Fish Finders

cdnred

Active Member
Might not be the most appropriate place to be asking but does anyone out there that fishes from a boat use fish finders to judge where fish maybe holed up at..? I'm planning to fish more on small to large rivers and small lakes. I'm looking at getting a Sea Eagle 285 Pro FPL in a few weeks and see that there is provision for mounting a fish finder on it. Does anyone have any recommendations on what type, make of fish finder might be the best to get or is it maybe just a waste of time thinking about it..? I'm thinking something that would offer side scanning might be good..
 

Tinker

Coigrich
I fish out of a kayak. I think you need to understand the cone of coverage for a fish finder before you can decide if it will be useful. They don't cover a large area below you even with side-scan imaging.
 

IveofIone

Active Member
WFF Supporter
I have used 'fish finders' for over 30 years and wouldn't want to go on a lake without one. But I don't actually use them to find fish as much as determine the depth and contour of the bottom. They really shine for chironomid fishing and are a constant reminder of which sinking line I should be using.

I'm probably alone in this but the simpler the better. I want to tell in a glance what the temp is, what the depth is and what the bottom contour is. Beyond that I don't need more information and certainly don't want to spend time looking at a tiny screen or pushing buttons.

Side scan is a feature that some guys swear by, my experience with it has been meh-not a real selling point.

Some new units have dual cone coverage and the wider cone is useful if you are actually using the unit to find fish. Also new models are often in color now but be advised that they use more power than a B&W model. You can spend anywhere from $100 to $1,000 on a finder, just find one that suits your needs and don't pay for features that you will seldom if ever use.

But don't be without one-just knowing what depth you are fishing in will probably increase your catch rate by 25%.
 

Randall Clark

Huge Fly Guy
I use one all of the time for musky fishing. Like Ive, it's more for figuring out underwater structure, depth, and water temp, all of which are crucial to figuring out where these fish might be hanging out. Currently the one I use is one of those little portable units (iBobber) that syncs to my phone and it works fine for that (it does give a decent number of false positives with actual fish). Actually thinking about upgrading to something that does a little bit more.
 

dryflylarry

"Chasing Riseforms"
My Lowrance just bloke a male pin in the power supply coming out of the unit. Is there a local electronic repair that could fix this? Tacoma-Bremerton or nearby?
 

Northern

It's all good.
WFF Supporter
I have a Garmin Stryker 4. While I bought it as a portable to bring on fly-ins for gear fishing from a boat, I also use it in my kayak around these parts. It's relatively inexpensive ($170ish as portable unit with battery, transducer, mounts, carry case.) I can either suction cup the transducer to the bottom (outside) of the kayak, or it will actually shoot thru the single, fiberglass hull. The case holds the battery and screen, provides shade so you can see the screen well, and fits fine between my knees. I just stuff my flyboxes and tippet inside, and don't clutter up the yak with extra bags. It has a strap on the bottom if you want to secure it to something in a pontoon. I imagine you would need to purchase a transom-mounted transducer mount.
Like others have noted, it's mostly useful to map the depth and bottom structure, but I have definitely marked larger fish under me, then had a hit as my trolled offering passed the spot where a fish was marked. I have also used it on slower rivers, and it was fine. It has GPS as well, tho I haven't tried using it yet. The flasher function is nice if you ice fish or vertical jig at all. I have never run out of juice during an 8+ hour day on the water.
Not an ad for Garmin, just sharing my quite satisfactory experience with mine!
20200212_192923.jpg
 

Old406Kid

Active Member
Like Ive, Randall, and I'm sure many others I use it more for depth, contour, and water temp.
I haven't really bought into the side scan either but some swear by it.
If nothing else it will save you from alot of hangups and lost flies if you're trolling a sinking line and see the depth rapidly decreasing.
 

MelW

Certified Curmudgeon
Close behind @IveofIone I have 25 years of flyfishing with a depth sounder. I don't call it a fish finder because I don't use it to find fish. I want to know the depth of the water, the bottom structure, and what the water temperature is. I "feel naked" if I don't have the sounder with me on a lake. It got so bad having to fish without one while it was sent in for repair that I had a backup that I stole from my son until I found a great deal on another unit identical to my Fishin Buddy 140C. I don't leave the dock without it!
 

Randall Clark

Huge Fly Guy
I have a Garmin Stryker 4. While I bought it as a portable to bring on fly-ins for gear fishing from a boat, I also use it in my kayak around these parts. It's relatively inexpensive ($170ish as portable unit with battery, transducer, mounts, carry case.) I can either suction cup the transducer to the bottom (outside) of the kayak, or it will actually shoot thru the single, fiberglass hull. The case holds the battery and screen, provides shade so you can see the screen well, and fits fine between my knees. I just stuff my flyboxes and tippet inside, and don't clutter up the yak with extra bags. It has a strap on the bottom if you want to secure it to something in a pontoon. I imagine you would need to purchase a transom-mounted transducer mount.
Like others have noted, it's mostly useful to map the depth and bottom structure, but I have definitely marked larger fish under me, then had a hit as my trolled offering passed the spot where a fish was marked. I have also used it on slower rivers, and it was fine. It has GPS as well, tho I haven't tried using it yet. The flasher function is nice if you ice fish or vertical jig at all. I have never run out of juice during an 8+ hour day on the water.
Not an ad for Garmin, just sharing my quite satisfactory experience with mine!
View attachment 227439
That's the one I've been considering. I'm curious, is the unit itself waterproof or would you recommend getting the cover?
 

Northern

It's all good.
WFF Supporter
That's the one I've been considering. I'm curious, is the unit itself waterproof or would you recommend getting the cover?
I wouldn't trust it to be totally waterproof; I'd say it's "water resistant." Might want to throw a clear plastic bag over it if it's getting rainy.
The case is mostly for portability and shade. Easy to carry & bring inside to charge, and you don't have to hard mount all the bits.
 

Ron Olsen

Active Member
WFF Supporter
So yesterday on a local lake moseyed about for half an hour dragging various colored buggers, with no action, watching the Garmin Stryker 4CV. Water was 42 degrees BTW. Finally noticed a few midges on the surface, and started to get hits on fish. Hmmm. So anchored up and watched. Got a good read on depth, and depth of where the fish were. Next hour six for 10 under indicator, in 13.5'.
So yes, depth finder very useful. Another vote for Garmin Stryker 4 as an easy to use accurate tool.
 

Attachments

kmudgn

Active Member
I don't use a fish finder as I consider it cheating. Figuring out what the fish are taking and where they are lying is the real difference between a fly fisher and a worm dunker/rapella user.. Its tough to have a "zen" moment on the water when you are looking at a screen
 

Northern

It's all good.
WFF Supporter
I don't use a fish finder as I consider it cheating. Figuring out what the fish are taking and where they are lying is the real difference between a fly fisher and a worm dunker/rapella user.. Its tough to have a "zen" moment on the water when you are looking at a screen
I get considering electronics cheating, and that you might not like screens. Yay you. Don't always use them myself.
However, saying a fish finder is the "real difference" between fly and bait/gear is probably the absolute weakest definition I've heard yet. People fished both ways for thousands of years before electronics existed, and I have never, ever, seen worm or PB dunkers at my local lake using sonar. :rolleyes:
Earning your handle well today, though!
 

herkileez

Active Member
WFF Supporter
I don't use a fish finder as I consider it cheating. Figuring out what the fish are taking and where they are lying is the real difference between a fly fisher and a worm dunker/rapella user.. Its tough to have a "zen" moment on the water when you are looking at a screen
They see underwater better than we do, which seems unfair...so, I just figure a fishfinder levels the playing field.
 

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