What is CHIRP on a Fish Finder

A CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse) is a signal used in sonars, radars, and lasers among others. Fishfinders use sonar to detect fish and other objects underwater. Sonar is a device based on the principles of sound propagation. It is an integral part of a fish finder.

Traditional fish finders have used 2D sonars for a long time. These sonars have higher power but only last for a short duration. This feature limits its feasibility in deep waters by a significant amount. Have you heard the term CHIRP but wondered about what it meant? Don’t worry; we answer all your queries about what is CHIRP on a fish finder.

The CHIRP technology-induced sonars on a fish finder is a relatively new development. The CHIRP sonar technology was initially developed for military purposes. These sonars provide increased functionality and accuracy. The traditional sonar uses a single frequency of a short period, whereas the CHIRP sonar uses varying frequencies for a longer time.

The CHIRP sonar puts more energy into the water to produce broadband frequency up to 117 kHz. CHIRP technology in fish finders uses long-duration pulses instead of short pulses. They also modulate and use multiple frequencies. This feature provides higher resolution and noise-free images at great depths.

CHIRP sonar works for both shallow waters and marine waters. However, for the shallow waters with depth up to 300 ft, smaller and less powerful CHIRP units suit best. These CHIRP technology has been open for commercial fish finding purpose only in recent years. Lowrance, Humminbird, and Garmin are some of the most popular fishfinder manufacturers with CHIRP sonar technology.

How does a CHIRP fishfinder work?

Traditional 2D sonars use a single select frequency. The CHIRP sonar uses an extensive range of varying frequencies. In CHIRP fish finders, the transducer vibrates at a low frequency. The lower frequency makes the transducer to modulate in higher pulses.

Generally, the higher pulses are ten times the duration of the pulse. The energy transmitted in the water is 10 to 60 times the traditional sonar. The unique pulse compression and pattern correlation feature make it shine brightly. The CHIRP can compute the raw data into definitive information.

The CHIRP sonar can compress and transform a high-frequency pulse into low-frequency pulses of multiple ranges. This feature of a CHIRP sonar increase resolution and improves the signal to noise ratio. The CHIRP sonar delivers almost photographic images. They also provide exceptional target separation and decreases water column clutter.

You might also like: Fishfinders under $200

High CHIRP vs. Medium CHIRP


High CHIRP frequencies (150-240khz) helps to lure, identify, and track down baitfish and gamefish. They are best suited for freshwater and inland depths less than 600 feet.

Medium CHIRP

The medium CHIRP has a range of (80-160khz). They are excellent in scanning extensive areas and showing massive fish arches. However, the detailed information provided is less compared to high CHIRP.

Advantages of a CHIRP sonar

1. Provides a clear representation of water bodies

The display of the bait in the water is exceptional compared to that of a traditional sonar. CHIRP sonar provides distinct target separation. This trait also enables you to differentiate well between the bait and the weight while drop shotting.

2. Facility to categorize fish

CHIRP sonar on a fish finder provides you a better image clarity that allows anglers to classify and categorize fish. This feature helps a lot to commercial fishers who like to separate and organize terror fish for selling purpose.

3. Extensive view

The CHIRP sonar uses multiple frequencies for a long duration of time. This characteristic helps an angler to have a clear picture of the underwater environment. The anglers can also learn how gamefish relate to baitfish. It gets pretty difficult to separate the bass and stripers with the baitfish underwater.

4. Reduces noise in the final image

Another essential feature of CHIRP is that it reduces noise to a greater extent. Traditional fish finders use high single-frequency sonar. The display features a lot of noise on the screen.

The noise comes along with the images, and any attempt to reduce noise also reduces essential targets. The CHIRP sonar address this problem by showing filtered target images through crisp and noise reduced display.

5. Depth capability

The CHIRP sonar is better than the traditional sonar at any given standard depths. At higher depths, the CHIRP sonar performs way better. CHIRP sonar uses a long pulse duration. They also modulate and use multiple frequencies. This feature provides higher resolution and noise-free images at great depths.


CHIRP fishfinders provide almost photographic sonar images of the environment underneath your boat. The bright display of the fish and other objects is miles ahead of the traditional and down scan sonar.

Both traditional sonar and down scan sonar provide exceptional services to anglers. However, the CHIRP sonar is a significant upgrade from traditional sonars. They come packed with features like superb target separation, noise reduction, high-resolution display. The CHIRP sonar is worth all the hype.