Best Handheld GPS for Fishing

Best Handheld GPS for Fishing

Water Rating
Battery Life
Screen Size
Additional Features
Bottom line
Best Overall
Garmin GPSMAP 66i
8.1 ounces
2.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
GPS and Galileo
Rechargeable lithium battery
35 hours (10-minute tracking) or up to 200 hours (power save mode)
Internal Memory: 16GB
External Memory: up to 32GB microSD card
3 inches
Satellite phone capabilities
Direct-to-device Birdseye Satellite Imagery downloads
Altimeter, barometer, and compass navigation
Carabiner clip
Wireless connectivity
SOS function, two-way messaging with location sharing, preloaded TOPO mapping, access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery without a subscription, has a built-in LED flashlight, and can connect to a phone
Here’s a kayak GPS unit that’s highly reliable, accurate, and has everything you need to find your way back, remember your favorite fishing spots, and just be safe on the water.
Best Bang for the Buck
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
5 ounces
2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches
AA batteries
Up to 20-25 hours
Internal Memory: 6MB
2.2 inches
WAAS enabled with HotFix
Paperless geocaching
Fast and accurate, affordable, has a worldwide base map, long battery life, rugged construction, simple, and user-friendly layout
Takes some time to learn how to use
If you simply want to know where you are, where you are going, and how long it’ll take to get there without spending more than you have to, then this a great option.
Garmin GPSMAP 79SC Marine
9.95 ounces
2.67 x 6.85 x 1.67 inches
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS, and SBAS
Replaceable AA batteries
19 hours
Internal Memory: 8GB
3 inches
Built-in compass
Bluechart coverage
Supports multiple satellites, floats, wide screen, have large memory, includes US coastal charts, and is designed for water use
Can take some time to learn
Extremely accurate with an impressive battery life, this handheld GPS has everything you need to navigate the waters while fishing.
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
8.1 ounces
2.4 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
AA batteries or rechargeable NiMH battery pack
16 hours
Internal Memory: 8GB
With a microSD card slot
2.6 inches
Bluetooth connection or ANT+
3-axis compass with barometric and altimeter
1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
Preloaded with TOPO maps, high memory, quick and precise location tracker, and readable under the sunlight
Outdated interface
This is a highly sensitive and reliable GPS unit that’s packed with a lot of features to make your fishing experience safer and easier.
Garmin inReach Explorer+
7.5 ounces
2.7 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
Internal rechargeable lithium-ion
Up to 100 hours (10-minute tracking mode)
Internal Memory: 2GB
2.3 inches
2-way messaging
Triggers SOS
Digital compass, barometric, altimeter, and accelerometer
Bluetooth connection
Preloaded with DeLorme TOPO maps, functions like a phone, has SOS function 24/7, tough, and very long battery life
Whether you’re getting away on land, water, or sky, you can stay always within reach, share your location, and navigate to your favorite fishing spots with this handheld GPS.

Handheld GPS devices are similar to old phones. They have small bodies with small screens, and a lot of them have an antenna. Compared to their mounted counterparts, they are more rugged and able to withstand the elements. Plus, they weigh less and occupy less space, which makes them a better option for those with kayaks, canoes, and other small vessels with limited console space. 

The problem is, not all handheld GPS devices are the same. Some are just better than others. And if you’re out on unfamiliar waters while fishing, you’ll need the most reliable and accurate device possible. So to help you find that, we have put together a guide on what you need to look for in a handheld GPS for fishing. We have also made a list of the top 5 best fishing GPS to make your search easier. 

How How We Chose the Best Handheld GPS for Fishing?

We first searched through Amazon for all the handheld GPS devices we could find. Once we determined what was available in the market, we were able to put together a shortlist of the products we liked, those with the highest rating, and those most recommended by anglers. 

From there, we had to narrow our list by putting all the products against each other. We looked at their practicality, functionality, features, design, quality, and overall reliability on the water. We then discussed among ourselves which ones to cut and which ones to include. Finally, after much consideration, we were able to put together only the top 5 handheld GPS for fishing you can buy today.  

That said, all the products listed below are carefully chosen and are guaranteed to be the best devices to guide you on the water, save fishing spots, and help you find your way back every single time. 

Why we love it: 

  • Provides weather forecasts and updates via cellular connectivity
  • Large memory
  • Large sunlight-readable screen

GNSS Compatibility:

  • GPS
  • Galileo

The Garmin GPSMAP 66i is our top pick for the best handheld GPS for fishing. It offers everything you need from a GPS with its preloaded TOPO mapping (U.S. and Canada) and direct access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery downloads without the need to pay a subscription. It also supports both GPS and Galileo systems combined with ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, and compass). So you can track and navigate even in challenging waters. 

Aside from its navigational features, this GPS also features the company’s inReach technology. This enables satellite communication, which gives you access to two-way messaging and LiveTrack location sharing. This means you can stay in touch with your loved ones or teammates no matter where you are. Not only that, but it also allows you to trigger an SOS to an emergency response team in case you find yourself in trouble. 

Overall, with its large sunlight-readable screen, detailed maps, satellite phone capabilities, impressive battery life, and lots of extras, the Garmin GPSMAP 66i is no doubt the best GPS device you can buy today. Sure, it’s a bit on the pricey side. But for what it can do – which is to guide you on the water, lets you know where you are going, save fishing spots, and keep you safe – then it’s totally worth it.  


  • ZTwo-way messaging with SOS function
  • ZAccess to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery downloads; no annual subscription
  • ZLong battery life


  • QPricey

Why we love it: 

  • Long battery life
  • Easy-to-read screen in any light
  • Simple and user-friendly layout

GNSS Compatibility:

  • GPS

If you’re looking for an affordable yet quality handheld GPS, then we recommend the Garmin eTrex 10. Sure, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the GPSMAP 66i, but it can certainly get the job done. Supports GPS and GLONASS, and is enabled by WAAS with HotFix satellite prediction, it can quickly and accurately locate your position no matter where you are. So you can trust it to help find your way when you need it. 

One of the best things about this device is its durability. It’s built to withstand the elements, so you don’t have to worry about it while on the water. Furthermore, it has all the tracking features you need. You can store waypoints along a track to get an estimate of the time and distance between points. 


  • ZRugged construction
  • ZLocated position quickly and accurately
  • ZAffordable


  • QTakes some time to learn how to use

Why we love it: 

  • Floats
  • Wide, fog-proof, and scratch-resistant screen
  • Large memory

GNSS Compatibility:

  • GPS
  • Galileo
  • QZSS
  • SBAS
  • Beidou

On our list of the best fishing GPS, the Garmin GPSMAP 79SC Marine supports the most satellite networks. It is compatible with GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Beidou, SBAS, and QZSS. So no matter where you are in the world, it’s sure to provide you with quick and reliable tracking. Furthermore, it comes with BlueChart g3 coastal charts. This gives you access to navigation charts, currents, depth contours, tidal stations, IALA symbols, and detailed fishing charts. 

We also like that this GPS has a large memory. With it, you can save and track 250 routes, 10,000 waypoints, and 300 fit activities. Additionally, it comes with a barometric altimeter, which allows it to track changes in pressure to pinpoint your exact altitude. 

As for its build, the Garmin GPSMAP 79SC Marine is designed for water use. It is water-resistant with a screen glass that’s fog-proof and scratch-resistant. It’s also very durable and one of the few GPS units that float. 


  • ZSupports multiple satellites
  • ZHave large memory
  • ZDesigned for water use
  • ZIncludes US coastal charts


  • QCan take some time to learn

Why we love it: 

  • Preloaded with TOPO maps
  • High memory
  • Readable under the sunlight

GNSS Compatibility:

  • GPS

Here’s another full-featured handheld GPS device. The Garmin GPSMAP 64st comes with 100,000 preloaded TOPO U.S. maps plus a 1-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery. Map details also include national, state, and local forests and parks, along with rivers, lakes, and points of interest. 

You can add more maps to this GPS unit, too. With a large memory and the option to put in a microSD card, you can download detailed topographic and marine maps for your fishing adventures. That said, you can explore all you want with this device. 

The GPSMAP 64st supports wireless connection via Bluetooth. You can even pair it with ANT+ sensors like speed or cadence, temperature sensor, and heart rate monitor. It can also run on traditional AA batteries or rechargeable NiMH battery packs. 


  • ZQuick and precise location tracker
  • ZDual battery system
  • ZRugged and well-built


  • QOutdated interface

Why we love it: 

  • Very long battery life
  • Tough
  • Tough

GNSS Compatibility:

  • GPS

Our last but certainly not the least pick for the best handheld GPS for fishing is the Garmin InReach Explorer+. Like the GPSMAP 66i, this device offers global satellite coverage, which allows you to send and receive messages from anywhere. It also has an SOS function for when you need help. 

As for its navigation features, this GPS is pretty basic but still better than many devices. It comes with preloaded DeLorme TOPO maps with onscreen GPS routing. It also has a built-in compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer. Furthermore, you can pair it with your phone for accessing downloadable maps, color aerial imagery, U.S. NOAA charts, and more. 


  • ZPreloaded with DeLorme TOPO maps
  • ZHas SOS function
  • ZTwo-way messaging


  • QPricey

What to Look For When Buying the Best Fishing GPS

If you love fishing and exploring new waters, a GPS is one of the most useful tools you can take with you. Not only will it show you where you are, but it can also tell you where you are going and where you’ve been. Most importantly, it can help you find your way back. It also allows you to save the best places to fish in, so you can go back to it at any time you want. Some even have two-way communication and SOS features, allowing you to stay in contact wherever you are. 

However, not all handheld GPS are made equal. And with hundreds of handheld GPS offered in the market, it can be challenging to choose which one to buy. So to help you out and find the right one for your needs, we have come up with a list of all the things you need to consider and look for in a fishing GPS unit. 

Water Resistance

You will need a GPS that can stay fully functional even if it gets wet, splashed, and submerged in water. So make sure to check a product’s water rating. Usually, this is measured through the IP code system – where the higher the rating, the more resistance it has against water. 

For fishing, look for those with at least an IPX7 rating. According to Garmin, this means that it can “withstand incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.” This also makes it suitable for splashes, showering, and rain or snow. If you’re going to buy a device with a lower water rating, make sure to buy a waterproof case. 


GPS devices use data from satellites to tell you your location. Currently, there are 6 satellite networks, also called Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS) around the world, and here’s a quick look at each of them:

  • GPS: USA-operated and maintained. Features 31 satellites and offers worldwide coverage
  • GLONASS: A system from Russia with 24 satellites and provides worldwide coverage
  • QZSS: Satellite system by Japan but only provides regional coverage
  • Galileo: EU system with 24 satellites and offers global coverage
  • BeiDou: A satellite system from China that features 35 satellites, and offers worldwide coverage
  • NavIC: India’s system with 8 satellites. Only covers their region

When choosing what GPS unit to buy, try to look for one that’s compatible with as many GNSS as possible. The more satellite networks it can work with, the more accurate the locations it can triangulate. This will also give you more coverage wherever you are in the world. 


The most important feature of a GPS is accuracy. Since you’ll be using it ideally in places that are unfamiliar to you, it has to tell you exactly where you are and where you need to go. This is to make sure you won’t veer away from your course and get lost. 

That said, look for devices that are Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) enabled. This is a technology that helps deal with minor errors in readings. HotFix is another feature to look out for as it speeds up loading time, thus, improving a unit’s accuracy in predicting your position. 


Look for a GPS device with a screen that you’ll have no problem reading under the sun. It should also have a good resolution with a screen size that will let you see all the information you need with ease. As a guide, the smallest screen you can go with is 2.2 inches.


When you’re out on the water and fishing in unfamiliar places, the last thing you want is your GPS dying on you. So to make sure that never happens, choose a device with a long battery life. If you’re going on multi-day trips, then its battery should be able to last longer. 

In line with that, you should also consider the type of battery or the unit’s power requirements. For instance, those that run on a rechargeable internal lithium-ion battery are great for day trips. However, they might not be the best option for longer trips because if they happen to die while you’re in the water, then you won’t be able to bring them back up without access to electricity or a power bank. 

Meanwhile, if the GPS unit uses AA or AAA batteries, you can just replace the old batteries with new ones and never have to worry about it dying on you while you’re out fishing. Just make sure to carry spare batteries, especially on longer trips. 


Another thing you should look out for in a handheld GPS device is its memory. The more memory it has, the more trails, waypoints, and maps you can save on it. This will help you access such information and find your way even when you lose GPS coverage. 

Detailed Maps

The best handheld GPS for fishing have maps or basic mapping packages preloaded in their systems. Some even offer the option to add more maps to them. This is very useful as the more detailed maps a GPS has, the easier it will be to navigate. 

For fishing trips down or upstream, or to specific destinations, you also want a device with topographic maps. With it, you’re able to assess lakes and rivers better, along with the land surrounding them. This will also allow you to see flatlands, mountains, canyons, valleys, and others. As a result, you can easily chart paths and mark waypoints accurately. Thus, allowing you to get to where you want safely. 

Now, some devices also give you more access to more maps via a subscription service, such as the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery. This is the best way to get all the maps you need. On the downside, however, it can be expensive. 

Additional Features

Other GPS features that can help make your fishing trips easier and safer include: 

  • A clip, Carabiner, or Lanyard: For handheld devices, a clip, carabiner, or a lanyard can help a lot as they offer a more convenient way of carrying. These add-ons also allow you to keep the device easy to reach when you need to check your location quickly.
  • Altimeter and Compass: If your GPS somehow fails, these navigational tools will help you chart your position, so you can still find your way back. 
  • Satellite Phone: Lastly, if you often go to remote locations or isolated areas where there’s no reception, then consider getting a GPS unit with satellite phone capabilities. This will help you to keep in touch with your loved ones and keep them updated no matter where you are. To enjoy such a feature, however, you’ll need to pay for a subscription. 

Now, most GPS devices that function as satellite phones also have an SOS feature. Usually, they have buttons that you can quickly press when you’re in trouble. Once activated, this triggers an SOS to a search and rescue monitoring center that’s available 24/7.