Finding new spots to fish often depends on word of mouth. It’s privileged and secretive business — unless you have the onX Hunt App close at hand.
The onX Hunt App for fishing is one of my most treasured tools. For $100 per year, I have maps of all 50 states in hand for exploration. And as someone who travels a ton, it’s my go-to app for better understanding new landscapes and the lines that separate private from public lands and waters.
Don’t be fooled by its name. The onX Hunt App is just as powerful a tool for the angler as it is for the hunter. Here, we break down a few ways to find success in unfamiliar waters.
Know Your Wind and Weather
Fresh upgrades to the onX Hunt App incorporate a built-in weather feature that tells you the weather conditions, temperature, and wind speed and direction when you’re on the grid. App users can click on actual weather stations to determine barometric pressure, sunrise/sunset times, wind speed and direction, and more.
You can currently use the Dark Sky link under About This Location to learn more about the weather for specific recreation sites such as fishing access points, campgrounds, and boat launches.
Utilize Fishing-Specific Layers
Each state has specialized layers, and there are many you can utilize via onX Hunt specifically for fishing. Wyoming, for example, has a walk-in fishing layer that shows you what’s open for public access.
The recreation sites layer is my go-to for fishing access and boat launches here in Montana. And in the water layers folder, you can find river stage forecasts, nautical charts, and bathymetry (depth charts) for the Great Lakes.
Identify Public and Private Waters
Fishing access laws vary by state. Here in Montana, the high-water marks apply. This allows for public fishing along miles of water, even within private land boundaries. However, many states do not allow this kind of access. Check local laws.
Case in point: Colorado. When fishing in my home state, I use onX Hunt religiously to find quality fishing waters. I simply double-check my access points across private and public boundary lines. And if I were a better planner, I might even reach out to the listed owners for permission to fish their private waters.
Either way, it’s important to know the water-access laws that govern the spots you plan on fishing. Do a bit of legwork and see if extra permissions are needed and available. The app’s ability to decipher ownership is key to remaining within legal boundaries and helpful in finagling possible access.
Use Imagery to Scout for Honey Holes
Scouting for new backcountry fishing spots doesn’t have to happen in the field. By using onX Hunt’s topography prior to hitting the trail in pursuit of epic waters, you can find accessible spots and potential walk-in points with ease.
Scout from the comfort (and large screen) of a desktop or laptop computer using onX’s web map feature, which will then sync to your mobile device for use in the field.
To better understand the landscape, click over to aerial imagery to get a full visual of the water you’re trying to access. Is it thick with willows? Are there camping spots within a short distance? Are there trails that easily lead to areas that look accessible? You can determine a ton through the imagery at hand.
Save Your Maps
If you’re anything like me, you always forget that one thing you needed. In my case, it’s almost always a headlamp. (Thank you, iPhone flashlight!)
But if there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget prior to heading into the land of no service, it’s saving your maps within onX Hunt. This feature of the app is probably my favorite. You can save in three different levels of resolution and customize the map with the necessary layers.
The ability to save offline maps for all 50 states comes standard with an onX Hunt App Elite Membership, along with a full range of features including curated layers, property boundaries, points of interest, and custom waypoints.
It’s a dream.
This article is sponsored by onX. How else do you use onX Hunt to better your fishing experience? Tell us in the comments.