Garmin electronics new Striker Vivid series with seven new high contrasting color palettes.
That’s the Wrong Color Palette
by Brad Wiegmann
Adjust your unit’s sensitivity.
How many times have you changed the color palette of your sonar unit to see the sonar image better? Most anglers have never changed their sonar unit’s color palette or even know there is a color palette setting. But by changing the color palette setting, anglers can enhance sonar returns and see the sonar screen better.
The options of color palettes depend on the brand of sonar unit you have on your boat. Garmin last year came out with Vivid Color Palettes for ClearVu, SideVu and LiveScope sonar. Lowrance and Humminbird have several color palettes available in all models. Most sonar units allow the angler to change the color palette for each panel/window.
Marine electronic companies set the default color palettes during research and development of a sonar unit. The engineers test color palettes in all scenarios, however, it’s impossible to preselect what might be best for where and when you are fishing.
Reasons to change the preset color palette include the amount of sunlight, bottom composition, cover, structure, sunglasses and eyesight. You can’t change eyesight; everyone sees colors differently, which explains why one palette looks good for one angler and not another angler. Sunglasses are similar to eyesight as polarized or colored glasses will affect how a screen is viewed.
Sunlight and glare off the screen can make viewing a sonar image impossible. Readjusting the position of the unit and changing the color palette to a brighter color will make viewing easier. On cloudy, overcast days or at night, use a middle-range color palette for best viewing.
Adjust Your Unit’s Sensitivity
On reservoirs or rivers with soft bottom composition, a unit’s sensitivity will have to be increased while a hard bottom turned down. The increase or decrease should be adjusted in 2D traditional sonar, side imaging, down imaging or live imaging sonar (LIS), in addition to selecting a brighter color palette like green or yellow. Adjusting the settings will help differentiate bottom hardness and return strengths of bottom composition, cover and structure.
Color palette selection for LIS is based on a black background, allowing anglers to see the smallest detail. Most anglers using Garmin LiveScope use the moss-colored palette, while Lowrance ActiveTarget and Humminbird MEGA Live prefer the amber-colored palette for seeing game fish, baitfish, cover and structure.
What color palette is best depends on a person’s personal preference. In general, the default setting should be changed according to the lake or river an angler is fishing and changed throughout the day if necessary for better viewing.
(Brad Wiegmann of Springdale, Arkansas is a professional photographer, videographer and outdoor writer published in dozens of print and electronic media outlets across the nation. He is also a well-known guide, podcaster and social media influencer. Learn more about Wiegmann and his lengthy experience and expertise at BradWiegmann.com.)