Why You Need AEM – Anglers Edge Mapping

Introducing A Better Fishing Map

Every avid angler I know desires a better map. But if you’re like many weekend-warriors who got caught up in the hype of live-mapping thinking that you would be able to quickly create a high quality map of your home lake simply by going out fishing, and now realize it is not so easy….keep reading. If you suspected that user-mapping an entire lake would require significant time/gas (and likely props/skegs) to do properly, but now realize that additional software ($$$) and considerable initiative (time and ability) is going to be needed to merge all your live-mapping logs into a final high-quality hydrographic map…..keep reading. If you fish so many lakes and rivers that user-mapping is just not the ideal solution for your depth and contour maps….keep reading.

Anglers Edge Mapping

Angler’s Edge Mapping (AEM) is a small business based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Our business plan is simple: Provide the highest quality maps available for local lakes and rivers in both digital and print formats. AEM maps are designed with anglers and cottagers in mind. Quality over quantity, you get what you pay for.  Sounds cliché….but we mean it. We go out and conduct the time-consuming, gas-guzzling and prop-busting surveys required for quality depth maps of Canadian Shield lakes and rivers, and then undertake extensive post-processing using professional-grade GIS software to take things to the next level.  Finally, we use an intuitive colour palette in combination with major and minor contour lines to provide detailed, accurate and user-friendly contour maps that anglers can use to dramatically increase their efficiency on the water.

Digital compatibility

AEM is thrilled to offer digital fishing maps compatible with modern Lowrance, Simrad, and B&G sonars (Navico). We do not see much of the latter two brands in Canada, but the following Lowrance models are compatible:  HDS Gen1, Gen2, Gen2Touch, Gen3, Carbon, Elite, Hook and Elite-Ti (everything but “X” model variants, which lack GPS/mapping capability). AEM maps are not compatible with Humminbird or Garmin sonars. This is unlikely to change in the near future.  Essentially, Navico provides the software and hardware tools required for small companies like Anglers Edge Mapping to produce maps compatible with their units, while Humminbird and Garmin do not. So if you want to reap the benefits of running AEM digital maps, you need a modern Lowrance, Simrad or B&G sonar.


Above are 4 sample screenshots of our Falcon Lake digital map as seen on a Lowrance Elite 7 Ti at various zoom levels. To reduce screen clutter, minor contour labels (a new addition to AEM maps for 2017) are only revealed at high-zoom. (Click on the individual images to view at higher resolution)

AEM Digital catalog options

If you fish all over Manitoba and Northwest Ontario, the AEM 2017 Complete Catalog offers spot-on-the-spot quality hydrographic mapping for many entire lakes and large sections of others, for a fraction of what it would cost you in gas alone to user-map these (never mind props/skegs/lower-ends and what your time is worth). If you only fish the Whiteshell, Winnipeg River, Nopiming, or Northwest Ontario, and don’t want to pay for content you will not use, area-specific chips are also available. Our catalog has grown significantly over the past few years, and we also offer existing customers the option to upgrade their digital map chips for reasonable prices when we add more content. For example: If you purchased Whiteshell 2016 from Anglers Edge Mapping, you can upgrade to Whiteshell 2017. Or if later you decide you want coverage of other lakes, upgrading from an area-specific chip to our Complete Catalog 2017 is also an option.  Angler’s Edge Mapping digital chips are available at Pro-Am Tackle ( 1094 Nairn Ave., Winnipeg), The Fishin’ Hole (1522 Regent Ave, Winnipeg), Faloma Beach Marina (Falcon Lake), and from our website. Very soon, individual maps should once again be available for digital download from the Go-Free Shop, which is likely the most cost-efficient digital option for cottagers that never leave their home lake.


Angler's Edge Mapping 2017 coverage

Angler’s Edge Digital Mapping Complete 2017 Coverage Chart. (Click above image to view chart at higher resolution)

Large AEM Print Maps

AEM also produces large-format print maps, designed as functional wall-art for the cottage. The same detail and accuracy that characterizes our AEM digital maps is overlaid on aerial imagery to provide a spectacular contrast. AEM print maps really need to be seen to be appreciated. So check out Faloma Beach Marina (Falcon Lake) or Monart St. Vital (957 St. Mary’s).


Falcon Lake print map

AEM Falcon Lake Print Map. Measures 42″ by 20″ Block-Mounted On MDF Board. (Click Image to view At Higher Resolution)



About The Author: Craig McDougall is a fisheries biologist, tech-savvy angler, and President of Angler’s Edge Mapping.


Humminbird Sonar Settings – Understanding Arches


There is a big misconception of understanding out there about setting up your Humminbird Fish Finder unit and what it is capable of doing.

The thing that many anglers don’t realize is that there is a difference in sonar processing from one Fish Finder brand to the other. Some lean heavily towards processing that accentuates the arching effect – Both at the level that the sonar beam is measured and with post processing software.

Any unit can display arches. With the inherent shape of the sonar beam, along with the frequency, beam width and with sonar processing, you get your typical “arch” as the signal is reflected off a target.

The Arching Effect

Whereas some units accentuate the arching effect to display large sweeping arches – even on targets that are in fact not at all large or even a fish, the sonar processing can not distinguish the difference between various reflected targets – be it fish, bait, weeds, timber or even rock piles. It basically attempts to arch everything. So essentially an arch, is an arch… is an arch.
Even rocks will lose their detail as the sharp edges and drop offs are rounded off.

As anglers, one of the primary goals with sonar is to achieve the best detail. There is a reason why Humminbird does what it does and it’s a benefit that other systems don’t have.
Ultimately it’s about detail and Humminbird’s are capable of amazing detail. It’s why on 2D sonar while passing over say a brush pile, you can actually see the branches and often fish within those branches, as opposed to a stack of arches that could be mistaken for other forms of structure, bait or even fish.
Rocks and boulders are often mistaken for fish holding tight to the bottom as the sonar processing rounds off the edges and can render the appearance of bottom hugging fish. As I mentioned, it can’t determine the difference between various reflected targets.
The key is to have the most realistic, unaltered signal return so you can better interpret the underwater environment.
With Humminbird, this is exactly what it is capable of.

Where some suggest all you see is a “blob”, this is actually a truer reflection of the signal return related to the target profile, based on the unit settings.
That is a BIG advantage for anglers who know and understand this, as it relates to interpreting target “profiles”. By no means am I suggesting that these units are species specific, however I’m sure we can agree that a Smallmouth Bass for example would display a different signal return or profile than say a Walleye – One is typically shorter with a taller depth profile, while the other is skinnier relative to its length.
While fishing a mid-lake hump for Smallmouth Bass for example where these species are often mixed together, I’m looking for those “bean” shaped targets, whereas a Walleye would typically be a longer skinnier target. When you know what to look for, the difference is striking.
Having this type of information is invaluable on so many levels and many of Humminbird’s top pros understand this and use it to their advantage.

With all that said, Humminbird’s can absolutely display clear detailed arches. As I mentioned, many variables effect how arches are displayed, such as the relative position of the target under the sonar beam, frequency/width of the sonar beam, boat speed… etc, and the unit can be set up to display this more even typical as many are use to seeing.


Adjusting Beam setting

I’ll occasionally come across anglers who want to see more prominent arches and have a greater area of coverage on their Humminbird, yet have their sonar beam set to single 200 kHz with relatively low sensitivity. This is the narrow beam, which provides great detail, but for greater “fish coverage” and to also display a more prominent arching profile, you’d want to consider incorporating the wider 83 kHz (or 50 kHz) transducer beam.
I typically have my unit set to 200/83, which provides the bottom detail of the narrow beam, as well as the fish coverage of the wide beam. This adjustment alone makes a big difference from the default single 200 kHz beam setting.

The SwitchFire Feature

Another exclusive feature to Humminbird is SwitchFire.
Although many would envision a typical sonar beam to be like a conical flashlight beam, in reality the beam actually has outer “lobes”. Although these lobes account for some useful information, this is also where much of the signal interference and clutter exists. Ever notice on some units where there is a great deal of clutter well into the water column? The main way to attempt to reduce this is to decrease surface clutter and sensitivity – But when you decrease sensitivity as a whole, targets begin to disappear… Not what you typically want.
SwitchFire filters these outer lobes, focusing on the core element of the beam creating a much cleaner signal.
I most often have my unit set to SwitchFire Clear Mode. I then bump the sensitivity up to 12 or 13, depending conditions… and I don’t much change it from there.
In some situations however, you might want your settings on SwitchFire Max Mode. Be sure to adjust the sensitivity accordingly. This unfiltered raw mode also further accentuates the “arches” for those who desire it.
Either mode has its benefits, but the great thing is that the user has a choice to suit conditions and/or their preference… and this is something you just don’t get on other systems.

The notion that Humminbird’s don’t display arches is flat out not correct. You can certainly dial in your unit as preferred and refine the signal much further. The reality is that there is a lot you can do with a Humminbird that other systems simply can’t do.

AutoChart Live

Add to that Humminbirds’ AutoChart Live, which on to itself is one of the greatest advancements in recent times. To be able to pull up to a spot and map out an area or entire lake with the simple press of a button, without any conversion or uploading – Live in Real Time, is truly remarkable. As someone who has used it extensively, it is by far one of the most useful tools at my disposal.
Further incorporating AutoChart Live’s exclusive features and networking, and you soon realize how powerful a tool it is on any body of water – mapped or not.
For those who want to catalogue/backup and share mapping, the data files can easily be shared to other ZeroLine cards or saved in a folder on your computer for further backup (which I recommend).
AutoChart Live is a technology that is now further within reach to more anglers.

As far as arches go, if it’s simply about arches, then any unit will do. Humminbird displays arches in great detail, but is also capable of so much more.

Click here to read more about this subject in the forums.


About The Author

Darrin Darin B is an enthusiastic angler and Sales Representative for Humminbird, Minn Kota, and St. Croix Fishing Rods.


Jig Designs – Jigging for Walleye


When you’re targeting walleye, there are many different hooks, lures, and baits to choose from.  From fancy crankbaits with photo-realistic patterns, to simple “hook, line and sinker” rigs. There is no doubt you can hook good numbers of walleye with any of those lures.  But in this article for Canadian Fishing Forum, I will be writing about what I consider the most versatile of all choices. The good ol’ Jig!

There are many different styles of jigs. There’s Round heads, Walleye heads, swim-jig styles, Darter heads, Knuckle-ball jigs, etc. The list goes on and on. They are all unique. For the most part they all can be used in a vertical presentation, or a horizontal presentation. Some styles however are better suited for vertical jigging for walleye and bass then they are for casting. I’m going to talk about a few different styles of jigs, and how I like to use them.

The Basic Rule of Jigs

There is one basic rule of thumb when it comes to jigs. For the most part, you are going to want to use as light of a jig as possible to maintain good bottom contact and stay as vertical as possible. For me, it goes like this: 1’-10’ of water 1/16oz-1/8oz, 10’-20’ 1/8oz-1/4oz, 20’-30’ 1/4oz-5/8oz. This is for “still” water, as soon as you get into current situations like the Red River and/or the Winnipeg River, you are going to need to up the weight of the jig to stay vertical. In medium to high current situations, using a ½ or 5/8 ounce jig per 10’ of water is not uncommon.

The reason to stay as light as possible is simple, you don’t want the fish to feel the weight of the jig whenever possible. If you’ve ever seen underwater footage of Bass or Walleye “inhaling” a bait you will understand why you want to stay light! It is truly amazing how fast fish will spit the hook if there’s to much weight.

There are of course, exceptions to every rule, and I’ll touch on those in another write up!

One other thing I will touch on throughout this article is hook style and size, but I will keep that specific to the few jig head styles I will talk about.


The Round Head Jig

The Round head jig is most common jig style most anglers use. And for good reasons! It is very versatile. You can cast it, drag it, vertical jig it, and rip it. It is a do-all type of jig. Generally the Round Head jigs are almost always tipped with live or artificial baits and are a staple of walleye fishermen all over North America. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/64 oz and up. For the majority of anglers who will be reading this, we’ll focus on 1/8-5/8 oz.

round head jig

If you were to open up the jig box of most Canadian anglers, you most likely going to find an assortment of 1/8-5/8 oz Round Head jigs in a variety of different colors. There is a few reasons for this, first off, they are relatively inexpensive. Secondly, they work under a variety of conditions year round.

Round heads are great for fishing live or dead bait as well as artificial baits. They come in many different hook styles and sizes to suit almost every presentation. Northlands Fire-ball jig comes with a short shank, ideal for nose hooking minnows and leeches, and most have the option of adding a stinger hook or spinner blade by way of a second eye on the back of the jig. The Greenback Slammer jigs have a long shank 3X super strong hook. These are ideal for hooking large frozen shiners and larger live minnows, as well as being useful for fishing larger swimbaits. Lip Ripper Tackle Round Head jigs use either an Eagle claw Sickle style hook or a mustad 2X super strong hook. The sickles are great for fishing live bait and smaller artificial baits like power minnows and grubs. While the 2X are great for larger plastics and live or dead bait.


The Walleye Head Jig

The Walleye Head jig features a tapered minnow-like head. This jig is becoming more popular with Canadian walleye and bass anglers over the last few years.  It’s great for both vertical jigging and casting. It’s one of the best performing jigs for rip jigging plastics! Because of the tapered design it sometimes lets you get away with a little less weight than the standard Round Head type jig in current situations. Recently at an event on the Red River, I was able to fish a ½ oz Lip Ripper Tackle Walleye Head jig vertical in the current, while my partner who was using a ½ oz Lip Ripper Tackle Round Head jig was having some difficulty staying vertical in the same current. For me was a learning experience I’m now passing on to you the reader.

Walleye head jig

Personally I love this style of jig for rip jigging plastics. They have a faster fall rate than Round Head jigs, which is something I look for in a ripping jig. However, this is a situation where I tend to fish a little heavier than needed. I’ll fish 3/8-1/2 oz in 10’ of water. I want to be able to fish fast, and I’m not looking for subtle bites. 99% of the time when rip jigging you set the hook on the next rip up. The Lip Ripper Tackle Walleye Heads with the 2X Mustad hooks are ideal for this style of fishing. You get rock solid hooksets. and you can put extra horsepower on the fish if you are fishing heavy cover for bass or walleye without worrying about bent or broken hooks!

The Walleye Head jig makes a great live bait jig as well, I like to use them when drifting or dragging jigs, they tend to snag a little less than a round head jig, and seem to pop out easier when snagged at times too!


The Stand-up Head Jig

Another Canadian staple is the Stand-up Head jig.  These are a great choice for Canadian Walleye and Bass anglers alike. One of the most common ones is Fin-Tech’s Knuckleball Jig. They are available in weights ranging from 1/16-3/8 oz in the original series. They have a unique design and hook style making them versatile for Bass and Walleye fishing in open areas as well as in cover. The unique bend allows weedless rigging of plastics with ease!

standup head jig

I like Knuckleball jigs for dead sticking large live minnows on the bottom. I almost always use a 3/8 oz size. I like to keep a big live minnow pinned in one spot. If nose-hooked’ the minnow struggles to try to move the jig. Because of the design of the jig head, the hook rides at about a 45 degree angle to the bottom. This design is great for easy hookups when big walleye or Bass attack the minnow on the bottom!

Several other companies make stand up style jigs, such as Northland Tackles Stand Up fireball jig. Savage Gear makes a unique stand up jig aimed towards Bass anglers, but it looks like it could be used for the tactic I described above as well!


The Swimbait Head Jig

One of my favorite ways to fish bass and walleye is on big swimbaits. These big soft plastic baits require specialized jigs to provide the right balance and hooking abilities. While swimbait heads are offered in sizes down to ¼ oz, most guys are using 1/2-1 oz sizes with 5/0-7/0 super strong hooks. Owner makes the most popular swimbait head, using the 3X super strong saltwater jig hook in a bullet nose design. Big Hammer makes a Hammer Head jig to complement their Big Hammer swimbaits. Strike King makes a Squadron head in 1/8-1 oz sizes as well.

swimbait head jig

Picking the right head for the swimbait can be tricky. Trying to rig a 6” big hammer on a standard 3/8 round head is almost an effort in futility. But skewer that same 6” bait on a hammer head  or bullethead jig with a 6/0 or bigger hook, you are in for some great fun catching Walleye, bass, pike and of course lake trout!


The jig can be the most versatile tool in your box! Take the time to ‘get away from the norm’ with them. Think outside the box and you’ll put more fish in the livewell and in your photo album! Good luck and tight lines!


About The Author

WalleyePatty is an avid fisherman who also owns Lip Ripper Tackle. For more info on Jigs and jig styles, visit his profile in the forum.

Pike Fishing in Manitoba

Fishing for Northern Pike on the Winnipeg River South of Minaki.

Geenback Walleye on The Red River in Manitoba

It is the middle of the ice fishing season and Aaron Wiebe targets mid-column greenback Walleye on the Red River near Selkirk, Manitoba. He uses rattlebaits and electronics to capitalize on this suspended bite for huge fish.