The 10 Best Fishing Apps
If you go fishing with a cell phone in your pocket — and we know you do — utilizing a fishing app can help you catch more fish.
Some anglers like to book a fishing charter and let the crew handle everything from baiting the hooks to netting the fish, while some other anglers enjoy catching fish themselves. If you like to fish on your own terms, you probably also want to use every bit of fishing tech available to gain an advantage. And in this day and age, that means using fishing apps. But which are the best fishing apps, and which one should you choose for yourself? Everyone has their own opinion, but these top 10 fishing apps are sure to be in the running for just about every angler out there.
- Fish Rules
- Troll Master Depth Calculator
A high level of automation and a handy accessory called the Bullseye makes ANGLR a stand-out among fishing apps. Once activated it logs where you go and changing environmental conditions (like the weather and tidal cycles) without you having to add any input. Then when you catch a fish you just click on the Bullseye, a small white button you can attach to your fishing rod or the brim of a hat, and the app marks the hotspot. The feature has proved so popular that there’s even a line of Abu Garcia fishing rods on the market that have a Bullseye built in. ANGLR can also communicate with your Lowrance electronics and Apple watches, via Bluetooth. Price: Free; $29.99 for the Bullseye. Visit ANGLR to learn more.
FishBrain is one of the most popular fishing apps around, claiming 14 million users. It stresses a social media-like community aspect which allows anglers to communicate their catches and can help new anglers discover productive bodies of water. This could come in particularly handy for anglers who often travel to distant waterways where they might rent a fishing boat and explore completely unfamiliar territory. FishBrain also helps with the logging aspect of things, though you have to input catches manually. But to get the most impressive features, like exact catch positions, depth contour maps, fishing forecasts, and access to private groups, you’ll have to upgrade to the Pro version. Price: Free; $9.99/month for Pro upgrade. Visit FishBrain to learn more.
Fishency is strong on logging and allows you to record items like catches and bait or lures quickly and without too much effort thanks to pairing with an Apple or Android watch, while it automatically records variables like location, weather conditions, and moon phase. Rather than use maps or contour maps, Fishency displays position in satellite views, and the interface is very intuitive and easy to learn. Price: Free. Visit Fishency to learn more.
Another app that’s heavy on the community-oriented features, Fishidy lets you sign up to follow individual anglers or specific waterways and tune in to logged catches, fishing reports, and connect with others. It also includes basic logging features and has an impressive database of maps, but this is another app that requires upgrading, in this case to the Premium level, to get some of the more advanced features (which includes marked tens of thousands of fishing hotspots from the Fishing Hot Spots fishing maps, bottom composition and underwater structure maps, and what they call “trusted fishing tips from local experts”). Price: Free; $9.99/month or $49.99/year for Premium. Visit Fishidy for more information.
FishWeather is really a weather app as opposed to a fishing app, but it’s oriented 100-percent towards anglers and will prove a valuable addition when used along with another of these best fishing apps. It includes weather maps that detail wind speeds and wave heights, along with land-based stuff like precipitation radar. It also offers real-time wind reports, but its extremely reliable wind forecast models are what most anglers appreciate the most. FishWeather also has some rather advanced features for fishermen like Sea Surface Temperature charts, nautical charts, and high-resolution sea surface current charts, but these are limited to the pay-for versions. Price: Free; $3.99/month for Plus, $9.99 for Pro, and $14.99 for Gold. Visit FishWeather to learn more.
This app isn’t as comprehensive as some, but offers very specific features that other apps don’t: it’s essentially a rule book that uses your GPS location to bring up both saltwater and freshwater regulations where you’re fishing. It also has a database of illustrations and photos for species identification, tips for specific species, and some basic logging abilities. The makers bill it as an ideal “compliment app” to several of the other apps in this roundup. Price: Free. Visit Fish Rules to learn more.
Many anglers have already run across iAngler and if you fish in tournaments, you’re likely to encounter it sooner or later. This is a catch-photo-release (CPR) app designed for hosting fishing competitions. It tracks photographed and submitted fish by length, place in the tournament, or by species, and allows anglers in the tournaments to keep track of who’s ahead at any given time, what place they’re in, how many fish have been caught, and more, on a “live leaderboard”. iAngler probably isn’t an app you’ll download for fun or to catch more fish, but it’s a good one to be familiar with since its use is becoming more and more widespread as CPR tournaments continue to gain popularity. Price: Free. Visit iAngler to learn more.
MyCatch is another tournament hosting platform but is also a logging app (requiring a fair amount of manual entry) which encourages the anglers to share their data with biologists and fisheries departments. It’s a part of Angler’s Atlas, which has been collecting angler data for decades and is set up to pass the data on to fisheries managers for conservation purposes. Price: Free. Visit MyCatch to learn more.
Strictly speaking, Navionics is a navigational app and not really a fishing app. That said, it’s mapping abilities are beyond those in other apps, and countless anglers have it on their phone so they can check out the incredibly detailed contour charts (down to one-foot increments). Additionally, Navionics has the ability to display AIS targets if you have a compatible WiFi AIS receiver. Navionics can be used to create your own bathymetric charts displayed on your phone or chartplotter screen, by connecting with your boat’s sonar via WiFi connectivity. Price: $21.99 (U.S. and Canada; international versions available for varying prices). Visit Navionics to learn more.
Troll Master Depth Calculator – Unlike most fishing apps the Troll Master Depth Calculator is very limited in scope, but it provides information that no other single app can match. It utilizes a depth calculation algorithm to calculate what depth your lure or lures are running at while trolling, based on a wide range of variables like the specific lure, weight of the lure, trolling speed, line diameter, length of line, and more. The list of lures it accounts for is quite comprehensive, the results have been validated with on-water testing including Fish Hawk TD depth measurements, and the app gets very high marks for accuracy from its users. Price: $49.99 (one-time purchase). Visit Troll Master to learn more.
So, if you download all 10 of these top fishing apps on your phone, is it guaranteed you’ll fill the boat with fish? Of course not — there are no guarantees in the world of fishing. There’s no doubt, however, that when you find the best fishing app for you and the way you fish and then learn how to use it effectively, you’ll become a better angler.
With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.