Tailwaters can be extremely unpredictable. There is not much worse than the utter disappointment when you arrive to the waters edge to find it blown out, way to high to fish. Unlike me, many people travel some distance to fish our local trout waters. This type of water is limited in the midwest compared to the north west or any other mountainous states, so there may not always be a plethora of choices.
One never knows when the dam feeding the tailwater is going to open its floodgates. Wouldn’t it be great to know what the water condition is before you ever pack up the car? This can be done with one of the following handy apps.
Many of us have smart phones and rely on them for so much. Why not use it for your fishing ventures as well. There are many mornings that I wake up, grab my phone, and check the weather and the local stream flows. For me, this has become habit. I have only a 5-10 minute drive to my local lake, smallmouth river, and trout waters. How lucky am I? For those that aren’t so lucky, download one of the following apps so you don’t drive an hour or two to experience a major letdown. All of the apps featured in this post are all free and can be easily found on the App Store for iPhone or Play Store for Android. Check them out so you don’t find this at your favorite tailwater.
For those of you that use an iPhone there are a couple of options to monitor your local streams. Neither of the following iPhone apps are necessarily better than the other. Each have their own benefits. If you have an iPhone get on your App Store, check them out, and decide which one is best for you.
Streamflow was the original app that I downloaded on my iPhone. This app is easy to navigate and comes with multiple data points. When I check the local tailwater on Streamflow, I know what the depth and water temperature is at the gauge. All the streams are organized first by state and then by county. This could be difficult to locate a local stream while traveling if the county is unknown. This app also has a feature that you can look at the flows during a single day, week, month, or three month period
Rivercast is another app that I recently found, and I am rather fond of one of its different features. Rivercast uses you gps location on your smartphone and produces a map of the area you are located in. On this map, it shows all the gauges that you can monitor through this app. This app is especially nice if you are traveling and want to locate the closest location to monitor. You can also save your favorites to quickly check out your favorite fishing spots.
For those of you that have Android based phones, don’t you worry…there are options for you as well. I currently have a Samsung S5 and have found two apps that are very similar to the previous two apps.
RiverFlows was the original app that I downloaded for my Samsung phone. One of the great features of this app is that it uses USGS and AHPS gauges to provide data. Depending on the stream, there could be multiple data points. You navigate the app by initially searching by state. You can then search by the name of the waterway. Select and save your favorite waterways so you can check the cfs or the depth in an instant.
HydroGauges is the latest app that I have found. This seems to be the most limited app that I have used. It can still do the job, but the format is not my favorite. You have to search by the name of the waterway. Once you have selected a stream, it will produce a graph that shows the gauge depth.
All of these apps can help alleviate the problem of finding utter disappointment. I hope one of these help, and don’t forget to check your app before your next outing. Nothing will be 100%, but we all would rather fish water like this!