Smartphone apps for anglers have never been more abundant. Everything from tools to connect with other anglers to advanced sonar and mapping technologies can turn your smartphone into a handy fishing aid.
I took a look at some of the top-rated apps that can help you make the most of your time on the water. Each app serves a separate purpose that can help you maximize your effort. And there are plenty of apps that fit specific use case scenarios, whether you’re an avid fly fisher or a traditional tackle angler.
onX Hunt: $20-100 (w/ a Free Option)
If you keep up with hunting culture at all, you’ve probably heard of onX Hunt. This is an awesome app that turns your smartphone into a fully functional GPS. I’ve found that I prefer my onX to a GPS due to the low cost of use, full-color satellite images, and quality of content.
OnX is free to download and costs $20 if you want to use it in only one state. For those who travel to multiple states each season, onX also offers all 50 states for $100.
If you had access to my personal onX, you’d find it littered with not only my hunting honey holes but also all my fishing spots. OnX allows you to mark your favorite river and lake locations, shows you public and private access, and gives you the ability to take notes on your time in each spot.
Fishing Knots: Free
Fishing Knots is a great free app for anglers of all kinds. Open the app for a series of images outlining different connection types and hook placement options.
Pick the image that’s closest to what you’re looking for, and Fishing Knots presents you with options for different knots to use. Every knot includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step, color-coded directions.
Each description also includes info on what types of line the knot works best for (mono, braid, etc.), knot strength, and knot name. Many of the options also include YouTube videos on how to tie the knot (if you have internet access).
River Data ($0.99) & River Data Lite (Free)
River Data should be the go-to app for those looking to fish from a drift boat or raft. It’s a simple format that compiles all you need to know to have a safe, successful day out on the water. Simply type in the river you’re looking to float, and you can view a list of all the USGS gauges available to view, current gauge heights, and an annual peak streamflow graph.
The Lite version of the app is free. But for the serious river angler, you can upgrade to the full version for $0.99 and get weather forecasts and driving directions to any of the USGS gauges available for viewing. You can also opt into email alerts for your favorite gauges on the full version.
Fishing Points: Free
Not a hunter who’s familiar with onX? Check out Fishing Points for all your GPS needs. Its key features are a live-active compass and real-time location tracking. Record your catches with photos, length, and weight, and geotag the exact location you pulled in that toad.
Fishing Points goes above and beyond catering to all kinds of anglers with Fish Activity forecasts, weather, best times to fish, solunar dates, tidal patterns, trolling paths, and trotline locations. Any sort of fish-chasing you want to do, Fishing Points has you covered.
If you always wished you had a sonar on your boat, Navionics is the app you should get. Navionics allows you to download topo maps for major lakes in your local area. For a fraction of the cost of outfitting your boat with sonar, you can now find out exactly what’s going on below the surface of your favorite fishing spots whether you’re fishing in fresh or salt water.
If you already have sonar or a plotter on your boat, you can link it to Navionics. The app becomes a great tool for creating maps and storing info.
Navionics works by taking maps created by users who link the app to their sonar and sharing them with other app users. And Navionics also allows you to track the routes to your spots and drop GPS pins so you can remember just where you ended up.
Looking to connect with other anglers in your area? While I don’t make a habit of sharing spots where I catch big fish, if you want to share your success with others, there are several awesome apps for you.
Fishidy and FishAngler are two great apps that are social networking designed for anglers. Use them to get to know new like-minded folks in your area and see pictures of where others have been having success. Both apps also include fishing tools like weather and fishing forecasts, catch logs, GPS maps, and the ability to take notes.
While Fishidy does have a more robust “Insights” section, it will require you to pay $10 per month or $50 per year to upgrade to Premium. FishAngler includes full usage of the app for free.