I have at least 20 fly fishing applications installed on my phone. I rarely use any of them. Because I have worked in the software industry for over 35 years I just can’t deal with the bad user experiences in these applications. I’m sure it’s because really knowledgeable and talented fly fisherman try to build software.
Well, the folks at FlyWise approached my club, The San Diego Fly Fishers and it seems I’m the logical choice to review a fairly new mobile phone application called FlyWise. I was skeptical. And I’m shocked…. I’m pleased to tell you I am shocked in a positive way. This is an app I will and have actually used.
FlyWise give you access to real-time river conditions, weather, hatch charts, river maps, fishing regulations, license requirements, and more. It’s free. But, it’s currently iPhone only. I trust the folks at FlyBoxFishing have android on their road map; hopefully Windows Phone too. Download the FlyWise app for your iPhone from: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flywise/id896949958?mt=8 or you can just search FlyWise in the app store.
So, with something so positive let me say up front that the app in its current form helps the advanced fly fisherman the most. But, beginners could learn a lot from this app. I use the app in research. But, I really will use this app streamside (assuming a network connection).
I think it’s best to describe the app with a real use case that I used it for. My son and I are going to fish the Stillwater River in Montana. I have never fished it. So, firstly I used the app to look up the Stillwater River. The Rivers are organized by state and the list seems to grow by the day. Once finding the Stillwater River the Home screen for the Stillwater River shows current weather, wind, sun rise, sun set and river flow in CFS.
That info in itself is a goldmine for a fly fisherman because it’s real time and easy to see on a small device. What’s missing, of course, is the moon phase, but Zach Lazzari of flyboxfishing.com tells me that feature is coming. I’d love the see the River flow as compared to Normal for the time of year so you could easily tell if the river was blown out or not. Or maybe have symbols for low, normal, blown out, etc.
The next screen is the detail of the current weather screen. It’s represented with the sun symbol at the bottom of the screen. Remember this is real time weather detail. Very valuable for those of us that fish in the rockies where those afternoon thunderstorms come quickly with a vengeance.
The next functionality of the application is a map of the River. And the put ins and the take outs and access points are identified with pushpins. There is functionality that uses your GPS to show you exactly where you are on the river. Obviously a satellite view of the map would be extremely beneficial here for when you are making that decision to hike “just another mile upriver where that undiscovered honey hole is.”. I do this all the time. And yea sometimes I get in a bit of a pickle when the sun goes down and I’m looking for that next best place and getting farther and farther from my car. I’m sure a satellite image of the map is at the top of the priority list to add next.
The next set of functionality is the info section. It shows everything one wants to know about the river including species info and source and tributaries, etc. But, also includes hatch charts…. In a tremendous amount of detail. My current go-to dry is the bullethead Skwalla. Skwalla flies are big ass stoneflies and are really fun to fish. And from the screenshot below you can clearly see that Skwallas hatch March to May on the Stillwater.
The last two sections of functionality are the Regs and the licensing requirements. There’s even a link to purchase an MT license online, right there riverside.
FlyWise is an app that I would pay for. But, it is free.
I was so encouraged by FlyWise that I wrote them a litany of feature requests I want to see in the app. And they actually agreed and trumped me with a list of features they were currently working on that I didn’t even think of.