Best Fishing Thermometers of 2021 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

A fishing thermometer can be a vital tool in the hunt for your next trophy catch.

Water temperatures can play a huge role in fish activity and knowing what to look for can up your chances of pulling in the perfect catch.

In this article, we’ll walk through the best of the best fishing thermometers available today. 

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Comparison of the Best Fishing Thermometers

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Are Thermometers Important While Fishing?

Although they aren’t an essential tool for angling success, fishing thermometers can provide a helpful hand on the water. Many fish species have different feeding patterns depending on the temperature of the water— having a thermometer can provide information that will make you more in-tune with your potential catch.


A cold-blooded fish’s body temperature will generally match the temperature of the water. When the temps are colder, a fish will metabolize food more slowly, resulting in less of a need to feed, which, in turn, can affect your fishing performance. On the other hand, when water is too warm, there’s less oxygen, which makes fish lethargic and less likely to eat. 

Many fish will thrive when the water is within a certain temperature range. In order to find that, your fishing thermometer will be a vital tool for your angling success. You can avoid water that is too warm or too cold and stick to the sweet spots that will provide the perfect combination for feeding activity.

How to Choose a Fishing Thermometer

Finding the perfect fishing thermometer may seem daunting, but it’s easier than it seems. Keep an eye out for several qualities that make these tools easy to operate and beneficial to the angling experience. 

Analog Versus Digital- These are the two main styles of fishing thermometer you’ll encounter online and in your local sporting goods store. While neither trumps the other, you may find you have a personal preference between the two. Analog thermometers can be fully submerged to check water temp at different depths while digital thermometers utilize a probe to measure water temp and display it on a digital screen.

Attachment Features- Because you’ll be working around water, it’s nice to have a fishing thermometer that has some sort of leash or attachment you can tie to yourself to keep it safe. Many thermometers will not float, so having an extra safety feature in place can be a huge assistance in case of a fumble. 

SAMSFX Fly Fishing Thermometer Stream

Review of the Best Fishing Thermometers

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the best of the best fishing thermometers available today. Take a look and you might just find your next purchase. 

Best Overall:SAMSFX Fly Fishing Thermometer Stream

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  • Accurate readings
  • Super lightweight
  • Easy to travel with
  • Lanyard attachment for extra safety
  • Measures a wide temperature range


  • Not very easy to read
  • The outer metal case is poorly made
  • The thermometer may rotate on its own, so re-situating is occasionally necessary

What Recent Buyers ReportThose who purchased the fly fishing thermometer from SamsFX were happy with its simple yet effective design. Buyers were pleased with the lightweight frame, commenting that it’s a great thermometer to throw into a backpack for a hiking trip. However, some users wished the numbers were a little easier to read.Why it Stands Out to UsThis fly fishing thermometer earned the top spot on our list for its overall performance and high reviews from the majority of anglers who have used it for season after season. We’re huge fans of its traditional, simple, easy to use design and appreciate its accuracy and temperature range.Who Will Use This MostAlthough this thermometer is an easy recommendation for any angler, this pick would be especially good for those who like to keep things small and simple. This piece of gear is a great option for hikers or backpackers who want something small and lightweight to throw in their pack for their next fishing excursion.Bottom LineWhen it comes to fishing thermometers, sometimes simplicity is key. This tool would make a great addition to any angler’s gear due to its accurate readings, lightweight design, and super-easy usability.

Runner-up:FishPond Swift Current Thermometer

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  • Great size
  • Retractor/lanyard attachment
  • Housing is very durable
  • Created with high-quality aluminum
  • Consistently reads accurate temperatures


  • Difficult to read numbers
  • Slow to relay temperatures
  • The thermometer may rotate, making it difficult to read

What Recent Buyers Report

Anglers who went for the Swift Current Thermometer from FishPond were happy with the majority of the features of this tool, including the durable finish and high-quality build. They appreciated the consistent accuracy but wished the design allowed for larger numbers to read, as the small numbers were difficult to read. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This thermometer makes an appearance on our list because we love the potential longevity this tool can provide. Unlike some fishing thermometers on the market, the Swift Current is built with a super-sturdy aluminum housing, making it durable and long-lasting season after season.

Who Will Use This Most

This FishPond thermometer is a great choice for anglers who are a little more rough with their gear. This tool can withstand plenty of bumps and bruises thanks to its sturdy construction, so there’s not as much of a need to be careful when using it. It also has a lanyard attachment, to prevent any mishaps. 

Bottom Line

All in all, this thermometer from Swift Current is a reliable choice that earns high marks for its durable construction. Although it could be much easier to read, this is still an awesome pick for rough-and-tumble anglers who want something that can hold up over time.

Best for the Money: Orvis Encased Stream Thermometer

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  • Reasonably priced
  • Very small and portable
  • A great option for travelers
  • A good option for kayakers
  • Bright green color makes it easy to find


  • Could be more durable
  • Slow to read temperatures
  • Some inaccurate readings

What Recent Buyers ReportRecent buyers of the Orvis Stream Thermometer were very happy with the value of this small but mighty tool. Although some anglers came across inaccurate readings or thought the housing wasn’t durable enough, the majority thought the thermometer was nicely put together. Users appreciated the small, easy to find design and thought it was a great option for those operating small watercraft.Why it Stands Out to UsThe Orvis Stream Thermometer is our budget pick because we love its easy to use, brightly colored design. This little guy is bright green, which makes it stand out amongst other gear, eliminating the need to repeatedly dig through your bag to locate it. This thermometer also comes at a very low price, an advantage for anglers who may be working with a tight budget.Who Will Use This MostAside from anglers on a budget, the Orvis thermometer also makes a great travel buddy. It is teeny tiny, so it fits well in a backpack or even your back pocket. This tool is also a good option for those who stick to kayaks or canoes and have a lack of space. The stream thermometer can tuck in just about anywhere.Bottom LineAll in all, this Orvis thermometer has some annoying issues, but shouldn’t be overlooked as an awesome choice for anglers looking to save a couple of bucks here and there. It has a great, simple design and is pretty cute, too.

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Editor’s Pick:Scout-a-Bout Bass Thermometer

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  • Super-durable housing
  • Convenient size and shape
  • Lanyard or key ring attachment
  • Thoughtful design and construction
  • Gives specific insight for bass fishing


  • Could be easier to read
  • Occasional accuracy problems
  • Takes quite a bit of time to read the temperature

What Recent Buyers ReportAnglers who purchased the Scout-A-Bout Bass Thermometer were pleasantly surprised with its insightful and thoughtful design. Though some users wished the temperature readings came a little quicker, the feedback for this tool was overwhelmingly positive, with buyers citing the durable housing and special features as the main draws.Why it Stands Out to UsWe appreciate the Scout-A-Bout thermometer because it is specialized for bass fishing. This is an awesome, accurate tool that can provide some cool insight for bass fishermen, something that is fairly tough to find on the angling market. We love the helpful markings on the side and appreciate the durable construction.Who Will Use This MostThis thermometer is a great tool for bass fishermen. The product has markings on the side which can help you identify the best fishing depths for different bass including small mouth, large mouth, and white bass. It also takes bass spawning into consideration. These features lend a very helpful hand on the water.Bottom LineAn awesome pick for bass anglers, the Scout-A-Bout thermometer can give the insight needed to bring in your next big catch. Although it could be quicker, sometimes quality outshines speed. Don’t skip this one if you love fishing bass!

Best Digital Fishing Thermometer:FISH HAWK Portable Td Digital at-Depth Water Temp Gauge

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  • Small and compact
  • LED screen display is easy to read
  • Reads a very wide temperature range
  • Also displays pressure information in feet or meters
  • Quickly and accurately reads water temperatures


  • Doesn’t sink well
  • Fish may try to eat it
  • Water can leak behind the screen

What Recent Buyers ReportThe majority of recent buyers of the Fish Hawk digital temperature gauge had positive things to say. Although some users experienced issues with water leaks, they were few and far between. Many anglers were happy with the LED screen, commenting that it was quick to read temperatures and easy to read.Why it Stands Out to UsWe are fans of this thermometer because of its easy to read screen and we appreciate the digital design. The Fish Hawk digital temperature gauge makes our list because it is super user-friendly, consistently reads accurately, and displays numbers on a bright, clear screen.Who Will Use This MostIn the pool of digital thermometers, this one especially, is an awesome option for anglers who might have sight issues. If your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, it can be a huge inconvenience to have to squint at teeny-tiny numbers on the side of an analog thermometer. This tool eliminates some of the inconvenience.Bottom LineFor those who prefer digital thermometers, the Fish Hawk Portable Temperature Gauge is a reliable pick. It nails the essential functions of a great thermometer and adds an extra element of convenience that could make all the difference on your next fishing trip.

How to Use a Fishing Thermometer

There are a couple of different ways you can operate a fishing thermometer. If you have a digital style thermometer, it will be slightly different from analog. Digital tools have a probe, which when placed into the water, reads the temperature. You may need to attach a weight to the end of it so it can read deeper temperatures.

Analog thermometers should be operated as such:

  1. Attach your thermometer to the end of your rod (as shown in the video below) or on a lanyard/string you don’t mind getting wet.
  2. Allow it to fully submerge at the depth you’d like to read the temperature.
  3. Give it time to acclimate. All thermometers are different; some take seconds, others take five to ten minutes.
  4. Remove it from the water to check the temperature. On first use, you may want to compare it with another thermometer to ensure the reading is accurate.
  5. To ensure your tool’s longevity, it’s best to allow the thermometer to fully dry after each use. 

The video below demonstrates the use of an analog thermometer in a stream setting. 


With the information in your hands and a list of great products at your fingertips, you’re one step closer to purchasing an awesome fishing thermometer. Remember the desirable qualities, keep your own preferences in mind, and you’ll be set. Happy fishing! 

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