If you are making the investment for a fish finder, it may be worthwhile to get yourself a good GPS system while you are it. There are some really nice fish finders that have GPS and chartplotting built in to them. Some GPS are limited to just showing your location on a detailed map, and some Garmin models can help you plot a course, too.
The advantage of this is that you can have chartplotting capabilities and fish finding, all in one.
There is one disadvantage to this, though. If you are dependent on just one unit for fish finding and chartplotting, you don’t have any redundancy. If the unit goes bad, you’re out of a chartplotter and a fish finder until you get everything back up.
That being said, don’t expect these units to stop working anytime soon. I’ve seen units that have been going strong for over 5 years – so your investment is more than safe.
Here are some of our favorite fish finder gps combos:
Garmin echoMAP 73cv
The Garmin echoMap 73cv is a reliable and powerful fish finding/gps unit. You’ll get dual SONAR – traditional and 3D SONAR, both of which you can view side-by-side. Garmin’s DownVu technology will let you see a photographic image of up to 750 feet in fresh water.
Garmin GPS is the best on the market – and the echoMAP 73cv is no less. It refreshes its position 5 times every second, and shows you where you are on highly detailed LakeVu HD maps.
These maps contain data for 17,000 US lakes, reservoirs, and water bodies, with over 6,000 that have contour details accurate to just one foot deep near the shore, as well as markers for major roads, marinas, and safety information.
You can also upgrade the EchoMap with BlueChart g2 maps for even more chartplotting power.
Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Sonar GPS
The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 makes this list because of it’s large 7 inch screen, super powerful CHIRP SONAR and it’s compatibility with Navionics+ charts. In the charts business, Navionics can’t be beaten – the only thing that can compete is perhaps Garmin.
The charts that come with the US version of the DragonFly have Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Canadian 2XG coast, all the Great Lakes, plus 18,000 US Inland lakes. Most of these water bodies have contour data up to even in areas as shallow as just 1 feet deep!
The GPS sensor has 50 channels for a highly accurate reading and fast acquisition of satellites to see your position.
The Dragonfly is also very easy to use, with an intuitive menu system and the SONAR returns are super clear – and it uses just a single transducer to show regular SONAR as well as high-resolution DownVision SONAR.
The Lowrance Elite-7 Gold
The Lowrance Elite-7 Gold is an awesome fish finder for the price. You get a traditional SONAR/DownScan SONAR fish finder and a chartplotter with Navionics Gold maps built in. The Navionics Gold maps have over 3,000 lakes and rivers as well as coastal contours up to 1000 feet.
If the Navionics maps are insufficient for you, you can expand the chartplotting capabilities through the SD card reader – there are a number of other mapping packages available, such as Lake Insight and Nautic Insight HD and PRO cartography, Navionics HotMaps Premium, Fishing Hotspots® PRO and Jeppesen C-Map Max-N charts.
The coolest thing about Lowrance is the Insight Genesis software. Available for a yearly subscription, you can overlay your SONAR data onto charts and create your own custom charts with SONAR readings – so you can have the structure mapped out for any lake or water body one day, and just concentrate on fishing and going to targeted spots the next.
Humminbird 959ci HD DI
The Humminbird 959ci HD DI has a brilliant 8 inch display which is easily viewable even in direct sunlight. The very roomy screen lets you see SONAR returns with excellent clarity, and if you decide to see SONAR and maps side-by-side, both displays will still be big enough for you to comfortably interpret.
The SONAR in the 959ci HD DI is traditional SONAR as well as high-resolution Down Imaging SONAR, which will show you a near 3D image of the bottom and structure. This fish finder/chartplotter also has ethernet capabilities so you can hook it up to external modules and receivers on your boat, too.
The charts that this unit comes loaded with are Humminbird ContourXD charts, which are highly detailed, contoured charts of over 3,000 US lakes. The biggest advantage of these contoured charts are they enable you to quickly find drops and channels, where many species of fish usually lurk around. Then it’s just a matter of getting there, seeing SONAR returns, and casting.