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 aren’t well mapped out and could, consequently, make fishing in those areas more difficult and your navigation perilous. Learn about the benefits of using a fishing sonar to maximize your catch and tips for choosing the right one that will suit your needs.

 

Scroll over the article to learn more about the sonar and its use on fishing trips.

  • The advantages of using a fishing sonar
  • Establish the location and frequency of your fishing trips
  • Consider the type of watercraft when choosing a sonar
  • The technology that’s right for you: Knowing the difference
  • Make sure the fishing sonar comes with a GPS system
  • Evaluate the specific features and benefits of using an ice fishing sonar

Discover our different fishing sonars and accessories.

SonarsAccessoriesWhat is sonar used for?

 

The advantages of using a fishing sonar

Lowrance Fishing Sonar

A sonar, also called depth sounder or fishfinder, is essential to facilitate navigation on the water. It emits waves that reverberate on what is under the surface of the water and transmits the data to the device.

A fishing sonar has 3 main functions that help improving your fishing technique:

  • Indicating surface water temperature
  • Estimating water depth
  • Displaying what is found beneath the surface (seabed topography, presence of fish, structures, etc.)

Other benefits of using a fishing sonar include:

  • Maximizing the chances of catching a fish
  • Having access to a GPS navigation system
  • Giving the boat’s speed so you can adjust it (when the device is equipped with a GPS)
    Some models have an adjustable rotating circular screen; the red color indicates water depth, the green color indicates your lure and a sensor flashes when fish are approaching.
  • Recording the paths taken on the water and the best landmarks for catching a fish (when the device is equipped with a GPS)
  • Avoid structures where the boat could become entangled

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 than it was even a few years ago. It is therefore important to consider various criteria before shopping for the fishing sonar that’s best for your personal needs.

 

Establish the location and frequency of your fishing trips

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 even more accurately 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!

 

Consider the type of watercraft when choosing a sonar

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, portable (including a rechargeable battery), more energy-conscious choices that may also be easier to attach to your ride of choice.

For boats or larger watercrafts, other fixed fishing sonar models (to be plugged into the boat’s power supply), 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.

2D

sail-peche-sonar-2d
2D – The most common technology

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.

CHIRP

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

sail-peche-sonar-down-imaging
Down Imaging – Great quality image, covers more depth

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.

 

Side Imaging

sail-peche-sonar-side-imaging
Side imaging – View on either side of the boat

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.

 

Panoptix

sail-peche-sonar-panoptix
Panoptix – The most detailed real-time view

 

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!

Make sure the fishing sonar 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!

 

Evaluate the specific features and benefits of using an ice fishing sonar

Humminbird Ice Fishing Sonar

When it comes to sonars, it’s hard to ignore ice fishing sonars.

It’s imperative that the fishing sonar unit be portable and have a rechargeable battery, because you won’t have a motor battery to plug it into and you may be moving around frequently, digging more than one hole in the ice in search of fish.

The primary advantage of the ice fishing sonar is that it detects water depth and the presence of fish. The technology is also different.

Some models have an adjustable rotating circular screen; the red color indicates water depth, the green color indicates your lure and a sensor flashes when fish are approaching.

The reading is instantaneous and in real time. It allows to get a good precision but not to identify the fish species.

 

Happy fishing!

Also available in: French