Fishbrain: The Best Fishing App Around?

The Best Fishing Apps: Is Fishbrain ‘Catch Of The Day’?

With over 1.8 million new users in 2022 and more than 2 million logged catches in 2022 – plus over 14 million verified catches in total – the jury is in on the Fishbrain app. If you’re a boater there’s a good chance you have one or more of the Best Boating Apps on your phone, but if you’re an angler, you could also benefit from a fishing app like Fishbrain.

Using apps has become second nature to most of us in this day and age, and there are plenty of different choices out there. But Fishbrain is one of the oldest, most refined, and most well-known angling apps around.

BiteTime. Fish recommendations vary by location, weather and time.  Fishbrain’s exclusive algorithm analyzes millions of catches to predict the best times to fish.  Image credit: Fishbrain.

What Is Fishbrain App’s Hook?

So, just what does the Fishbrain app do? Plenty, and that’s part of why it’s so popular. Like many fishing apps, the basic version is free and you pay ($12.99/month) to unlock some advanced features.

The basic version starts with a logging feature, which can come in quite handy. Any angler worth his or her salt knows that accurately logging catches can expose a wealth of information ranging from bite patterns to lure effectiveness in different bodies of water and/or conditions. It also has depth contour maps, a feature that’s just as helpful for identifying potential new hotspots as it is for seeing what type of bathymetry is gathering and holding fish at any given time or spot you’re fishing. There’s a social component as well, where you can have fishing conversations with like-minded anglers and share your catches. And it has a wealth of predictive information including things like weather, barometric pressure, solunar, and tidal data.

You can find all or most of these features in similar forms in other apps as well, but rarely will you find all of them in one place. For example, you could use the Navionics App to get underwater contour maps and you could use the MyCatch app for logging purposes — but you can’t do both with either app alone.

Even the base version of Fishbrain also has a few unique perks that you won’t find elsewhere, such as a fish identifier feature. If you catch a mystery-fish, just use your phone to snap a picture of it and the app will ID the species. While testing the app we found that it worked flawlessly (though you can stump it by snapping a pic of your goldfish).

Tag somebody you would like to go fishing with this weekend! Image credit: Fishbrain

Fishbrain Pro Makes You Bite

Upgrading Fishbrain to the Pro version is where things really begin to get interesting, because it opens up the advanced in-depth fishing forecast features. Fishing forecasts have been around forever, even going back to the days of printed almanacs. While they have taken factors like weather patterns, solunar tables, and (in saltwater) tidal predictions into account, these forecasts have always been rather “meh.” They couldn’t take current atmospheric changes into account, and they certainly couldn’t constantly add data to “learn” better predictions. They were wrong so often that anglers rarely paid them much mind. But Fishbrain can account for changes in conditions, and the more catches that get logged, the better the app gets at forecasting. With 10-million-plus catches in the database, the Fishbrain brain is a big one.

The predictive features also allow you to drill down to the local level, even down to specific bodies of water. You can even define predictions by specific species, an important detail since different types of fish react differently to changes like light levels and pressure variations.

These abilities don’t just make for predictions that are more accurate, they also make them more useful. Most anglers would agree that when they have the chance to go fishing, they’re going to take it regardless of whether some app tells them there’s a 30-percent chance of peak fishing activity, or a 50-percent chance. And few of us have the flexibility in our schedules to look at an app and say “I’m going fishing on Wednesday from lunchtime until dark, but next week, I’ll go fishing on Monday from sunrise to 10 o’clock.” Imagine, however, knowing that the smallmouth bass in the lake you’re at should display peak activity at the moment, while the walleye have low activity for a few hours and then they begin to pick up the pace. Might that affect your choice of target species throughout the day? You bet it would — and it could save you hours of spinning your wheels, trying to catch one species that’s likely to be inactive while a different one might be on the feed.

The Pro version of Fishbrain also has a number of features that amount to turbocharging the basics. Remember those contour maps? Upgrade and now you can view crowdsourced depth data via C-Map Social Maps, and drop in your own private customizable waypoints. Private social groups can be created, shared catch locations unlocked, and additional data on most effective baits becomes available.

Fishing Apps That Take The Bait

The bottom line? There are plenty of fishing apps out there, and while different people may have different opinions about which is “best,” Fishbrain is going to be the top pick of many of them. And, it will certainly in the running for just about everyone else. As to whether or not it’s right for you, we can’t say. But the basic version doesn’t cost a penny to download and you can get a free 14-day trial of Fishbrain Pro. So, why not give it a try? There’s a good chance you’ll find that it helps you catch more fish, and those predictions could come in quite handy. At least, they will right up until that predictable moment when you drop your phone overboard.

Explore real-time updates on fishing activity in your area. Fishbrain fishing app. Image credit: Fishbrain

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written in 2020 and last updated in July 2023.