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Fish Sonar Advice


Majestic

Question

I'm on the market for a new sonar unit, the one on my boat doesn't work anymore it was just one of the cheapy $89 Birds. I'm looking to upgrade but can't justify spending the money on side imaging right now, I do want to in the future but probably not for a couple years when I can afford it and spend more time out on the boat.

Right now I'm just looking for something that can tell me if there are fish in the area. I'd like for it to have temp/speed on it and if it's lake chip compatible even better. I have both Navionics and Lakemaster for my gps when out ice fishing so it would be nice to use in the boat.

I'm looking to spend a few hundred, anything after that might as well jump into the over a thousand range lol.

Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

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Lowrance Elite 4

Color graph/GPS combo - $300 when I bought one a month or so ago. It was just brought out this year as a price point competitor. It has quite a few features and is compatible with both of your chips including the micros.

I love the detail of the graph and it has speed and temp. I can get all the same information as I get from my 522 but on a smaller screen. I put it on our pontoon and haven't regretted it yet. I went to the store with the intention of getting an HDS5 but walked out with a decent unit and several hundred extra dollars in my pocket.

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I have recently seen the humminbird 788ci on sale for $460ish range on and off. That might be more than you want to spend at the moment, but a great fish finder and price.

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Yep, the humminbird 788 is on sale at gander right now for about $430. That a really good unit for that price.

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Thanks guys, I'm going to take a look at the ones mentioned so far and do some comparing. Most I'd want to spend is $500 so that one is in my range, but I'd also go Wanderers route where I can get a nice unit and still save a couple hundred.

Anyone else?

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What is Wanderers route?

788ci gets my vote. Nice unit. Only difference between that and the current model is the Ethernet port, which you don't need.

I bought the 798ci SI, which is basically the same unit with side imaging added. Great units.

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I don't see the 788ci at Gander anywhere, not at the big C either.

Lowrance Elite 4 and 5 look pretty decent.

Found the Humminbird 597 ci HD Combo Sonar/GPS for $499 and the Humminbird 587ci HD Combo Sonar/GPS for $479.

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The 788ci is out of stock almost everywhere, and my guess is that it's no longer being made. If you can find one around, it's about the best buy you can find right now, I would say. The 5 inch screen will be much nicer than the 4 incher you get on the elite 4. Dick's had them priced at $450 recently as well, but they're no longer availaboe on the website. Reeds had them priced down to 470 or something, but no longer available there either. If you do a google search you'll find a few vendors that have them available still at around $480, but most I've never heard of.

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HB 597 ci HD is a very nice unit...i added that to my arsenal last fall, can also be used on ice & provides all the info u r requesting & more but would check bout it being compatible with your chips

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OK, so does anyone have any recommendations on a unit that I can actually find lol?

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Yeah I been looking at the 597's, after shopping around quite a bit I might just go for the 597ci HD with DI. I'd be going a couple hundred over what I planned on spending but it might be worth it.

I found the 597ci HD for $469, and the 597ci HD with DI for $549. So for an extra $80 I could get DI.

The Elite 5 looks pretty nice too, that one has a bigger screen then the Elite 4.

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Boooooooooo

Just read that the lakemaster chips I've been using won't work in the Birds. That means if I go with a Bird I'll need to get new chips.

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sell ur old ones for a few bucks to someone just staring out, get new updated chip for your new bird....a win/win for u

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Just bought this one a week ago Humminbird 587ci HD DI Fishfinder/GPS Combo $438 search for a store called epal ...had never heard of them but the BBB gives them an A+. Shipping was fast and I love the unit. I too previously had an $85 dollar cheapo that basically told me the depth. This thing is waaay better and 50-60 bucks cheaper than anywhere else.

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Nice, too bad I'd have to spend a few hundred dollars getting the chips for the Bird that I already own. Might as well spend $800 on a different brand that can use the chips I already own by that point.

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If that is the issue, then yes, buy something that will accept your chips. I know they really ad up. You could always sell them too, and maybe find some used chips for the new unit.

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So a friend of mine tells me Lowrance doesn't accept the Lakemaster chips like we use in our H20C's either, is that true?

Buying a new fish finder these days is a giant headache. Right when you find one nope doesn't take chips, has temp but not speed, oh guess what this one don't come with a transducer.

Hey RJ, I checked that unit out that is pretty nice. Almost the same as the 597ci HD DI Fishfinder/GPS Combo with just a 1/2 inch smaller screen and Watts.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • leech~~
      Have you ever read the history of SPAM! It's very interesting! 🤭
    • leech~~
      Welcome to the forum and thanks for the ice report. I'm sure more reports on other lake will start coming in as more folks brave the ice. 
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end... It is ice fishing time!  Some resorts (not all) have pulled out fish houses and it is game on.  Some ice trails are marked and open.  Check weight limits on each ice road as conditions can vary. Resorts who have fish houses on the ice will typically transport you out to their houses using light ice rigs for convenience and safety.   As we often say, ice conditions vary greatly on Lake of the Woods.  Some resorts have trails marked across Four Mile Bay out to fishing areas in front of Pine Island on the big lake.  Some resorts are not quite open as the ice where they go out still needs some time to thicken up.   Watch your favorite resort / outfitter social media pages for up to date info.   Work through resorts and outfitters on the ice, stay on the marked trails for safety, please don't exceed weight limits and drive slowly on the ice. Anticipation is high.  The early ice bite is normally very good!   Please remember to Keep It Clean, pick up everything around you and secure your garbage. On the Rainy River...   The Rainy River is frozen up.  Some locals who know the river have been checking ice and ice fishing with some walleyes and saugers in the mix.  As ice thickens, more areas will become accessible. Ice conditions vary and on the river there is current, so much like the lake, we encourage visitors to work through a resort or outfitter for safety.   Up at the NW Angle... Resorts have been monitoring ice conditions and starting to stake trails.  They are not ice fishing yet, but the ice is looking good and some guides scouting for fish give the thumbs up.  Stay in touch with your favorite NW Angle resort for further info.   Driving through Canada to reach the Angle no longer requires COVID vaccinations or the use of the ArriveCan App (which is optional).   For those looking to access the Angle while avoiding customs, there are few options.   1.  When ice conditions allow, the snowmobile trail will be groomed and staked from the south shore up to the Angle. 2.  The Lake of the Woods Passenger service provides round trip bombardier service across the lake.   3.  Lake Country Air provides air service to both the south end and NW Angle.    
    • thefishingpublic
      Any update on ice fishing? Was out on Green yesterday and there was about 5" of ice from the launch. Didnt push it too far. Really slow fishing.    Anyone fished Ann lake in the past year? Update? 
    • Coleman
      You're not fishing too far from home I see.  I was going to pop a couple holes on Saturday to check the status, I'm on the other side of the point.  Did you mark any fish on those bumps?  
    • smurfy
      no friggin way i'd let them worthless friggin pelicans do that. i'd make me a life size leech lookin scarecrow!!!!!!!!!!!🤣🤭   just joshing ya leech!!!!!!!!!!🤗 but i seriously wouldnt allow that  to happen!!!!!!!!
    • Mike89
      seem then birds do that too!!!   it is interesting the way they herd the fish and swoop in on them...  
    • smurfy
      yep, like leech said, best asking and going through a resort on the lake. i dont know anyone that would rent out there own personal house to someone else.   google Winnibigoshish resorts you'll get a bunch. i personally like highbanks!!!!!!!
    • leech~~
      Welcome to the forum.  Those are some pretty specific questions that are best answered by the resorts on the lakes that rent houses. Let us know if you find any good deals! 👍
    • gimruis
      I have a story about Elk Lake.  Last spring after ice out, I was crappie fishing out there in one of those shallow back water areas that hold dozens of puny crappies.  I caught over 100 in a couple hours.  I went back a week later, and one of the land owners came down to his dock and told me that a couple days earlier, a flock of pelicans was in there gulping up crappies as fast as they could.  Literally.  He said they would herd them into a corner and then other ones would swoop in with their gaping mouths/beaks and suck em down like a vacuum.  They did this for 2 days straight until there didn't appear to be any crappies left in there.   He said he considered putting a halt to it because they are gluttons and he could tell it was going to make a sizable dent in the crappie population, but he let it go because it was just "part of nature."  Needless to say, when I was back there fishing the second time, I didn't catch a single crappie and I had caught over 100 a week earlier.
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