What is CHIRP on a fish finder? CHIRP – or “Chirp” as it is sometimes called, is the acronym for Channelized High-Resolution Passive sonar. It is one of the most important new technologies in marine electronics and has been around since the early 1990s. The technology was developed by Dr. John Kiely at the University of Maine who received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under Professor Robert M. Whitehead. CHIRP uses an array of hydrophones to detect sound waves that are reflected off objects underwater. A technique like this lets you see what’s beneath the surface without diving into murky waters.

CHIRP can be used with any type of fishing equipment including:

  • Fishing rods
  • Reels
  • Fishing lines
  • Hooks
  • Lures
  • Rod holders
  • Line holders
  • Casting nets
  • Fishing jigs
  • Jigging hooks

How Does CHIRP Work?

CHIRP’s basic principle is very simple. It involves passing a small amount of electrical current through a wire, thereby creating a magnetic field that interacts with the earth’s magnetic field, causing the earth’s magnetic field to change. Sensors like magnetometers are used to detect changes in earth’s magnetic fields. If anything is nearby that causes these changes, the sensor will be able to detect them.

The sensor sends out pulses of electricity which travel through the water. Pulses encounter particles suspended in water as they travel through it. Some of these particles reflect the pulse back towards the sensor. By measuring how long it takes for the pulse to return to the sensor, we can determine where the object is located.
This process is repeated thousands of times per second allowing us to create a picture of what is below the surface.

Why Use CHIRP?

CHIRP is a great tool for detecting fish and other aquatic life. It provides accurate depth information so you know exactly where your bait is located. You also get a clear image of what is below the water’s surface.

CHIRP is especially useful when using lures because it helps you locate the lure before you cast. With CHIRP, you can tell if you have hooked a big bass or just a little minnow.

CHIRP is also very helpful when casting for trout. Trout are often found near the bottom of lakes and ponds. They like to hide in weeds and brush piles. CHIRP makes it easy to find them.

CHIRP works best in calm waters. In choppy seas, the signal may not be strong enough to pick up the fish. However, even in rough conditions, CHIRP still gives you a good idea of what is beneath the surface.

How Do I Install CHIRP?

It is simple to connect CHIRP to the boat’s power source by removing the battery cover, connecting the power cable to the positive terminal, and connecting the ground cable to the negative terminal.

Visit our How To Guide to learn more about installing CHIRP.

Can I Use CHIRP While Fishing?

Yes! CHIRP is designed to work while you are fishing. It does not interfere with your line or rod.

Do I Need to Turn On CHIRP Before Casting?

No. Once you turn on CHIRP, it will automatically start scanning the area around your boat. You do not need to manually activate the system.

Is There Any Way to Adjust CHIRP Settings?

Yes. You can adjust the sensitivity level of CHIRP.

If you are fishing in a lake, you might set the sensitivity too high. If you are fishing in a pond, you might set the sensitivity too low. For example, if you are fishing in a lake, you might set the sensitivity too high.

In addition, the range of CHIRP can be adjusted. When it is set to wide, the device is able to detect objects from a much greater distance. When it is set to narrow, however, the detection zone is only a few feet wide.

How Long Does CHIRP Last?

CHIRP has an average battery life of 3 hours. That means that after three hours, the batteries will no longer provide enough power to operate the unit. We recommend replacing the batteries at least once every two weeks.

How Much Power Will CHIRP Consume?

The amount of power CHIRP uses depends on several factors including:

  • Sensitivity level (high/low)
  • Range (wide/narrow)
  • Water clarity (clear/cloudy)
  • Number of fish being detected
  • Whether the fish are moving (yes/no)
  • When you first turn on CHIRP you will see how much power it consumes. The display will show the current consumption rate as well as the remaining battery capacity.

Will CHIRP Work During Rainstorms?

Yes. CHIRP is waterproof and will continue working during rain storms.

How Can I Charge CHIRP?

You can charge CHIRP by connecting it directly to a 12-volt DC power supply. A standard car cigarette lighter adapter should work fine.

How Many Batteries Should I Buy?

We recommend buying 2 sets of AA batteries. One set should last approximately 3 hours.


The CHIRP is a great tool for detecting fish. It is lightweight and small so it won’t take up much space on your boat. It is also easy to install and does not require any special skills. You’re sure to find CHIRP useful whether you’re a novice fisherman or just trying to improve.

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