|Photo by David Cannon|
This week I wanted to go over a few websites, programs, and apps that I have found super helpful for retrieving current conditions and also planning and safely navigating new terrain. Below is a list of the most used technology for these circumstances:
River Data iPhone App - this great app delivers historical and current river conditions throughout the U.S. The app allows you to check water temperature, stream flow, and gage height. You can create favorites in the menu for even quicker information pulls. This is especially great for tail waters or after heavy rains to quickly check your current river conditions. The app even includes the tiny stream that flows through my neighborhood.
Tides & Multi Tide iPhone Apps - this is another crucial water condition app available at the tip of your fingers. Although tide tables and predictions are readily available through many paper publications, this app allows the user to quickly search through tide tables for the entire nation. The information provided back gives the time and height of the tides. The app even integrates sunrise and sunset into the time lapse view.
Trimble GPS Hunt Pro App - although I started using this app more for hunting and scouting for hunting trips, I believe this piece of technology is great for fly fishing. I especially believe this app comes in very handy on unfamiliar and remote waters. It allows you to safely navigate over varied terrain and note your exact location. The app gives you the ability to create trips with a start point. During the course of the day the trip is active and a blue line on a topographical map will trace your exact steps throughout the day via GPS tracking. You can mark spots, like a honey hole you may have found or a perfect camping spot. Marking the spot on the trip also allows you to take a photo of the location as well. The trips created can be saved and you can use them at a later date and retrace your exact steps. The app will continue to work while stowed in your pocket in your waders and also functions without cell phone service because it only relies on GPS. This app may be the only reason I pull my phone out during a fishing trip (but only for a quick second of course).
Fly Fishing Message Boards (NGTO-North Georgia Trout Online) - message boards are one the fastest ways to learn more about local conditions and the opinions of other anglers who have actually visited these locations first hand. North Georgia Trout Online is a message board I visit frequently to get river\stream conditions and also to hear the experiences of other anglers in the local area. There are many great write ups of trips you may be considering taking or are just curious to learn more about. The perspectives can vary and as any great angler knows, most people are not going to give away their "secret spot" to a message board forum with thousands of users (I know I wouldn't). The message board also displays maps created by users that show specific highlights and areas of interest. NGTO is great for me locally and you can find other message boards available through a web search that applies specifically to your area.
Google Earth- we all are familiar with this one or at least should be. This has to be one of the most fun to use. You can fly around the world and view sites in incredible image quality in front of your computer screen with some pretzels and beer. I'm a sucker for maps in general and could spend hours glued to the screen on this one. Discover new sections of water you have never seen before or plan your hike in. Nothing compares to real life scouting, but this can provide a great start and spark some interest in some new areas.
These are just a few of the technologies I use when planning trips and for retrieving current conditions. The best part is that all of the above are available free of charge. We'll explore more uses of technology as it relates to Fly Fishing in future posts.
If you have any ideas to add to the list or if you have another creative use for anything above feel free to comment below.