:

  • The most straightforward method is to lure the Slaughterfish to the shallows or shore and attack it with melee weapons or Magic Runes. Even Level 1 characters with iron weapons can accomplish this reasonably quickly, as one can step back from the shore and heal in safety whenever desired.
  • Slaughterfish can easily be killed while underwater by wearing the Ebony Mail, due to the Mail's damage effect. Cloak spells, such as Flame Cloak, are also effective against the fish if cast before entering the water, as spells cannot be cast under water.
  • Use the compass to show the general direction of a slaughterfish, and an offensive shout (such as Fire Breath or Marked for Death) to kill it, as shouts have a large enough damage cone to hit them even if the Dragonborn does not know their precise location.
  • Using the shout Aura Whisper or the Detect Life spell to show the exact location of the slaughterfish will make it easy to attack it with projectile magic or weapons.
  • Area-effect spell such as Ice storm directed by the compass to attack them.
  • Use a follower with ranged combat capabilities (such as a mage like Onmund or an archer like Faendal) to supply "cover fire" to the Dragonborn while they are swimming.
  • Conjure a flame or storm atronach to kill them, as the atronach can always detect the exact location of the slaughterfish.


  • Seared slaughterfish is a commonly-found food, yet slaughterfish meat cannot be harvested.
  • When travelling close to water, slaughterfish commonly appear as enemies on the compass yet are difficult to find and kill. This restricts fast travelling, using forges, grindstones, waiting, etc. Ways to solve this include seeing if the Dragonborn's follower attacks the slaughterfish, marking its position, or running away from the area until the red dot disappears from the compass or using a find life spell.
  • In the Hearthfire DLC, if slaughterfish eggs are placed in the Windstad Manor fish hatchery, the slaughterfish spawned will be neutral.
  • Slaughterfish cannot be raised from the dead by Conjuration spells such as Revenant or Raise Zombie, due to the fact they are strictly aquatic.
  • Slaughterfish cannot attack the Dragonborn on land, yet they will usually not exit combat even if the Dragonborn is out of their reach. This makes them extremely useful for advancing magical skills easily by repeatedly casting a non-offensive spell in their vicinity, since most spells will not raise skill unless used in combat. For example, it is possible to easily level up Conjuration by getting attacked by a slaughterfish, moving onto land, and then repeatedly casting a spell to conjure a bound weapon.
  • Slaughterfish are some of the smallest hostile creatures, being only slightly larger than a rabbit or hawk.
  • Four slaughterfish scales can also be used to create a slaughterfish model on a small trophy base within a trophy room in an owned property with Hearthfire.
  • The Slaughterfish bears a resemblance to the alligator gar, a fish that lives in both fresh and salt water in the Southeastern United States and Mexico.


This section contains bugs related to Slaughterfish (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   360   PS3   When attacked by a slaughterfish, they may "swim" across land to attack.


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