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The best drone for fishing in 2022

Fisherman flying a SwellPro drone on the edge of a lake
(Image credit: SwellPro)

The best drone for fishing gives you a unique perspective on the stretch of river, lake or ocean you're tackling. Using a polarizing lens, a drone can look directly into the water and help you pick the perfect spot. 

Some mechanisms can assist in the process further, such as SwellPro’s bait release systems. These can be controlled remotely, or simply through tension you apply to the line with the drone. Also, if you like to fish in one particular spot, creating a detailed satellite-style map is easy with a drone, which why we’ve included a number with good cameras on this list.

When choosing between drones for fishing, it’s a good idea to look at range – the maximum distance you can control the drone and still see a video signal back. Even if regulations don’t allow you to fly this far, it gives a good idea of the quality of the radio signal you can expect.

If you've never flown a drone before, you might be worried about crashing it. Well, don't stress. Every drone on this list features GPS hover in at least one of the flight modes. That means you’ll be able to take off, fly around, and let go of the controls, with no worries that the aircraft will plummet from the sky. Collision avoidance sensors can also be found on pricier drones.

The best drones for fishing in 2022

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
The best drone for fishing overall

Specifications

Size: 180 x 97 x 77 mm (folded)
Diagonal size (open): 302 mm
Weight: 595g
Flight time: 34 minutes
Speed: 19m/s (42 mph)
Range: 18km
Camera resolution: 20MP (5472×3648)
Video resolution: 5.4K
Storage: 8GB Internal + microSD
Filters: Yes
Waterproofing: No

Reasons to buy

+
High-end build quality
+
20MP 1-inch sensor
+
Interchangeable lens filters

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof

If you’re able to take off from dry ground, this is a near perfect choice in terms of visual quality, with a 1080p livestream. There are plenty who would be jealous of this drone in the photography or cinematography space. While, like many, it isn't waterproof, the gimbal-stabilized camera can be directed straight down and has an easy filter attachment system, so it's possible to add a polarizing lens and penetrate the surface of a lake. 

The folding design makes it portable, and the propellors are relatively quiet. powerful motors mean it can make its way home in strong winds. DJI provides high quality charging tools and the control app is easy to use, even for beginners, while offering advanced features where required. 

The Air 2S also features an array of collision avoidance sensors, meaning you can fly through trees and it’ll plot a route around them rather than plough into them. For more details, see our DJI Air 2S review

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
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The best drone for fishing that can land on water

Specifications

Size: 178 x 102 x 102 mm (without water legs)
Diagonal size (open): 423 mm
Weight: 860g
Flight time: 30 minutes (without waterproof housing)
Speed: not stated
Range: 6 km
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: 4K
Storage: microSD (max 128gb)
Filters: Yes
Waterproofing: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile choice of flight time or water landing
+
Can be used as a stabilized camcorder

Reasons to avoid

-
Unusual design can be fiddly to set up
-
Newer 8K model available

PowerVision is known for its underwater drones, as well as this uniquely adaptable aerial one. It requires a little on-site assembly – especially if you’re using the waterproof housing and floating landing skids – but in exchange you have a reasonably powerful drone with a competitive battery life which can land on the surface of the water, and lift itself off again. 

PowerVision makes no specific claims for speed, but it’ll remain controllable in Beaufort Scale 5 winds, which isn’t to be sniffed at. The live view to a mobile phone (connected to the remote) gives a clear view of what the camera is seeing, and the app is reasonably intuitive. If you want to narrate your lake-mapping you can use your phone’s microphone to record your thoughts onto the video from the drone. 

The three-axis gimbal provides stable video and while the camera sensor is a standard 1 / 2.8 inch CMOS (like a typical phone), the picture is plenty sharp for fish finding. Then, if you change activities, you can take the drone body out of its arms and just use the ‘egg’ as a stabilized action camera – adaptable! For more details, see our Powervision PowerEgg X drone review.

(Image credit: SwellPro )
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3. SwellPro SplashDrone 4

The best drone for fishing far from shore

Specifications

Size: 234 x 249 x 90 mm (without water legs)
Diagonal size (open): 450 mm
Weight: 2180g with battery
Flight time: 30 minutes
Speed: 18 m/s / 40mph
Range: 0.8km
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: 4K
Storage: microSD (max 64gb)
Filters: -
Waterproofing: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful lift capacity
+
Versatile with bait and camera options
+
Unsinkable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not especially portable
-
Requires phone for monitor

An IP67 waterproof drone built for the water? You bet. At over 2kg, with capacity for a load of about the same again (that’s around 25 pieces of bait on a line) the SplashDrone 4 is a powerful – if a little pricey – option. Especially when paired with the PL1-S bait release mechanism.

The orange shell of the drone can float and take off from water; if it finds itself the wrong way up, it can even flip itself upright, which is stunning to watch. You get all the usual drone treats that a high-end consumer pilot would expect, including high-res live view and intelligent follow, thanks to the NaviFly app (note: you'll need a phone clipped atop the remote control). Plus there are delightful extras, like the bait release, more traditional feeling buttons and switches on the IP66-waterproof remote. 

SwellPro support their SplashDrone series of drones with a number of payload release mechanisms for “skytrolling,” so you can troll for fish up to 1.6km from the shore without a boat.

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
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The best drone for fishing that doesn't need FAA authorisation

Specifications

Size: 138 x 81 x 58 mm (folded)
Diagonal size (open): 213 mm
Weight: 249g with battery
Flight time: 30 minutes
Speed: 13 m/s / 30mph
Range: 4km / 2.5miles
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: 2.7K
Storage: microSD (max 256gb)
Filters: -
Waterproofing: No

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and portable
+
Cheapest way to get a DJI drone
+
Great family all-rounder

Reasons to avoid

-
No lift-and-drop function
-
Not waterproof
-
Not available in Europe

The DJI Mini SE was created as the entry-point to the leading drone manufacturer’s range. As such it might leave a few of the latest features out, and the camera’s 2.7K video recording irks some tech heads, but the 720P live video to the phone monitor is crisp and clean (within sensible range, anyway). 

It also shares the same well maintained and easy-to-use software with other DJI drones, making it easy to learn. The camera gets a sharp image because it's on a gimbal, which also allows you to remotely tilt it. 

Crucially… drum roll please… the Mini is also just under the weight limit which requires registration. Which means that if you’re in the USA, you won’t need to do any paperwork with the FAA. 

(Image credit: SwellPro)
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5. SwellPRO Spry+

The best fishing drone for speed freaks

Specifications

Size: 234 x 249 x 90 mm (without water legs)
Diagonal size (open): 270 mm
Weight: 436g + 196g battery
Flight time: 17 minutes
Speed: 18 m/s / 40mph
Range: 0.8km
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: 4K
Storage: microSD (max 64gb)
Filters: -
Waterproofing: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Water-repellent shield over camera
+
ATTI-mode for stunt flying
+
Optional bait release system

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower resolution live display 
-
Usability closer to hobbyist drones

This certainly looks like a piece of marine equipment, and for some the optional TrollSafe bait release tool this will be a must-have. It works when you fly your line out and it reaches a certain tension, releasing the bait and line. 

It’s also a very exciting drone, built on powerful motors. Sometimes this can be a little bit of an issue: GPS return to home can be a touch enthusiastic. But SwellPRO have made refinements to the design and software since the first edition. That’s good, because underneath there is the heart of an FPV racing drone (opens in new tab).

That means you get very low latency video feedback, and the option of goggles for FPV view, but on the downside the resolution you view on the monitor is not as high as the more photography-oriented drones like those from DJI. On the plus side, there's a color screen built into the remote control, which is waterproof.

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Adam Juniper
Adam Juniper

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones (opens in new tab), The Smart Smart Home Handbook (opens in new tab), 101 Tips for DSLR Video (opens in new tab) and The Drone Pilot's Handbook (opens in new tab)

With contributions from