Fishing Sonar

How to Choose the Right Fishing Sonar

Also available in: French

In Canada, we are fortunate to have access to an almost infinite choice of lakes and rivers on which to fish. Some of these bodies of water are well mapped-out, but the vast majority of them aren’t. The fact that these fishing grounds aren’t specifically mapped out could, consequently, make fishing in those areas more difficult and make your navigation a nightmare!

Sonars to the rescue! A fishing sonar is an indispensable tool to counter this problem – using one will improve your fishing outing by several notches. Learn how to choose the right fishing sonar.

What is sonar used for?

A sonar has 3 main functions:
– Indicating surface water temperature
– Estimating water depth
– Displaying what is found beneath the surface (seabed topography, presence of fish, etc.)

Over the years, technology has been evolving continuously to become even more high-end and precise. The process of selecting a sonar, therefore, has become a little more complicated that it was even a few years ago. Here are some criteria to consider for choosing the fishing sonar that’s best for your personal needs.

Frequency of fishing outings and type of watercraft: The questions to ask yourself before choosing the right fishing sonar

Depending on the location in which you plan to fish (mapped out or not), your needs will differ.

If you are planning to fish on a lake with which you are very familiar, your needs will likely be limited to locating the fish to make sure you have the highest chances of making the most catches.

If, on the other hand, you’re the type of person who regularly likes to explore new places to fish, your best ally will be a fishing sonar with additional functions that will indicate seabed topography, the depth of the water, its temperature, and so on. Efficiency guaranteed with this sidekick by your side, no matter where you choose to fish!

The type of watercraft is also something that you should consider when selecting a fishing sonar. For smaller watercrafts, such as kayaks or canoes, there are more lightweight, easy-to-carry, more energy-conscious choices that may also be more easily attached to your ride of choice. For boats or larger watercrafts, other more-adapted models (like ones for deep-sea fishing, for example), would be the right choice.

The technology that’s right for you: Knowing the difference

In order to better understand the different types of technology that fishing sonars use to read seabed topography, here is some more detail about the specifics of each.


The two-dimensional system is the one that is most common; most fishing sonar models are equipped with it. The image received will not be the most precise, but it will help you identify what kind of seabed you’re dealing with. This system is recommended for occasional anglers, or for those who already have a solid knowledge of the area in which they are fishing.

2D – The most common technology


Fishing sonars that are equipped with Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse (CHIRP) use the same style as the 2D models but produce higher frequencies. What’s the result? A better, more precise image and a larger area coverage of the water under your watercraft.

Down Imaging

This system offers a quality image that’s almost as sharp as a photo of the seabed. Also, it covers even more depth than that of CHIRP technology. Vegetation, as well as the fish that are hiding underneath it will also be visible to you.

Down Imaging – Great quality image, covers more depth

Side Imaging

Contrary to down imagine and as its name suggests, the images here are of the areas covered on either side of your boat – with extremely high accuracy.

Side imaging – View on either side of the boat


With this technology, you can get a true, ultra-precise, and detailed real-time view of what is going on under the surface of the water. Thanks to this system, you can keep your eye on your baits, the fish that are swimming around, and the structures that can be found near your boat, all in 3D. It’s by far the most advanced technology and it truly makes a big difference. The cherry on top of a beautiful fishing trip!

Panoptix – The most detailed real-time view

Discover our different fishing sonars and accessories.


Make sure it comes with a GPS system

Another function that is super helpful when selecting a fishing sonar is a GPS navigation system. Enormously practical, it will allow you to find your way easily, but also to avoid cumbersome rocks or anything lurking near the surface of the water. Pick out your favorite fishing spots and save them to be able to find your way back in a pinch. Talk about an added bonus!

Happy fishing!

Also available in: French