The Bug Catching Contest is held once a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at Johto’s National Park. You can find the National Park north of Goldenrod City through Route 35.
You’ll compete against other NPCs to catch the strongest and rarest Bug-type Pokémon within 20 minutes. Your tools are limited to just one of your Pokémon and 20 Park Balls.
The three best catches are rewarded with valuable prizes, and you get to keep your Bug-type catch after the contest ends.
This guide will cover the contest rules, tricks to win, and all of the prizes you can get based on your rank.
Finding the National Park
To find the National Park, start by exiting Goldenrod City through the north onto Route 35.
Follow the route until you reach a brown-roofed building with a police officer standing outside.
Go inside and talk to the green-clothed NPC standing next to the gate to participate in the Bug Catching Contest. He will only be there on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays each week.
The game takes place inside the National Park, where you’ll find plenty of tall grass to hunt Bug-type Pokémon.
Bug Catching Contest Details
Understanding the Rules
The first step to winning any contest is understanding the rules.
Here’s what you need to know when tackling the Bug Catching Contest:
- Your objective is to catch the strongest (and rarest) Bug-type Pokémon.
- Only the first Pokémon in your Party comes with you into the contest.
- You’re limited to 20 Park Balls provided by the administrators.
- You can only keep one Bug Pokémon at a time. If you catch another one, you must release one of the two.
- There’s a 20-minute time limit, after which the Contest ends.
- The Contest may end early if you run out of Park Balls or if your Pokémon faints.
- Leaving the National Park will also end the Contest.
- You can keep the Bug-type Pokémon after the Contest is over.
Pay special attention to the fact that you can only keep one Bug-type Pokémon at a time to present to the judges. You can’t get the released Pokémon back!
It’s also essential to know how the judges evaluate the candidates so you can tell a winner from a loser.
How Scoring Works
A Pokémon’s final score in the Bug Catching Contest is the sum of the following:
- Total HP, times four (x4).
- Current HP (after damage from battle), divided by eight (/8), rounded down.
- Attack + Defense + Speed + Special Attack + Special Defense
- Up to 29 points based on the Pokémon’s IVs. Shiny Pokémon get 29.
- One point if the Pokémon is holding an item.
A Shiny Level 14 Scyther caught at max health would be the best Pokémon you could present to the judges. Its score would be a total of 386.
Don’t worry, though. You can win first place with much less.
How To Win the Bug Catching Contest
There are two main things you need to do to win the Bug Catching Contest:
- Get the rarest, most high-level Pokémon you can without damaging it
- Make sure Cooltrainer Nick is not participating
Best Pokémon to Catch
Catching the ideal Pokémon shouldn’t be too hard. Keep running around in the tall grass and they’ll turn up eventually.
Here’s a list of the best available catches to win the contest, ranked according to their average score:
- Scyther (Level 14)
- Pinsir (Level 14)
- Scyther (Level 13)
- Beedrill (Level 15)
- Butterfree (Level 15)
- Pinsir (Level 13)
If you find a wild Pokémon and it’s not one of these, run from the fight and keep looking.
You don’t need to weaken these critters before catching them either. Just throw Park Balls at them until you’re successful.
Tip: Putting them to sleep with Lovely Kiss or Sleep Powder can help.
Avoiding Cooltrainer Nick
Cooltrainer Nick is one of the potential participants in the Bug Catching Contest.
He hangs out on the left side of the fountain in the middle of the National Park, but only if he’s participating.
Cooltrainer Nick makes it hard to win due to his 350+ point scores. If you see him standing next to the fountain, you’ll almost certainly lose.
To avoid this, save before the Contest and reload the game if he’s in there.
All Pokémon Found in the Bug Catching Contest
There are only ten Pokémon you can find during the Bug Catching Contest.
|Bug Catching Contest Pokémon|
|Pokémon||Level Range||Encounter Rate|
|Caterpie||7 – 18||20%|
|Metapod||9 – 18||10%|
|Butterfree||12 – 15||5%|
|Weedle||7 – 18||20%|
|Kakuna||9 – 18||10%|
|Beedrill||12 – 15||5%|
|Paras||10 – 17||10%|
|Venonat||10 – 16||10%|
|Scyther||13 – 14||5%|
|Pinsir||13 – 14||5%|
The rarer the Pokémon, the more points it gets from the judges.
Tip: Participating in the Bug Catching Contest is the only way to catch Pinsir or Scyther in Pokémon Crystal.
All Bug Catching Contest Rewards
You’ll always be rewarded for participating in the Bug Catching Contest, but the three top scores get more valuable prizes.
|Bug Catching Contest Rewards|
|#1||Sun Stone||Used to evolve Gloom and Sunkern.|
|#2||Everstone||Keeps the holder from evolving.|
|#3||Gold Berry||Restores 30HP. Pokémon use it automatically if held.|
|#4 and below||Berry||Restores 10HP. Pokémon use it automatically if held.|
Winning first place is the only way to get Sun Stones in Pokémon Crystal. You’ll need that stone to evolve Gloom into Bellossom and Sunkern into Sunflora.