Waiting for your fishing season opener? Stop biding your time and start mapping your success. Now’s a great time to locate previously uncharted fish-holding structure on your favorite fisheries by making custom Insight Genesis lake maps.
That’s what tournament angler Reid Miller’s been up to in the days and weeks leading up to Minnesota’s bass season opener on May 24. Making a custom map of one of his favorite smallmouth fisheries – a small reservoir lake near where he grew up in central Minnesota – is as easy as recording a sonar log to an SD chip in his Lowrance HDS 7 Gen 2 Touch and then uploading that data to the Insight Genesis website. A Genesis subscriber, Miller can then load his custom map back onto his HDS 7 and use it on the water to find structure that many off-the-shelf maps do not show.
“This lake isn’t really mapped for the most part,” says Miller, a member of the award-winning University of Wisconsin-Stout bass fishing team. “The map chip defines almost none of it.”
So he used Insight Genesis to locate the deeper breaks to which big smallmouths will be moving soon.
“With Genesis, I can find those little pockets where the depth may only drop as much as a foot,” he explains. “That’s a huge advantage on a lake like this, where average depths are only about six feet.”
Before Insight Genesis opened his eyes, Miller had assumed that the digital maps that came on chips were pretty decent. That’s the problem with asking a salesperson “how much coverage does this map chip have?” A better question is “how good is this chip’s coverage?”
Many people – anglers and salespeople included – don’t know that according to one published report, the charts available in the “vast majority of electronic cartography” are based on historical data from governmental agencies. It’s not yet common knowledge that many maps on chips are just digital re-hashes of antique charts (many made with a simple weight on a rope). So, even though a salesperson might say something like “This chip has great coverage – 500 lakes.” If only 50 of those lakes were actually surveyed with modern sonar equipment, the coverage for the other 450 is far from great – in many cases, it’s gravely lacking.
So even if such maps show one-foot contours, many of those contour lines are just estimates. That’s why you’re always hearing about a tournament winner finding a hump or hole out in the middle of seemingly nowhere. That structure was there, but off-the-shelf maps didn’t show it, so no one else thought to look there – no one but the guy with an accurate map, that is.
“I have always looked at the chips as being accurate, until I saw right in front of my face how big of an impact actual readings instead of estimates can be,” he says. He knows now that many of his old chip maps were not showing him a true picture of the lake bottom.
“It’s obvious when you look at the differences side by side,” he says. “The Genesis maps opened my eyes as to how contours are really set up. There isn’t one consistent break in most cases – there will be hooks and dips that just are not on traditional chips. Those are the key structure areas that hold fish.”
Another Insight Genesis feature that helps Miller find previously uncharted fish-holding spots is the exclusive bottom-composition map. Insight Genesis uses the sonar signal from your transducer not only to determine depths, but to determine bottom hardness, which it displays in a separate map layer that can be overlaid on your custom contour lines and existing waypoints.
Like most hardcore anglers, Miller knows that fish group up on transition zones between softer and harder bottom areas – from mud to sand or rock, for example. “Being able to distinguish bottom-content transition areas can mean a big difference this time of year,” he says.
For more information about Insight Genesis, watch the video below and visit the website at http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Products/Mapping/