Good maps make a good fishing app, and lousy maps make a lousy fishing app. The maps should be as accurate as possible and give you a lot of information.
An average fishing app will give you basic information about your location and a bit of information about how deep the water is wherever you are. Better apps offer maps that go beyond that and are quite detailed.
You might find information about where to find a fishing shop, whether or not there is any vegetation to watch out for, and what other people have caught recently in your area.
No one wants to go fishing and then have it end up pouring rain. Even if the weather is milder, the weather can affect your fishing. Fish behave differently in different weather conditions.
Colder weather makes fish slow down; hotter weather makes them more active. Fish are cold-blooded, so they need to slow down in colder water to survive.
Too much heat can be just as bad for fish as the cold because there is less oxygen in cold water. Fish can be hungrier and easier to catch in warmer weather, although fish will move into the lake's colder parts if the water is hot enough.
A good fishing app will give you information about the weather not only so that you can avoid a rainstorm, but so that you can adjust your fishing strategy. An experienced angler knows where the fish are likely to be based on the weather.
Sharing information with other people using fishing apps
Fishing apps not only help you catch bigger fish but can make fishing a more fun experience. With fishing apps, you can choose to share information if you feel like it. You can choose to give away information about what you caught, where you caught it, and what bait you used.
You can also look at information other people have uploaded. Sometimes, you can see this information as a simple chart. At best, the information is added to the map rather than shown in a chart form.
If you use the right app, the information is detailed. You can find out that a specific type of bait is working to catch a particular kind of fish in a nearby lake.
Where the best fishing spots are today is not where the best fishing spots were a little while ago. With a fishing app, you can keep up with this information better than ever before.
People of all skill levels, but particularly beginners, can do better with apps that recommend certain types of bait and certain locations. Knowing other anglers will always be one of the best sources of information, but fishing apps can also help a lot.
Fishing apps and social media
Fishing apps can help connect you to other anglers. Some fishing apps provide their own social networking tools for their users. Others do not but do help you share your fishing experiences on popular social media websites.
You can share as much or as little information as you like. If you want to remember a fishing spot but keep it secret, you can record it but not share this information with others. Good social networking capabilities are not standard features, so you will have to look around for the right app if this is important to you.
Useability on other devices
Fishing apps are mostly for smartphones, but you might want to look at your fishing app on your laptop or tablet. Better fishing apps let you log in from any type of device.
Another consideration is whether or not the app has advertising - ads are ok for the free version, but if you are paying a subscription, the app should not have ads.
Fishing apps also receive updates that improve them, so the best app available today may not still be the best next year. Companies are always adding more features.
The best fishing apps to try in 2020
Fishbrain is a great choice if you like social media and technology. Fishbrain works well with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media, and with millions of users, it gives you access to a great online community.
With Fishbrain, you can see what millions of other people are catching at nearby locations. Your map will show you where and when other people who use the app have been catching fish.
Showing this information on the map is more fun and useful than presenting it as a chart, as some other apps do. Fishbrain also recommends different lures for different locations based on what is working for other people who use the app.
One disadvantage of Fishbrain is that there are ads for the paid version as well as the free version. Putting ads on the paid version is unusual and negative, although many people are willing to overlook this flaw as Fishbrain has so many users to share information with.
Fishidy stands out for how many small streams you can find on its detailed maps. Fishidy is unusually good at having small streams and not only lakes and rivers on its charts. It works on laptops, desktops, and tablets as well as phones.
With Fishidy, you can choose what information you want your maps to show. If you only want to look at depth information, you can turn all the other map elements off and look at an uncluttered map that only shows how deep the water is. If you want information about boat ramps, vegetation, or recommended fishing spots, you can turn these elements on.
The free version of Fishidy is not nearly as good as the paid version as its maps are not detailed. If you try the free version first, you might not like the app as the detailed maps are what makes Fishidy stand out.
Fishidy is an excellent app with no real disadvantages and might be your first choice if you are willing to spend a bit of money right from the start. Fishing apps are cheap, so you don't have much to lose if you decide you don't like it. Fishidy also has social networking features, allows you to share your successes and failures, and offers general fishing tips.
Deeper smart sonar
Unlike most other fishing apps, deeper smart sonar is for people who want to buy new hardware. It is not intended for people who only have a smartphone, but for people who want to buy one of deeper's fish finders and use deeper's smartphone app as well.
The app has good weather reports, maps that you can download and use offline (cell phones don't work everywhere, so this is a great feature), and the ability to add your own information to your maps. You can keep track of where your best catches were and either keep the information to yourself or share it with others.
While the app does work and is free even if you do not use one of the company's fish finders, the app is most functional if you use it in combination with a fish finder. The app works perfectly well with either iOS or Android but does not work on tablets or computers. Deeper fish finders are quality products, so it may be worth it to go with this option even if it is more expensive than buying only a subscription.
Fishangler is an excellent choice if you are looking for a fishing forecast that updates in real-time. Fishangler will get you information about changes in the weather and fishing conditions faster than most other apps.
Fishangler also gives you great GPS maps with many recommended fishing spots. The app is also easy to use; you won't have any trouble finding the features you are looking for even if you are new to the app and new to fishing apps. The app's fishing forecast does a good job of recommending good times to go fishing.
Fishangler is also free, which means that they make money from ads. Fishangler does not give you the option of buying a subscription or purchasing any one-time addons. While Fishangler is free without being substandard - the fishing forecast is better than what most paid apps offer - there is no option to pay to get out of the ads.
If you have never tried a fishing app before and don't yet know how useful fishing apps can be, you might start with Fishangler. It won't cost you anything other than a little bit of time.
It is better than the free versions of paid apps. If you like it, you can either stick with Fishangler forever or switch to a paid app that offers better social networking and doesn't have ads.
Fishing points is a well-rounded fishing app with a lot of different features. The full price version of the app is only $9.99 per year and is impressive.
This app is great if you fish from a boat because it has excellent nautical charts. With the full-price version, you can download the nautical charts and have them work just as well offline.
Fishing points also lets you keep a detailed journal about your catches and integrates well with google maps. It is very neat to open up a familiar google map and see fishing information added to it.
Information such as the phases of the moon can be useful for catching fish. According to natural cycles, fish behave differently at different times of the year, and the fishing points app gives you this information. The app also offers a reliable compass.
Anglers' log is a good choice if you are looking for a simple and free app that lets you record your fishing successes. The app is free - there is not yet any paid option - and it is new, so some people report bugs, but it seems to work smoothly to me.
Anglers' log also has social networking capabilities. You can put your catches on a map and let other people see them.
The app will give you directions on how to get to any known fishing spots you want to take a look at. There is also a gallery where you can show off what you catch.
While Anglers' log does not have as many features as some of the paid options do, it is a good free option. It is very simple and elegant to use, and will hopefully add more features in the future.
Other online tools for anglers
There are all sorts of online tools that help people catch fish. You can find information about fishing on youtube, use a GPS app to help you get to a lake you haven't been to before, or use google maps to find a bait shop. Some apps help you buy fishing gear at a fair price, and others make it easier to get your fishing license.
Is there a single best choice?
If you don't have any problem with spending money on a castable sonar fish finder, the deeper smart sonar app is the best. The deeper app works very well in combination with the fish finder and will help you catch more fish than any other app.
If you are not interested in buying a fish finder, the best app is Fishidy. Fishidy gives you a good (although not the largest) social network and the best maps. Excellent maps that allow you to turn on and off whatever information you want to see make Fishidy the best choice.