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In an age defined by its technological advances, the sport of fishing has come a long way. From using drones to drop bait past backline to viewing bottom structure and fish activity on your smartphone, it’s a brave new world for the tech-savvy fisherman. In this article, we look at the most exciting fishing apps available to date. These include apps designed specifically for fly fishermen and tourney anglers; and apps that show you where and when to fish for the best possible results. All to help you reel in your biggest and best catch yet. Read on to see the best fishing apps to download before you cast your line.
Our Top Picks
Best for Detailed Maps: Fishidy
Available for iOS and Android, map-based fishing app Fishidy is a great aid for anglers of all experience levels. It offers maps of more than 20,000 freshwater and 180 saltwater waterways across America, each one accompanied by fishing spot markers and information about seasonal fish movements and catch patterns. Real-time angler activity reports ensure that you never miss out on the action. The app also works as a log book, allowing you to record and share your catches with other anglers. When you do, weather variables are recorded automatically.
You can also store secret fishing spots privately or opt to share them with a select few friends. Reviewers praise the app for its easy-to-use interface, and for its efficiency at eliminating the guesswork so that you get the most out of your time on the water. There are free and premium versions available. Benefits of upgrading to premium include access to GPS coordinates detailing proven fishing hot spots; and detailed map overlays that give information about factors like underwater structure and bottom composition.
Best Fish Finder Compatible: Deeper Smart Sonar
Free app Deeper Smart Sonar is designed to be used in conjunction with Deeper’s popular castable fish finder. It displays live data transmitted by the transducer, allowing you to view invaluable information about water depth, temperature, bottom topography, fish location and more directly on your smartphone screen. The app can be customized in several ways. You can set different fish and depth alarms, change the display appearance and switch between narrow or wide-beam scanners.
There are specific modes for onshore, boat and ice fishing. The latter lets you track your lure underwater and mark ice holes; while the onshore mode allows you to create bathymetric lake maps. Best of all, the app can also be used without the transducer. Highlights include a solunar calendar and weather forecasting functionality (useful when planning your next trip); and downloadable maps that you can use to mark your favorite spots offline. Employ the notes function to log your catches, and the camera mode to share photos of fish with your fellow anglers.
Best for Trip Planning: Fishing & Hunting Solunar Time
Fishing & Hunting Solunar Time uses solunar theory to accurately predict the movement and feeding activity of all types of fish and wildlife. Solunar theory is the hypothesis that animals and fish move according to the location of the moon and sun in relation to their bodies. You can use it to determine the best time to fish at a given location, which the app pinpoints using manual entry or automatic GPS. You can save your favorite fishing spots in order to access solunar forecasts at the click of a finger.
These forecasts show major and minor feeding or activity periods for specific fish species. You can also view moon phases as well as moonrise, moonset, sunrise and sunset times. An upgrade to the app gives saltwater fishermen the ability to view tide charts as well. Because weather is also a factor in animal and fish behavior, the app even offers current weather information and a five-day forecast. Free and Pro versions are available.
Best for Saltwater Fishermen: Pro Angler
The Pro Angler app acts as a one-stop shop offering all the information you need to enhance your saltwater fishing experience. This includes GPS coordinates to over 15,000 fishing hotspots located throughout the coastal United States; and more than 1,000 useful services ranging from local bait shops to public launches and weigh stations. Weekly location reports from veteran captains make sure that you’re up-to-date with the latest angling news.
Use the app’s real-time weather forecasts, tide tables and solunar data to work out the best time to fish. An identification guide provides a list of tried-and-tested fishing techniques for 350 saltwater species. The easy-to-navigate State and Federal regulations list is another highlight, while bonus features include seafood recipes, a shareable catch log and license information. A paid Live Action upgrade to the free version of the app is available.
Best for Fly Fishermen: Orvis Fly Fishing
Available free of charge for iOS devices only, the Orvis Fly Fishing app is a favorite amongst tech-smart fly fishermen. Master the art of creating your own flies with the app’s Guide to the Top 100 Trout Flies, which is searchable by name and type. Knot-tying animations also come in handy; as do hours of instructional casting videos featuring the director of Orvis’ fly fishing schools. A searchable fly fishing glossary ensures you always know exactly what the pros are talking about.
The app also includes many podcasts by fly fishing author Tom Rosenbauer, with more added every week. You can save your favorite podcasts and listen to them anywhere. Perhaps most useful of all, the app features fishing reports for over 200 of the best fly fishing spots in North America, Central America, South America and the United Kingdom. Each one delivers real-time updates direct to your smartphone.
Best for Competition Anglers: iAngler Tournament
The top app for competitive anglers, iAngler Tournament is designed to take care of the practical side of tourney fishing so you can concentrate on hooking the winning fish. When participating in registered tournaments, use the app to log your catch data while still on the water. Compare the statistics of your biggest fish with those of your fellow competitors by monitoring the app’s live tournament leaderboard.
Other helpful features include the ability to review lists of available tournaments in your area; and to register for those that you’re interested in. The app also sends bulletins about local tournament activities. After signing up for an event, use the app to keep an eye on the weather forecast and tide tables for the tournament location. iAngler Tournament can also be used as a helpful data collection tool for marine researchers.
Best for Social Networking: Fishbrain
With over 7 million global users and 3.8 million logged catches, Fishbrain is the largest social network for anglers — and the best way to brag about your record catch or commiserate about the one that got away. Use it to log your catches and view statistics reports about your historical performance. Interactive fishing maps introduce you to new fishing spots and allow you to view the exact catch positions of other anglers.
You can also connect with those anglers to find new fishing buddies or share tips. Other handy features include a fishing forecast that shows the best time to fish for more than 130 specific species, including bass, trout and carp. The app uses real-life catch data to recommend the most effective live bait set-ups for each one. Fishbrain is available in free and premium versions (for a monthly fee).