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I'm looking to upgrade later this year. I mainly fish in the Detroit river for Muskie and walleye and jigging in grand traverse bay for lake trout. I'm looking for a unit around $1,000 that's good for marking fish near the bottom and making my own contour maps. Also looking for recommendations for a good installer located in the down river area.

Thanks for any help

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I'm no expert, but from what I observed in my buddies boat, helix and minn kota i pilot link When jigging lake trout, we see them on bottom, cursor over to fish, mark with spot lock, and it puts and keeps the boat right on them. Game changer. I'm rigging up my boat with that setup right now. It's more than your budget if you include the trolling motor. Helix has decent mapping cards too.
 

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I switch to Garmin this year , much easier to use , 93 uhd and 106 ultra with live scope , it’s fun watching perch come off the bottom and hit your bait , going to see how it’s work for jigging walleye went the water cools down
 

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I'm no expert, but from what I observed in my buddies boat, helix and minn kota i pilot link When jigging lake trout, we see them on bottom, cursor over to fish, mark with spot lock, and it puts and keeps the boat right on them. Game changer. I'm rigging up my boat with that setup right now. It's more than your budget if you include the trolling motor. Helix has decent mapping cards too.
Jiggin lake trout sounds like fun…I’m sure u need a good unit for that..perch and walleye I never even look at fish finder..
 

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I switch to Garmin this year , much easier to use , 93 uhd and 106 ultra with live scope , it’s fun watching perch come off the bottom and hit your bait , going to see how it’s work for jigging walleye went the water cools down
Let me know the 1st night we can do some totally dark walleye fishing..
 

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i like my helix 8 and 9 ive had with DI and GPS, pretty easy to use does everything i need
 

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If you really want to get into making your own large scale custom maps, look in buying the Reefmaster software. I mapped over 5 square miles of the lower SCR with it last year. It took a lot of work, but I was very happy with the end product. Now if you are looking yo just draw a crude map of a spot you are fishing in real time on the water to use that day, it won’t do that. The live mapping a lot of the higher end units come with is good for that. But those features aren’t really geared for very large areas.
 

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I like the mapping functionality on my Helix. Pre-mapped charts like Navionics are great, but mapping spots on your own gives you a LOT more detail. Transducer placement is key - if you can get a solid reading while just up on plane, you can map a lot more water in much less time.

I got a zero lines card and the Autochart software as I was most interested in viewing a 3D map of the bottom. The software is very kludgy and can be frustrating, especially if you're not a computer person. It's very cool to see the 3D views, it helps me visualize flow patterns and potential holding spots for each season. I wish there was a way to view them on the unit.

Azure Art Line Aqua Paint


As a piggy-back question to this, with the side-imaging, will it map out a wider path when you make a contour map?
No, the contours are built using depth measurements directly under your boat, there's no data in the side imaging other than the visual.
 

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Yep, love the side scan, takes some getting used to in terms of reading it. It’s kinda tough to pick out walleye hugging the bottom, but it has definitely put me right on top of fish while handlining the river. I also get a kick out of finding shipwrecks… I think I’m at #11 or 12 now in the DR.
 

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HELIX 9 CHIRP MEGA SI+ GPS G3N

It was the largest screen I could throw a reasonable amount of money at. Planning to pick up a compatible Minn Kota for spotlock/tracking.
 

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Here's my take on the different brands based on experience and what I have learned from others. Lowrance seems to do the best job in terms of marking fish on a 2D sonar, but that also depends on the unit, the transducer and the setting. I have an HDS unit and it is great. I also have a Hook-7, and it sucks for marking fish. Hummingbird has the best side-scan and 360. Garmin is the best for live forward-facing or down-facing sonar. When it comes to mapping, I really don't know which is better, but I like my Lowrance with Navionics. So it really depends on which of those things is most important to you.
 
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