Fishing Weather Apps
By Lance Valentine
As annoying as they can be, smart phones can be of great value to fisherman. Knowing lure depths, marking waypoints, seeing lake maps and more can all be done on a smart phone on the water. My phone is part of my fishing gear when I am trip planning and during the day to determine fish movements and more importantly to stay safe. Here are a few of my favorite fishing weather apps and how I use them.
1. Windfinder Pro: This is my favorite, and most used weather app. I find it to be the most accurate, especially the “Super Forecast” available with the Pro Version ($9.99/lifetime). Windfinder gives you hour by hour wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, wave height, wave direction, wave frequency, air temp, basic weather and barometric pressure…that’s a LOT of data at one time!! There are on the water stations throughout the Great Lakes so you can get the forecast in the area you are planning on fishing. If you fish, you need this app!!
2. Iwindsurf: A great app that I use for my second source of information, I check the Iwindsurf forecast every day. The forecast is very easy to see and interpret and includes hour by hour wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, basic weather and air temp. Since it is my secondary source, I use the free version, but there is more data available on the pay version ($3.99 to $14.99/month). One of the features I really like on this app is the previous wind information graph. To me it is easier to interpret than the one available on Windfinder. If you are a coastal angler, the free version also includes tide information.
3. NOAA Wind and Waves: While not an app, I do have the website bookmarked on my homepage for quick access. This is the “original” forecast all Great Lakes anglers have used for decades, providing a text forecast for each area of the Great Lakes. It is also where information on small craft advisories is posted. Another piece of information I refer to every day, sometimes multiple times if the weather is forecast to get bad. The main access page can be found at www.weather.gov/marine/glcstmz from the home page you can access the area directory, then choose the exact area you will be fishing for a detailed text forecast.
4. NOAA Weather Radar: This is an app I really don’t use for fishing information, but more for safety. It will find my current location and I can set up “Alert Boxes” for severe weather and will get an alarm and warning on my phone if severe weather occurs inside the alert area, allowing me ample time to get to safety. It also has awesome radar, with precipitation and lightning strikes on the overlay. It also contains an easy to read wind speed and direction overlay. A must have app for safety on the water.
Today’s smart phones keep us connected to the world even when we don’t want to be, but they can be a great tool to help us stay safe on the water if we use the right apps for our fishing and boating.