The premier indie title of the past few years has been, without a doubt, Stardew Valley. The game is massive, with hundreds of hours of content that keeps players coming back day after day, week after week, to discover new things.
Eric Barrone, or ConcernedApe, the developer of the game, crafted a living, breathing 2D world with some of the most colorful characters in an indie title to date. It’s like a little virtual slice of paradise.
One such character is Willy, the fisherman who lives down by the beach on Pelican Town’s pier. He might not seem like an exciting member of the Stardew Valley crew, but his laid-back personality and devotion to his livelihood – the man just loves to fish – make him a simple and likable character. He’s one of the friendliest people in the town, gifting you a fishing pole only a few days after your arrival.
In this guide, I’ll cover the most important information regarding Willy, including his favorite gifts and his heart events. I’ll also go over his schedule so that you’ll know when and where to find him. If you enjoy fishing in Pelican Town, then befriending Willy is a must. Let’s continue to learn more about the local fisherman of Stardew Valley.
Bottom Line Up Front
- Willy is a character in the 2016 indie video game Stardew Valley.
- He runs a store on Pelican Town’s pier that sells fishing poles and other fishing-related gear.
- Willy can be befriended, with rewards for Heart Events up to level 9.
- Willy’s essentials:
- Age – ???
- Appearance – Weathered brown cap, brown hair, and beard, frayed red shirt
- Temperament – Helpful, solitary, laid-back
- Family – Father (referred to in dialogue as “ol’ Pappy”)
- Friends – Elliot, Clint
- Best Gifts – Catfish, Diamond, Iridium Bar, Mead, Octopus, Pumpkin, Sea Cucumber, Sturgeon
- Birthday – Summer 24
Appearance, Personality, and Hobbies
Willy is a fisherman by trade and makes a living by both fishing and selling fishing-related goods in his store on Pelican Town’s pier. His appearance can lead one to believe he’s a bit standoffish, but truthfully he’s one of the friendliest villagers in the game.
Willy wears a beat-up brown cap with a frayed red shirt and blue pants. He looks a bit worn and disheveled, like someone who spends their life at sea probably should. His full beard and shaggy brown hair make him look like a scruffy dog. We can assume that he’s older, at the very least in his late 30s in my opinion. He’s a simple man, with nothing more than his shop, his fishing pole, and the clothes on his back.
As cliched as it sounds, beneath that rough exterior is a heart of gold and a friendly demeanor. He wants to meet the player soon after his return to Pelican Town in the first few days of the game. He gives the player their first fishing rod. He sends you recipes for delicious seafood dishes as you get to know him better. After fixing up his old boat, he’ll even ferry the player to Ginger Island, an island located in the Fern Islands.
As for hobbies, Willy only really has one: fishing. It’s his whole life. The only other activity that could be considered a hobby of Willy’s is drinking. If he’s not working at his shop, you can find him fishing at either the pier or the river, or you can find him having a pint at the Stardrop Saloon.
Family and Friends
There aren’t a whole lot of details regarding Willy’s past and even less concerning his family. He grew up in the Fern Islands, traveling among them and fishing with his dad. When gifted an item he loves, Willy will mention his “ol’ Pappy,” which we can assume is his father.
There’s a theory among some Redditors that the Old Mariner, the character you can buy the Mermaid’s Pendant for marriage from, is Willy’s father, though this has never been confirmed and there’s no real evidence to support it.
Willy’s list of friends only contains two possible candidates: Elliot and Clint. Elliot lives on the beach next to Willy. They both enjoy the peace provided by living next to the ocean. It’s natural to assume they’re at least friendly towards each other given their proximity.
Willy’s friendship – if it even exists – with Clint is much harder to pin down. The two sit at the same table while drinking at the Stardrop Saloon. That said, they never really talk to or about each other, as Clint mostly complains about Emily not noticing him while Willy complains about the mayor. I guess any pair of ears helps when you’re waxing poetic about your woes.
Willy follows a fairly predictable schedule. Most days you can find him out fishing on the beach before he opens his shop at 9 AM and after he closes it at 5 PM. On Fridays, in Winter, and on rainy days, instead of fishing after closing the shop, he’ll head to the Stardrop Saloon until 11:20 PM, at which point he’ll head home for the night.
He also changes things up a bit on his day off, which is Saturday. Instead of fishing at the beach, he’ll head to the river in Cindersap Forest close to Leah’s house. After that, he’ll make his way into town at 2 PM for more fishing. He’ll cap off the day by heading to the saloon at 5 PM and going home at 11 PM.
Most characters have different schedules on very specific days and Willy is no exception. His special days are Spring 9, Winter 15, Winter 16, and Winter 17. On Spring 9, Willy spends most of his day at Harvey’s Clinic getting a fish hook pulled out of his thumb.
On Winter 15, 16, and 17, the Night Market is in town, so Willy can be found at the saloon instead of out on the pier or the beach.
Best Gifts for Willy
The following gifts are among Willy’s “Loves” items. If you’re trying to max out your friendship level with Willy as fast as possible, try to give him any of these gifts on his birthday, Summer 24.
Since Willy is a fisherman, it only makes sense that some of his loved gifts would be fish. You can catch a catfish in a variety of locations; the river, the Secret Woods, and the Witch’s Swamp found later in the game are all viable.
Spring and Fall are the seasons to catch one in the river, but they can also be caught during Summer in the Secret Woods and the Witch’s Swamp. The Catfish also makes random appearances in garbage cans around town during Spring and Fall. If you’re not high on fishing, it can be bought randomly from the Traveling Cart for somewhere in between 600 and 1000g.
There are a few ways to come across Willy’s favorite shiny, valuable gem. They can be obtained from Diamond Nodes after the 50th floor in the Mines, plus you have a chance of getting one from any Gem Node on any floor in the Mines.
Before reaching the bottom of the mines, a diamond has a chance to be dropped by Red, Purple, Copper, or Iron Slimes, in addition to Duggies. After you reach the bottom of the mines, a diamond can be dropped by any monster. If you chose the Wilderness Farm at the beginning of the game, diamonds can also be collected from defeating Wilderness Golems.
My favorite thing to do with Diamonds is to stick them in the Crystalarium when it becomes available. The Crystalarium will continuously make copies of any gem inserted into it. This is helpful when building up not only Willy’s friendship level but also many other characters in Stardew Valley since it’s liked or loved by most villagers.
Iridium Bars can be difficult to come by, especially in the early stages of the game, so it’s good to know where to find them. You have the best chance of picking up an Iridium Bar by slaying Purple Slimes in either Skull Cavern or a Slime Hutch if you have one built.
You can also randomly find them in treasure rooms in Skull Cavern. Iridium Bats, Shadow Brutes, and Shadow Shamans also have a small chance of dropping an Iridium Bar upon death.
Iridium Bars can also be bought or you can trade for one. The Traveling Cart will occasionally have an Iridium Bar for sale between 3,000 and 5,000g. The Desert Trader carries them as well – one Warp Totem: Desert recipe will net you a whopping 10 Iridium Bars.
Another option to get Iridium Bars is by crafting them yourself using 5 Iridium Ore, 1 Coal, and a Furnance. Iridium Ore can be a little easier to find than the bars themselves. Iridium nodes and geodes gathered from rocks in the lower levels of the Mines (especially levels 115 through 119) are dependable sources of Iridium Ore.
Out of the possible gifts to give Willy, I tend to shy away from Iridium Bars. This is because of their wide arrange of use cases, from crafting the highest grade of farming equipment to repairing Willy’s boat.
Any fisherman worth his salt loves a good spirit to warm their bones on cold nights out at sea. Willy’s drink of choice happens to be Mead. Making Mead is as easy as placing Honey, which can be gathered from Bee Houses, inside a Keg.
After reaching Ginger Island, it can also be obtained from the bar inside the Pirate Cove. The bartender will give you one free Mead a day provide you are wearing any of the Pirate Hat, Deluxe Pirate Hat, or Eye Patch clothing items.
This wily critter ranks among the most difficult fish to catch in Stardew Valley. Other than the Legendary Fish, the Octopus is the most difficult to catch. The most common time to obtain one is during Summer from 6 AM to 1 PM, though they can also be caught on the nights the Night Market is in operation from 5 PM to 2 AM. You can catch it at the Beach in Pelican Town or on Ginger Island West.
During Fall, the Pumpkin might be the easiest gift to give to Willy, given that you’ll most likely be growing them on your farm anyway. It takes 13 days total to grow a Pumpkin from Pumpkin Seeds, which can be bought from Pierre’s General Store, Joja Mart, the Night Market, and the Traveling Cart.
This is the one item on the list that has me questioning Willy’s tastes. The Sea Cucumber is a poisonous fish that can be caught in the ocean in Fall and Winter. It can also be caught on the submarine ride at the Night Market in Winter. It’s probably the easiest to come by of Willy’s preferred gifts, as they don’t fight much when being caught and are pretty common.
This Mountain Lake-only fish is another of Willy’s favorites. The best time to catch a Sturgeon is on a rainy Summer day, though it can also be caught on sunny days and in Winter.
Willy’s Heart Events
Completing Willy’s Heart Events opens the player up to new recipes they can try out in their kitchen or with a Cookout Kit. All of the recipes are dishes that Willy says his father used to make. Willy is a non-dateable character, so his max Heart level is 10.
3 Heart Event
Willy sends the player a recipe for Chowder in the mail. It’s a simple dish, requiring only a Clam and Milk to make. It heals the player for 225 Energy and 101 Health. It also buffs the player’s Fishing skill by +1.
5 Heart Event
Willy send you another recipe by mail, this time for Escargot. Funnily enough, despite knowing how to cook it, Willy dislikes Escargot. Like Chowder, making Escargot is fairly simple, requiring only a Snail and Garlic. This food item heals the player for 225 Energy and 101 Health. After eating Escargot, the player’s Fishing skill is buffed by +2.
6 Heart Event
This event takes place between 6 AM and 5:10 PM at the Beach after you reach 6 Hearts with Willy. He needs your help inside his shop and quickly shows you why: all of his Crabs have escaped and are running around! Before you have a chance to start with the cleanup, Gus arrives and extends an offer to buy all of the Crabs for the Stardrop Saloon. This works for Willy, as he agrees and gives the crustaceans a final goodbye.
Though there wasn’t any doubt, we do learn the fate of Willy’s Crabs. For 3 days after this event, you’re able to buy Crab Cakes from Gus at the Stardrop Saloon for 550g each.
7 Heart Event
Willy sends you another recipe for this event, this time for Fish Stew. Making Fish Stew is a bit more involved than his previous recipes, requiring four ingredients: a Crayfish, a Mussel, a Periwinkle, and a Tomato. Extra ingredients mean better effects – though Fish Stew heals you for the same amount as Chowder and Escargot, it buffs your Fishing skill by +3.
9 Heart Event
The final recipe Willy send to you by mail is Lobster Bisque. This creamy soup is made by cooking two items, Lobster and Milk. Eating Lobster Bisque bestows the player with the same effects as Fish Stew, but with an additional 50 points added to your Maximum Energy for a brief time.
To the Beach
This is the first quest given to you that involves Willy. You receive a letter from Willy on Spring 2nd asking you to meet him at the Beach. Sketchy premise aside, no worries – that’s all there is to this quest. After meeting him, your reward for this simple task is your first fishing rod, the Bamboo Pole.
Catch a Squid
The quest name says it all: bring Willy a Squid and you’ll be rewarded. The prize for finishing this task is 800g and a Friendship Heart. You’ll receive a letter to start this quest on Winter 2nd.
Catch a Lingcod
This is another simple catch-and-give quest to make Willy happy. A Lingcod can be caught in the River or Mountain Lake at any time of day in Winter. You’ll receive 550g and a Friendship Heart upon completion. This quest is added to your journal after reading the letter Willy sends on Winter 13th in the second year.
Fixing Willy’s Boat
While this isn’t a quest that gets added to your Journal, it is a requirement for reaching Ginger Island, a location added to the game in version 1.5.0. Willy will send you a letter after completion of either the Community Center or Joja Mart bundles.
In it, he reveals to the player that he’s unlocked the door in the back of his shop. Behind the door, you’ll find an old, broken-down boat. It has three elements that must be repaired:
- Anchor: Can be repaired with 5 Iridium Bars
- Ticket Machine: Can be repaired with 5 Battery Packs
- Hull: Can be repaired with 200 pieces of Hardwood
Fixing the boat will allow Willy to once again operate it as a ferry. You’ll then be able to travel to Ginger Island and go on a whole new adventure.
Best Merch Items
Got a special place in your heart for Stardew Valley’s resident fisherman? Unique Willy merchandise does exist, but because he isn’t one of the more popular characters in the game, items featuring his scruffy face can be a little hard to find. These are some of the items I came across:
- Willy’s Winter Wonderland Display
- Festival of Ice Poster
- Willy’s High-Quality Rods – Bait and Tackle Tapestry
Question: Can you marry Willy in Stardew Valley?
Answer: Unfortunately, players pining for a relationship with Willy are in for a life of solitude. Willy is not a marriable character in Stardew Valley. You can only become friends with him.
Question: What does Willy like in Stardew Valley?
Answer: Like and love are two different things in Stardew Valley when it comes to gifts, so let’s break them down. Willy’s likes include:
Fish: Lingcod, Tiger Trout
Cooking: Baked Fish, Carp Surprise, Chowder, Crab Cakes, Crispy Bass, Fish Stew, Fish Taco, Fried Calamari, Fried Eel, Lobster Bisque, Salmon Dinner, Seafoam Pudding, Trout Soup
Mining: Gold Bar
All Universal Likes
His loves can be found in the “Best Gifts for Willy” section of this guide.
Question: What does Willy hate?
Answer: Willy hates all Universal Hates. The only exception is Seafoam Pudding, which he likes.
Question: Where does Willy live in Stardew Valley?
Answer: Willy lives at the Beach in Stardew Valley. This is due to both his love of fishing and his shop. His only neighbor is Elliot.
Willy Stardew Valley Guide: Conclusion
I hope this guide has shown that Willy is a charming side character. He gives the player some pretty nice items and his friendship is worth pursuing if only to add seafood-based recipes to your cookbook.
While he doesn’t have the depth or backstory of other characters in Stardew Valley, he serves an important role as the eventual ferryman to Ginger Island. Players that gravitate towards fishing should enjoy building a friendship with him.