Value of a good depthfinder (Seeps report)

Looking for a change up from constant steelhead fishing for the past many months, I took a trip over to one of the more well known Seeps lakes on Saturday. Beautiful day, lots of sunshine, very little wind, a strong chironomid hatch and a strong callibaetis hatch, made for a great day. The water temp at the lake I fished was 58 degrees and I caught a lot of big healthy fish.

For the past 10+ years I've used an early model fishing buddy depth finder and I've always only used it for confirming water depth as I've never had any confidence in the "fish finding" ability of the unit. This past winter I moved up to a more powerful, portable, depth finder with a seperate transducer, bigger screen etc. My motivation was to find a unit that was powerful enough to possibly identify the depth of the thermocline in various lakes that I fish. On Saturday I rowed out to about 16 ft of water and started fishing chironomids along the bottom edge of the drop off. I didn't notice my depth finder marking any fish in shallow water and it wasn't marking fish where I anchored up but I didn't care because I never worry about my fish finder finding fish anyway. The fish are usually there, just undetected. I didn't have a touch in about half an hour and so I decided to move around a bit and perhaps find different water depth and structure that would be more attractive. I ended up rowing out to just over 30 feet in depth and noticed that my new depth finder was very accurate in showing a nice flat, mud bottom - perfect for chironomids. The other thing I noticed is that it started marking fish in 28 - 30 feet of water, right along the bottom, consistent with fish cruising and picking up chironomids coming out of the mud. It showed two sizes of fish (very large and medium size). I decided to give it a try in that area (middle of the lake) just on the chance that this new unit was that accurate. Right away I noticed that when I slowly let down my anchors, the new unit would accurately track the decent until I felt them touch bottom. That gave me a little more confidence in the accuracy. I dropped my chironomid set up straight down below the boat in 32 feet of water and immediately had a hard strike that I missed because I wasn't paying attention. A few minutes later I had another slam down and this was a big fish! I got it to the net and taped it at 25 inches - a male rainbow in spawning colors. The next fish was a bright 20 inch female and so it went until about 3pm when the hatch died off. I caught two distinct sizes of fish, most about 18 inches and a few going over 21 inches. When I actually began to pay attention to my fish finder I noticed that at one point the fish activity below me declined. I pulled anchor and moved a little deeper (34 feet) where fish were marked consistently and resumed catching fish.

So I guess the point of my rambling report is that a quality depthfinder is a great tool to use as a fishfinder, particularly when chironomid fishing. I am impressed with the power of these newer units and would recommend them particularly for exploring new lakes and helping to put the pieces of the puzzle together for a successful day.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
What type of units have all had luck with? I recently bought a used depth finder, it did not work well but I've been working on removing some corrosion and it seems to locate depth well, and that is the idea. I'm just not sure that this unit is reliable enough, sometimes it fails to work at all.
candr, I have had a depth sounder (eagle magna view) on my pontoon for 9 years, mostly to locate contours and depth. I to have noticed that when it marked a fish in say 0 to 15 fet i couldnt see any fish. But i have noticed the same as you said. The deep water on the bottom shows them well and the fish were there. May I ask where this lake was?

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