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Thread: river navigation

  1. #1
    Member winibezold's Avatar
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    Default river navigation

    ok, for all you river boaters, what kind of navigation electronics do you use? i have a lowrance chartplotter that uses navionics on the coast/ocean, but navionics doesn't seem to make anything for alaska's inland rivers. i'd really like to have something a little more than a map, but if it comes down to it usgs maps will be pinned to the dash by the wheel. thanks

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winibezold View Post
    ok, for all you river boaters, what kind of navigation electronics do you use? i have a lowrance chartplotter that uses navionics on the coast/ocean, but navionics doesn't seem to make anything for alaska's inland rivers. i'd really like to have something a little more than a map, but if it comes down to it usgs maps will be pinned to the dash by the wheel. thanks

    Like you, my dash-mounted Garmin doesn't offer much (or any) basemap for inland waterways, so I downloaded a topo from the internet and loaded it onto my Garmin handheld (60csx), and that works pretty well. I think this is the file I used:
    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/302/
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  3. #3
    Member winibezold's Avatar
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    so you use a normal handheld, like for hiking or hunting? is the screen large enough for on the go map checks or do you have to slow down to check your maps?

  4. #4

    Default Garmin

    I've used a Garmin topo map for years in all my Garmin gps's from a hand held 76c to a 276c. With the newer models you can switch between a blue chart for the salt water and the topo charts for the lakes and rivers in the same unit. I still would not trust the topo chart for river navigation unless I have already laid down a track to follow. They are still not spot on, you may be in the river driving your boat, but on land according to the map in a few places I have found. I may get a Montana model for ease of moving it from boat/car/plane/wheeler. Check out the Garmin display at the sportsman show they will have all the new product with super friendly guys to answer all your questions.

  5. #5
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I use a Garmin Montana 4 inch screen with the Plat and Alaska Topo maps loaded on it, that and my depth finder with fuel data.



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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    The small screen on the handheld is less than desirable. Most of my boating is in PWS and my older dash unit works just fine for that. I put the topo on the handheld to run the Yukon from Circle to Fort Yukon and back (I also ran the dash unit to establish a backup trackline for the return trip. While the handheld/topo was better than nothing, there were still times the basemap showed me running across land. You're not going to get any sort of depth information from the topos, not that it would matter with varying river levels. Obviously, you'd never want to trust the basemap only...in fact, at times I found the GPS distracting me from what I should have been doing -- reading the water.

    A good trackline, once you've established it with a modern GPS, is something to value, especially if you've established it at lower water levels. Not to trust entirely, of course. If you drop a few satellites while you're moving, your accuracy will be off but I value my tracklines more than the map.

    I run a prop, with less forgiveness in shallower waters than a jet...but it also warns me before I get into something shallow enough to really stick it ;-)
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    I use a Lowrance with inland Alaska waters loaded to it several years ago. It is "OK" for a general track line and river directions, but not Topo map quality like my handheld or blue water charts. It is easy to read quickly on the water and I can zoom in and out quickly as well as read MPH without looking down at my handheld. The handheld is much better technology and will get better coverage and has a better map, just much smaller to look at. I really don't use it for accurate river running, but it nice to have that track that you have set if it gets low viz.

  8. #8
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    I use a Garmin 188c but just got a 62stc and have been playing around with "basecamp" with birdseye satellite images. I have many tracks on the computer that I am combining to make default routes with. I might have to upgrade the 188c! There is a lot of info on the internet about getting free maps and software.
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