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The Meaning of Fish in Dreams

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Sue has been an online writer for over eight years. She is a mother, social worker, writer, and dream interpreter.

Dreaming of fish? Find out why!

Dreaming of fish? Find out why!

Fish in Dreams

Dreams of fish swimming often represent insights from your unconscious mind, especially when associated with the ocean. Catching a fish represents insights that have been brought to the surface.

Dreaming of Fish Eggs

Eggs are often associated with potential and new beginnings. Seeing fish eggs in your dream may represent a new idea or new direction that is emerging from your unconscious.

Fish and Fertility

Fish are often seen as a symbol of fertility and personal growth. Seeing a fish swimming in your dream may symbolize conception. People often associate the image of sperm with fish in the ocean. Some women dream of swimming fish when they get pregnant.

The fish's place within the food chain may reveal a lot to the dreamer about where they think they are socially, their level of confidence, and their sense of power.

The fish's place within the food chain may reveal a lot to the dreamer about where they think they are socially, their level of confidence, and their sense of power.

A Play-on-Words With "Fish"

Common fish-related phrases may link the dreamer to the meaning of his/her fish dream. Consider the following: "like a cold fish," "fish out of water," or something that is "fishy" about a situation. Depending upon the nature of the fish, you may also want to consider phrases associated with being "lured" or "hooked" to something (or someone). A dream fish may also imply a slippery or elusive situation. Perhaps your dream could be telling you that "there are plenty of other fish in the sea" in regards to some relationship issue. Lastly, the dream could relate to "fishing for compliments" and show that you have a need for attention and recognition.

Eating or Cooking Fish in a Dream

Cooking and eating are often associated with nourishing the soul and are looked upon as spiritual in general.

Eating fish in a dream is often symbolic of the dreamer's beliefs, philosophy, or spirituality. Eating fish shows you are incorporating your new realizations into your identity. Cooking fish in a dream means the same thing as eating it but is focused more on preparation and the process the dreamer is undertaking in order to incorporate new information, new concepts, and new discoveries into who they are as a person in their waking life. How the dreamer is preparing the fish may give important insight into what the dreamer is struggling with during this inner transformation.

Cleaning Fish: Related to cooking and eating fish, cleaning fish in a dream suggests that you are altering your emotional expression in a way that will be presentable and acceptable to others. The dreamer is censoring him/herself and not expressing how he/she completely feels.

Dreaming of Dead Fish

A dead fish in a dream signifies disappointment and loss. This loss may be associated with power/wealth, an idea, a spiritual chapter of one's life, or infertility. Since fish are often associated with the unconscious, a dead fish may symbolize something old giving way to new growth and potential.

Death is an important symbol in dreams and can have both positive and negative associations for the dreamer. It is important to decipher if the dream is about an ending or a new beginning and if it is positive or negative for the dreamer. Ending something prematurely could have negative consequences, yet holding onto something too long can stunt the dreamer's personal growth and development.

Two fish in two separate bowls may relate to feeling disconnected from others.

Two fish in two separate bowls may relate to feeling disconnected from others.

Dreaming of a Fish Tank or Fishbowl

A fish tank is the container of our emotions. The size and general quality of the fish tank will show the dreamer what state their emotions are in. Fish tanks, in general, indicate that the dreamer may be compartmentalizing their emotions, which may lead to losing touch with their full being. Dreaming of a fish tank may show you how you keep your feelings in check. If you are watching the fish in a fishbowl, you may feel detached from society, as if your life is going nowhere or that you are swimming in circles in life.

Dreaming that you are living in a fish tank or bowl may mean you are feeling detached from society, but it may also mean that you are feeling the pressure of those around you. Consider the phrase "living in a fishbowl." Fish in fishbowls have nowhere to hide (catching them is like "shooting fish in a barrel"). The dreamer may feel judged, criticized, and scrutinized by others. This dream is most often associated with a family unit, a school setting, or a workplace.

Dreaming of catching a larger fish than anticipated may mean the dreamer feels he/she may not be able to handle what  he/she is dredging up from the unconscious, that the idea or information is too large for them to handle.

Dreaming of catching a larger fish than anticipated may mean the dreamer feels he/she may not be able to handle what he/she is dredging up from the unconscious, that the idea or information is too large for them to handle.

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Dreaming of Someone Fishing

A fisherman in dreams suggests the dreamer is trying to catch something in his/her waking life.

Dreaming of fishing could mean the dreamer is confronting repressed emotions and bringing them to the surface. Ice fishing suggests the dreamer is breaking through a hardened emotional barrier and confronting difficult feelings from the unconscious.

Be careful with over-interpreting a dream. Fishing could also simply mean the dreamer needs leisure and relaxation.

Dreaming of a Fishing Rod

A fishing rod in a dream represents the tools and motivation you have necessary for your quest and exploration of your unconscious mind. You are ready to confront issues and emotions you have suppressed. Dreaming of the fishing rod may indicate to you that you are going to embark on an internal journey of self-discovery. If your dream is focused on the tools and planning and not the act of fishing, this may show that you are preparing for this personal quest and are close to gaining insight.

Dreaming of Fishhooks

Fishhooks in dreams may refer to an idea that you need to "catch." The dream may also indicate that you are getting hooked on something. A fishhook may also mean that you are being tricked or manipulated into doing something or buying into a false idea.

Dreaming of Jellyfish

Jellyfish in dreams can mean a few different things, depending on the type of jellyfish; some can sting and are very dangerous, while others are simply harmless and spineless. A jellyfish may represent painful memories that are emerging from your unconscious. There may be hidden hostility or aggression in some aspect of the dreamer's waking relationships or situation. Dreaming of a jellyfish may also indicate feelings of inadequacy, uncertainty, and a lack of self-esteem. Perhaps you are having trouble standing up for yourself in a specific situation in your waking life, or perhaps you feel as though you have no spine and are not upholding your morals and what you believe and stand for.

If the jellyfish in your dream seems like a positive symbol, it may relate to going with the flow. Jellyfish move with the ocean. Perhaps you've been swept up by something larger than yourself and have found serenity.

Christian Fish Symbol

Christian Fish Symbol

Dreaming of Fish: The Christian Perspective on Dreams

The fish is also an ancient symbol of Christianity and dreaming of a fish may refer to the dreamer's beliefs and experiences within the Christian church. Look in any illustrated Christian book and you will find images of Jesus on a fishing boat. Even the apostles were referred to as fisherman or "fishers of men." Common proverbs such as, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" may also give meaning to a dream of fish.

Here are Bible verses which mention fish:

  • Mark 1:17: "Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
  • Matthew 12:40: "...Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
  • Matthew 14:17: "And they said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish.'"
  • Luke 5:6: "And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking."
  • Luke 24:42: "So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb."
  • John 21:6: "And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish."
  • 1 Corinthians 15:39: "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds."

According to "When threatened by Romans in the first centuries after Christ, Christians used the fish [symbol to] mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes."

The fish symbol is still used to signify Christianity today. We often see fish bumper stickers on cars, for instance, as we drive on the highway or people with fish symbols on necklaces or t-shirts.

Dreaming of Fish: Alternative and Cultural Perspectives

Dreaming of a fish may relate to historical and/or cultural meanings of fish. Perhaps the dreamer is either from, is influenced by, or has studied these cultures.

  • Pagan: Great Mother goddess was often depicted as a fish or a woman with a fish over her genitals.
  • Chinese: Kwan-yin was often symbolized as a fish.
  • Indian: The goddess Kali was called the "fish-eyed one."
  • Egyptian: Isis was called the great fish of the abyss.
  • Greek: The Greek word delphos means both fish (dolphin) and womb.
  • Astrology: Fish are often associated with the astrological sign of Pisces.
  • Mediterranean: Various religions used fish, wine, and bread for their sacramental meal.
  • Scandinavian: Fish was eaten in the great goddess Freya's honor. The sixth day of the week was named "Friday" after her.
  • Middle Eastern: The goddess of Ephesus was depicted as a woman with a fish over her genitals.


Sue B. (author) on February 14, 2016:

Kristen Howe-

Thank you for your comment and for sharing your dream experience. I have often heard authors tend to integrate dream experiences in their creative works. What an interesting symbol to weave into your writing!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 11, 2015:

Sue, this is a great hub about fish symbols in dreams. I did have a jellyfish dream a decade ago that made a small appearance in one of my novels. Nice work!

Sue B. (author) on June 19, 2013:


Thank you for submitting your daughter's dream. How old is she? Being in water just above her head would relate to feelings of overwhelm. Since she is frightened of this fish, I would wonder if she is has associated this feeling with this image and is now carrying this fear. My only suggestion to cope with the fear is to explore fish further and begin to study them and learn about them. I would also suggest attempting to identify what feels overwhelming and help her break down the issue into smaller and more understandable pieces.

Sue B. (author) on May 31, 2013:


Thank you for sharing your dream. In your dream, this fish seems to be related to fertility and may also relate to insights. Since it is a plaque and not an actual fish, you are still getting a representation of the symbol and not quite the real thing. This would show me that you still aren't in touch with the whole message so the confusion about the meaning would make sense. Do you want to be pregnant? Are you pregnant? Pregnancy could also relate to being pregnant with promise and the potential to grow and develop. Will something you create or put forth begin to have a life of its own?

ellabr on May 14, 2013:

My daughter had a dream that She was in water just above her head and She was feightened because there was a 1.5 foot long fish about five inches from her face..She can't stop thinking about this fish that keeps

Freighteing her... What does this dream mean?

Sue B. (author) on May 05, 2013:


Thanks for sharing your dream:

*** For years I have had the same dream once in a while about me forgetting that I have a fish tank and I have not fed of taken care if it for so long that there's almost no water in it but my fish are still alive. Last night I had a dream that a fish was swimming around my head biting me and getting caught in my hair. But I wasn't in water. I'm 42 and no chance of becoming pregnant. I read that that why I'm dreaming about fish. I really want to know why I keep having those dreams. Thank you.***

My first impression about your dream is that fish are representing emotions for you and the fish tank would be a place in which you store your emotions. The dream sounds like it is highlighting self-neglect. When fish are biting you and getting caught in hair, I would wonder if that relates to how your thoughts and beliefs are getting in the way of your emotional management and emotional expression.

Ginger77 on March 21, 2013:

Last nite In my dream I kept seeing a grey stone plaque on a wall with a fish design in the middle of it all of it stone and a deep voice was repeating in my ear you are pregnant it was a really deep n clear voice male I think but I couldn't see anyone and don't recall anything else about just the stone n voice. is it my angel trying to tell me something can u tell me the meaning it was a very clear strong dream like it was real

Wbelinda on March 07, 2013:

For years I have had the same dream once in a while about me forgetting that I have a fish tank and I have not fed of taken care if it for so long that there's almost no water in it but my fish are still alive. Last night I had a dream that a fish was swimming around my head biting me and getting caught in my hair. But I wasn't in water. I'm 42 and no chance of becoming pregnant. I read that that why I'm dreaming about fish. I really want to know why I keep having those dreams. Thank you.

Sue B. (author) on January 21, 2013:


My first impression of your dream about a fish growing in your ear is that you may have heard something that has caused a painful insight into self, into the world, into a relationship , etc. Since your ear was bleeding, it would show you that you are losing energy over this new knowledge. It may be time to rebalance yourself.

Sue B. (author) on January 21, 2013:


This dream about the beta fish sounds like it refers to emotions you are burdened with and have attempted to disown. Your husband could be symbolizing an aspect of self but he could also be demonstrating your relationship's dynamic. Has your marriage in some way brought forth feelings you were hoping to bury? Are you angry these feelings keep coming to the surface?

The fish babies could relate to either the problem or feelings growing in size or it would relate to potential new growth you are not happy about. I did find it interesting you want the female removed and the male to care for the babies. It made me wonder if you are attempting to remove yourself and leave your husband with dealing with stressors or difficult emotional situations.

This dream may be prompting you to take on a new approach, attempting to hide from these feelings are only making them grow more and would increase a sense of overwhelm.

Since the army is also in this dream, it could refer to authority within your life. Do you feel someone is forcing you in some way to confront something you do not feel you need or want to?

Focail on January 15, 2013:

Hi I had a dream that something was growing in my ear and got larger and larger and painful and my face swelled up. Then a few minutes later I felt the tail of a fish and my friend pulled out a large like goldfish from my ear and it was so painful and the fish was still alive. It had been growing in my ear. Then after it was out my ear dropped with blood. If you could let me know the meaning that would be great thanks.

AnexRavensong from France on January 11, 2013:

Today I dreamt that I came home to find my husband had bought a fish. Apparently we had a male betta and he bought a female betta so there would be eggs and baby fish. When I found out, I yelled at him to take the female out after so the male could take care of the babies (there were eggs in the bubble nest). I was a bit mad to find he had spent money we didn't have to buy a fish and now we would have babies to take care of too. The most shocking part was that when he took out the female betta, she was HUGE! About the size of a basketball, she had some words on her back (as if she was in a container that was too small with raised words on it and they left marks), I couldn't make them out. I complained at my husband for spending so much money on the fish and he told me that "it's ok, the army paid for it". (He is not in the military & would never be accepted due to esotropia, also he is French and we reside in France) We put the fish in a shallow aquarium on the ground with another aquarium inside that one laying on its side to make a kind of cave. I remember being very angry about this giant fish that we had no place to keep properly and no money to feed it, the male and coming babies.

Sue B. (author) on January 05, 2013:


Thank you for sharing your dream. The small fish in this dream sounds as though it could represent "there are other fish in the sea" and you had trouble catching one. This may show you that you still have some feelings about your ex and are working things out for yourself. The unknown house would represent you and could show you that you are not fully aware of yourself and your feelings. The person underwater in a swimming suit could be you navigating your emotions and sounds like a positive symbol.

A car tends to represent our ability to navigate our path in life. The very big fish sounds like it could be a very big insight from your unconscious or a very big relationship potential. It sounds like this is where you feel you are headed. I would view this as a very positive dream unless your feelings are indicating otherwise.

LFF on December 31, 2012:

In my dream i saw me in an unknown house, near to a window, and i was talking to my ex girlfriend on the phone. I asked her how was she doing, if she was ok. Then i saw a person, with a swimming suit, underwater, trying to catch a small fish with a harpoon, with no success. In this particular part of the dream, the house, and myself, were gone. There was only water, the fisherman and the fish. After that scene, i was again at the window and i watched a very big fish emerge out of the waters, with a car behind it.

Sue B. (author) on December 23, 2012:


It sounds like you were influenced by your book; however, the fish sound like a metaphor for deeper emotions you may be becoming aware of. A fish within a fish gives me the sense of going deeper or peeling back layers like an onion. Since you feel bad for the salmon and kill it, I wonder if you are feeling bad emotionally some way and block the expression of the emotion.

Sue B. (author) on December 23, 2012:


This is an interesting fish dream. it sounds like the fish could relate to emotions you may ignore or compartmentalize. These could be emotions coming into your awareness. Since you run from one, it sounds like you are running away from engaging in your feelings. Since you do not want to touch it, it sounds like you do not want to be in touch with these feelings.

You may want to try to visualize the dream and get in touch with the fish and try to get to know them. it sounds like you are managing your emotions in a way that is not good for you and you may need to get in touch with these emotions even if they are unpleasant.

Sue B. (author) on December 19, 2012:


Water/ocean typically represents our unconscious and/or emotions. The fish-man would be a part of self that is more aware of our emotions. Since he is slaughtering people, I would wonder if you struggle with feeling threatened by your feelings. The people you see in the cavern would relate to aspects of self that are coming into your awareness. The secret of immortality could be spiritual knowledge for you or the secret to preserving what is important to you as you continue to confront what is in your subconscious.

Sue B. (author) on December 16, 2012:


Thank you for sharing your dream. This sounds like a part of your unconscious you are attempting not to disturb or confront and are finding ways to navigate and deal with it. The cat would also represent an aspect of self- perhaps instincts. The shark sounds like it is what threatens you. It sounds like tiptoeing around a part of self is a lot of work and is confining, perhaps you could explore this part of self further.

les-online on December 14, 2012:

I dreamed last night of pulling a live salmon from the belly of a larger white-gray fish. The salmon flopped around and I felt bad for it, so I pressed its mouth down into the mud to kill it quickly. I had been reading a book set in Alaska that did describe gutting fish, so that clearly played a part! But wondering why I pulled up this image of all things. Certainly there was no fish within a fish in the book!

jrfish05 on December 10, 2012:

Hi Sue,

I had a dream 2 nights ago about 2 fish sitting side by side on the dresser in my apartment. One fish was a dark grey color in a bowl. It was such an unassuming color and had such a complacent mood that it wasn't until my eyes scanned past it, and I did a double take that I saw that it was a fish. It wasn't until I woke up that I realized that it was pretty large for the clear fish bowl that it was in. It didn't appear uncomfortable or skirmish though, it was oddly calm. Then to the right of it was a large very bright orange/yellow fish out of water sitting on the dresser next to the grey one. I remember thinking for a split second that it was dead, but I noticed its eyes close. It then clicked to me that it was alive. As soon as I realized it was alive, it jumps up and starts chasing me. All of this takes place in my apartment which appeared as it usually does. The bright orange fish didn't seem mean or like it wanted to hurt me, but I felt a need to run from it. At one point I went in my closet to escape it and closed the door because the fish was close behind. I noticed that I had accidentally caught the fish in the door and felt scared that I hurt it. Its body looked misshapen in the middle as it retreated a little, but I somehow I knew I hadn't damaged it beyond a point it would heal from. I kind of feel like it wanted me to pick it up and maybe (wasn't too sure) wanted me to put it in some water. I hoped some guy that i knew only in the dream, would come by so that he could put it in the water. That's all I remember from the dream. For some reason I think I was grossed out at the thought of touching the fish, but knew deep down that if it needed my attention, that I would prob get over it like everything else that needs to be done that I don't initially want to do. Do you know what this could mean? Im a pisces by the way, lol.

the2cyn on December 06, 2012:

I had a strange dream involving a strange fish-man who was going around town slaughtering people. Then somehow I ended up in a strange cavern filled with water, with small mounds on all four sides, with people of all ages standing on them. The people told me that the fish-man's waters held the secret to immortality.

I'd be interested in what this dream means.

debrakz on November 28, 2012:

I was dreaming there was an oblong tank (4x10) and i was standing on the edge, up against a wall watching a small (3 foot)shark swim around and wanted to get to the other side to get down without attracking the sharks attention. My cat started running across the water as if it was glass and jumped down. The shark started swimming a bit faster and I jumped to the other side and rolled onto the floor.

Sue B. (author) on November 24, 2012:


Thank you for sharing your dream. I would find this dream positive. The fish jumping up could symbolize the exciting new insights you are receiving from your unconsciousness. Your friend could represent a supportive relationship or an aspect of self that you are also becoming closer to.

Sue B. (author) on November 17, 2012:


Thank you for sharing a dream in your comment.

These fish sound like they could represent emotions and unconscious aspects of self. The dead fish could reflect losses, things you have disowned, or things that you have neglected. Perhaps you have mixed emotions in your waking life. The tote in some ways sounds like it is a way you are processing emotional baggage. It is too full and you are sorting. The fish that are alive may relate to your personal expression blue) and your spirit (gold). The dead fish may relate to disowned or represssed aspects of self or lost opportunities and past issues bogging you down. You do look at the bright side of things and focus on eating the fish. Perhaps this sorting is spiritually or emotionally nourishing for you. Perhaps you are also finding a new way to reclaim and integrate these fish into yourself. Since it is your mother's favorite fish, perhaps it relates to your relationship with your mother or her influence over you and/or your life.

angel200002 on November 12, 2012:

I had a dream yesterday my Friend and I was roming near seashore and we saw 2 fishes jumping out of the sea back to back....Can you please tell me what is the meaning of this ? I clearly remember this dream and not able to forget that ...

mirajo on November 05, 2012:

Hello Sue,

My dream has left me feeling puzzled yet pleasant. In my dream there was a tote of fish sitting in front of my front door. I looked in to the tote and called my mother. I asked her did she realized that most of her fish had died. I was thinking of and calling these fish cat fish because they looked like catfish and that's my mothers favorite fish. However the fish were all different colors and sizes. There was one medium size fish which was gold like a gold fish. The smallest fish was shiny silver and about the size of a smelt it was dead. The largest fish was a grayish looking silver and it was dead. The one and only gold color fish was alive and swimming. There was also a blue fish and it was alive. It was difficult to see all the fish so I don't know how many were live and how many were dead. I think there was a total of about 25 fish in this tote. I tried to pick it up and carry it to the kitchen to remove the dead fish and try to save the living ones. I was thinking about all the cat fish we were gonna eat for dinner. As I lifted the tote the water begin to splash around and one of the dead fish almost spilled out. I could see the live gold fish at the top and I didn't want to risk him falling out. I put the tote back on the floor and started to drag it towards the kitchen but it was still rocking and too full. So I went to get another container to remove the dead fish. I had mixed emotions. I was sad that they were dead but happy I was about to eat good. One thing that has me puzzles is the fact that they were catfish. My fish of choice is buffalo. So this has me thinking that this dream has something to do with my mother who loves catfish.

Additional info: I am my mothers primary caregiver. I have never had children. My mother can no longer had children. I am hoping to have children one day very soon.

Sue B. (author) on October 10, 2012:


Your dream about giving birth to a fish may relate to a new potential for growth recently realized. Has something come into your awareness recently? This dream sounds like it could be right at the point where you are just beginning to see something new. At first you don't know what it is and it seems rather gross. Then you begin to see more to this thing and realize it is a whole fish. I would associate the fish as something from your unconscious that is now coming into your awareness. It can represent something spiritual, something emotional, or an important aspect of self that has been "asleep."

Sue B. (author) on October 10, 2012:


Your dream sounds like a nice one! Being the fish would relate to navigating the unconscious or the unknown symbolized by the ocean. This would relate to your ease in your travels. Since you are almost eaten, it would relate to fears that you are threatened. If we accept things that are larger than us we often almost lose ourselves or our concept of our identity. This sounds like something you needed to adjust to. Cleaning off your fins and tail could relate to releasing emotions and negativity so that you can continue to move ahead.

Overall, I would find this to be a very positive dream of personal development and growth.

Sue B. (author) on October 09, 2012:


The ocean can often represent our unconscious in our dreams. To be breathing easily underwater would relate to exploring your unconscious comfortably. The guy would be an aspect of self within the unconscious that is slowly entering your awareness. You do not see his face yet because it is still unfamiliar to you. Cuddling with him could represent a reconnection.

The fish would also represent what is bubbling up from the unconscious into your awareness. Overall, this is a powerful dream about achieving peace within self.

MrsDeJuan from Australia on October 05, 2012:

Hello to all,

I'm hoping that someone can give me a clear peace of mind regarding my dream last night, it's really fresh on my memory right now so I'm going to share it straight away before I miss anything. Please bear with me as I share to you which keep me puzzling because this is actually the second time I dream this.

It goes like this:

As I was lying down i felt my stomach had a kick and something was poking me like when you're pregnant the baby kicked, it's a feeling like that, but it's not exactly like that. When it kicked, I started feeling that the lump is starting to grow (i can almost feel the sensation of the movement and kick) and it feels like it wanted to come out, and as it tried to push upward I felt the movement and a shape like a capsule.

In my dream I know I'm watching it and I'm trying to follow where it's going. It went slowly down towards my uterus then cervix; then out it goes. At this time, It felt like it's so real as it slowly went down and I saw from my panty liner what it looks like a ball of blood; then I look up, there I saw this medium size capsule on top of a little bench, then all of a sudden it became a round shape. (If it was real) it didn't took more than a minute and that "thing" started to decomposed then explode.

Seeing that it was opened, I saw what it looks like a FISHTAIL...then i look around it, I saw other stuff like other stones or a blab or a jellyfish head type. Then i look at it again.. there i saw a "WHOLE FISH".