What is CHIRP on a Fish Finder: The Ultimate Guide About CHIRP Sonar

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What’s CHIRP on a Fish Finder? One of my main gripes about traditional sonars is that they produce a“tone burst” type of energy pulse that is very high in power but is brief in duration. Due to this inconsistency, they tend to limit the amount of energy they can transmit into the water column.

But what if I tell you that there is a game changer, that will not only send a longer pulse, and put more energy into the water column, but will also produce a clear broadband frequency that ranges up to 117 kHz.

Yes, that game changer is CHIRP Sonar. This post will give you a clear picture of what CHIRP sonar is, and how it can give you the most fishing experience.


Simply put, CHIRP on a fish finder is a Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse that sends high pulse energy into the water column. It does this to generate images using a full range of frequencies up to 117k.

CHIRP enhances bottom tracking at deeper depths and at a higher speed. It offers a crisp and precise definition of adjacent objects and gives you an accurate representation of all the images you see.

How does CHIRP Fishfinder work?

Unlike transitional 2D sonars that specialize in using a single frequency, the CHIRP sonar comes out smarter and better. It uses an extensive range or bursts of different frequencies to let the transducer vibrate at a low frequency, and later on, modulates in higher pulses that are ten times the duration of the pulse. So you have up to 10 to 60 times more energy being transmitted into the water column.


One of the critical features of CHIRP sonar that makes it shine so brilliantly over others is its included “Pulse compression and pattern correlation” By sporting this feature, the CHIRP on a fish finder can swiftly receive and process vast information gotten from each pulse to attain unparalleled resolution and vivid definition on targets.

How to Interpret your Sonar Graph (VIDEO TIPS)

Another sweet spot about the Pulse compression and the pattern correlation in a CHIRP sonar is that it can quickly transform an extended frequency-coded pulse in a confined pulse of an expanded amplitude.

This confined pulse with increased power can be linked from an extended pulse with the low peak power to enhance the range resolution and improve the signal to noise ratio.

This will then allow the device to pull target from the background noise easily. In other words, CHIRP will deliver images with deep water penetration, better target separation, and decreased water column clutter.

High CHIRP Vs. Medium CHIRP Vs. Non-CHIRP

Chirp sonar is divided into high, medium and non-CHIRP frequencies. So, which CHIRP frequencies should you choose?



High CHIRP (150-240kHz) is greater for freshwater and inland for depths less than 600 feet. High CHIRP will help you lure, identify and track down baitfish and gamefish target near bottom structure.

Medium CHIRP

Medium CHIRP (80-160kHz) is great in covering and scanning more extensive areas quickly and also shows more massive fish arches. However, it can only provide less detail compared to high CHIRP for viewing smaller objects.


Non-CHIRP (50kHz and 200kHz)

Non-CHIRP fishfinders operate at discrete frequencies of 50kHz and 200kHz. Transmit pulse is only at a discrete frequency. Typical Non-CHIRP fishfinders operate with a maximum duty cycle of 1% – meaning they transmit a voltage to the transducer no more than 1% of the time.


Clearvü CHIRP Sonar Vs. Sidevü in a Fish Finder

Clearvü CHIRP Sonar


CHIRP Sonar Clearvü is a type of Sonar technology designed by Garmin, which offers the clearest sonar images you can find around. The CHIRP Clearvü scanning sonar provides a crisp photographic, broad image underneath your boat. It allows you to see the structure and gives you a vivid definition of objects and fish.

SideVü CHIRP Sonar


While a Chirp Clearvü gives you a nearly photographic, broad image underneath your boat, the SideVü Chirp Sonar shows you objects on the sides of your boat. Of course, this is a great way to quickly spot structures and fish.

How To Get CHIRP?

ONIX units and Humminbird ION can process CHIRP sonar alongside compatible Airmar CHIRP and CHIRP sonar module transducer.

Garmin GPS Map units and the EchoMAP 70dv also display CHIRP sonar coupled with the compatible transducer.

Raymarine Dragonfly devices with A, C, and E series multifunction displays and CHIRP modules with compatible transducers can as well display CHIRP sonar.

How can CHIRP help you catch more Fish?

Apart from the sweet perks we have mentioned about CHIRP Sonar, here are a few tips on how CHIRP sonar will help you catch more fish.

Offers a Clear Representation of Water Column

One of the nicest things about CHIRP is that it delivers a clear picture of bait in the water and unparalleled illustration of the water column. With CHIRP, you will get a well-defined target separation of images, and the ability to differentiate your bait and weight while drop shotting.

This, of course, will give you a full idea of how bass responds to their baits.


Gives Anglers a Clear Picture to Categorize Fish

With CHIRP on a Fish finder, you are getting a better image clarity to help you assert or classify images of fish on your device. This will definitely come in handy for ledge fishermen who often organize fish to have a better picture of big shad from small shad.


It Offers An In-Depth View

By utilizing multiple frequencies, CHIRP sonar provides a clear view of how gamefish fish relate to baitfish. It helps you decipher and differentiate stripers or bass fish from baitfish, even if they’re directly under a ball of bait or inside it. Using a CHIRP on fish finder will make this differentiation a breeze.

Traditional Sonar vs. Downscan vs. CHIRP?

So, the question a lot of people are asking now is which is best of the between traditional fish finder, Downscan or CHIRP? Which of the three is better for Fish, Bait, Structure, and bottom contour?

We are going to show you the difference between these three to help your buying decision.

Traditional Sonar

Traditional sonar is an excellent tool in showing you fish in extensive detail on the screen, making it diffiçult to miss. While this is true, the drawback with traditional sonar is that they don’t show you a lifelike picture of what is underneath the boat.

So, sometimes you may see bikes, crab traps, old rods, and other distractors without knowing they aren’t fish.

Traditional SONAR vs Down Imaging

Traditional SONAR (left) vs DownScan (right)

DownScan Sonar

The downscan sonar, on the other hand, shows you the exact picture of what is on the bottom of the boat. It gives you a precise detail of individual fish in a grass bed, wreck bottom or anything that can hide fish.
So, with downscan, you won’t waste your time on something you can’t catch.
The downside of downscan sonar is since they show the clean detail of the actual size of the fish, there are chances that you might miss them if you’re not paying close attention.


CHIRP Sonar (left) vs. DownScan (right)


While traditional sonar and downscan are great in showing you a unique representation of fish, the chirp sonar comes as a game changer.
Using a chirp sonar in a fishfinder will not only show you the most explicit sonar images in near photographic view underneath your boat, it will also let you spot a clear structure, and gives you a vivid definition of objects of fish compared to downscan or traditional sonar.

How to use CHIRP Sonar in Shallow Water?

To do this, we carried out a test just below the thermocline to prevent us from reducing the sensitivity. Below is the benefit we saw using CHIRP sonar in shallow water.

We discovered that Fishing from a stationary position just above a brush pile allowed us to track the fish better as they go through the cover.

How to Use the Shallow Water Highlight Function on Humminbird Lakemaster Sonar and GPS Units (VIDEO TIPS)

Is CHIRP Sonar worth it?

Considering our test, we can say that chirp sonar is a significant step up regarding performance and functions. While traditional sonars show proper targeting, CHIRP in a fishfinder will give you the edge as far as target separation is concerned.
Aside from that, CHIRPing a standard transducer will reduce the noise and increase the resolution of the transducer. So, it is worth every penny.
If you’re looking for a game changer in sonar technologies that will swiftly receive and process vast information in clear detail to gain unprecedented resolution and vivid definition of targets, the CHIRP on a fish finder is the way to go.

My name is Alex D. Allen, and I’m a professional fishfinder researcher and fishing enthusiast. You’re probably on my website in search of a fishing device that can help make your experience a lot easier and more productive; or perhaps, just trying to glean information to get a wider understanding of what fish finders are and how they can benefit you. Whatever your purpose may be, you’ve come to the right place.

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