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Lake: Antero Reservoir
Fish: Brown Trout

Garmin Panoptix LiveScope Changes Trout Fishing

Post By: PikeD      Posted: 3/16/2020 2:42:21 PM     Points: 1655    
I have been using the Garmin Panoptix Livescope Ice Bundle this season with the following big gains in shallow trout fishing:

1) finding the weed edges and knowing exactly what is down there. Yes, I have used a camera in the past but cameras do not have the visual power to see 30 feet (especially in the early morning). The two screenshots clearly show a sloping area with multiple types of vegetation.

2) monitoring fish movement and location across a flat. My sonar really only works once the depth is 7 or 8 feet. A camera or sight fishing only shows the fish right below the hole. While watching fish come into my lures or coming near my location the Panoptix allows me to see if the fish are using a different part of the flat, again up to 30 feet away (3-4x the depth actually).

3) finding and reacting to suspended fish. We were fishing in 12 feet and fish were coming through 2 to 6 feet down. On a sonar they are visible, but on the Panoptix we can see them coming from 20 feet away, and raise our lures before the fish get in the vicinity. This is true horizontal live sonar on the ice.

4) monitor multiple lures. We had three people in a 6x12 shelter. By setting up the Garmin outside the shelter we could see all three lures and watch fish move in, inspect, and bite on each one. The 9" screen on the ice bundle was big enough for all to see. Outside the shelter we separated a bit more and had three holes 10 feet apart. Two people could see the action and it was easy to tell the other person what was happening. It is now easy to set a deadstick 10-30 feet away and know when a fish is eyeing it.

The real kicker was some time we spent exploring the deeper flats at Antero on the way back to the car. The 12-foot flats hold fish, but weeds are few and far between so no one fishes them. We would drill a hole and scan the area for weeds. It was easy to find individual clusters, mark the distance from the first hole, drill on top of them, and watch the fish come through. Often the fish were suspended. this would be really tough with traditional sonar and might be possible with a good camera, but not as easy.

The second shot is from Chatfield (9.7 foot depth). The dropoff is a roadbed and I have a deadstick at 0 and a lure at 15 feet away from the transducer. I was able to see trout use the top of the road and hit my deadstick while monitoring the walleyes that seemed to move up from the deeper edge by my lures. It is easy to see structure and the sonar does a surprisingly good job of seeing "over" a dropoff without shadowing.

For shallow water trout fishing, I still recommend a camera for clearly identifying weed types, color, and fish at times but the Panoptix is now my go-to sonar. I probably will not take my Vexilar trout fishing again.

For walleye, I recommend the Panoptix to scan the area for fish movement, but will still use my Vexilar to show the reaction of specific fish under my hole. Triggering walleye is not easy and while the Panoptix shows fish movement, sometimes you can learn more by the zoom and the quicker flasher system.

For lake trout jigging the Vexliar is still the king. Nothing is a fast and nothing shows fish reaction to jigging strokes. If fishing spawn sacs it is fun to use the Garmin Panoptix and watch multiple lines at once (third photo, 36.6 feet depth). It does have a zoom feature and we were able to track fish movement between baits over long distances (30-50 feet). I could sit at the unit and tell my friends and kids which rod had a fish near it. When the bobber or rod tip went down, they would set the hook.

Basically, the Panoptix LiveScope ice bundle is a real game changer for shallow water fishing in Colorado. It makes it easier to find and understand the weed structure at Antero while also watching fish move into the baits real-time.

 Reply by: ColoradoRay      Posted: Mar. 16, 7:09:45 PM     Points: 22936    
That is an excellent review pike d. Just out of curiosity, how much does that unit cost a guy?
And does it cause a lot of interference with a vex unit if you are running them both at the same time?
 Reply by: Doin a jig      Posted: Mar. 17, 10:45:24 AM     Points: 19    
Great write-up. I just switched from a Vexilar FLX-28 to a Marcum LX-7. That changed ice fishing for me as well. 15 years ago I was using salmon eggs on a full length rod propped up on a backpack with no Sonar. It's amazing how addictive this sport is.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: Mar. 17, 11:15:21 AM     Points: 5164    
High Tech "Ice Weirdos" you just have to love them!.

I've never used a sonar for trout fishing but I'm putting a Humminbird Helix 5 side scanner on my toon this Spring, I'll blame it on i2fly as I've seen his side scanner in action. Great write up, hope the soft water unit is that efficient.
 Reply by: PikeD      Posted: Mar. 18, 7:12:18 AM     Points: 1655    
The unit shave come down in price lately. They were originally in the $2800 range. If you have a Panoptix-capable Garmin system on your boat it can be rigged for the ice and visa-versa. The Ice bundle includes the black box and the transducer for the Panoptix LiveScope, a 9" Garmin EchoMap Plus 93SV sonar unit, and the bag and battery to run everything. It also includes the transducer holder that is a rotate-able pole rig. Make sure you focus on the Panoptix LiveScope as the older Panoptix is not what I have been using.

When the ice is out, the system can be mounted on your trolling motor for use in open water. In open water the system works best for panfish, but provides some very interesting details for other species as well. I have friends here in Kansas that use it to chase individual crappies around the lake and are able to present jigs to them even if the fish are suspended. Look at the YouTube videos by "Cleared Hot Fishing" and you will see the unit in action.

The key is that some electronics are not as useful as they seem and this is the opposite. The detail on where and why to fish somewhere rivals the underwater camera and has a larger range.