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Find and Catch More Walleyes With Modern Sonar

Mille Lacs Lake fishing guide Brad Hawthorne of Hawthorne’s Guide Service shares his process for breaking down water to find prime walleye fishing spots using today’s sonar technologies. For Hawthorne, fish finders are not just tools but his secret weapon, helping him relate prime structure and cover to fish. Once you understand the right habitat, it becomes easier to establish a pattern and stay on the fish.


Hawthorne explains how to employ side imaging to map habitat and fish off to your sides. Unlike down-looking sonar (2D and down imaging), side imaging can cover a much broader swath of the water column. But like any imaging technology, successful use requires practice to understand and interpret what you see. What might appear as mere pebbles on the screen are often significant underwater features, like boulders, that can dictate the presence of fish. By comparing these readings to known objects, anglers can better understand the scale displayed on their devices.


The focus shifts to recognizing prime walleye habitats, from sandy bottoms transitioning into cobble areas and massive boulders. Hawthorne shares insights on the importance of these transition zones, where walleye often gather, and how to identify actual fish in your side imaging readout. The video details locating such spots and when to take to the bow and start fishing.


Transitioning from sonar tips to practical fishing tactics, Hawthorne discusses his approach to lure selection based on the day’s conditions. A jig and minnow presentation is tough to beat in the walleye world. He shares jig color preferences based on the conditions. Hawthorne then starts pitching his jig to individual and pods of fish on forward-facing sonar. The fish’s response to his presentation drives informed lure changes when dealing with discerning walleyes.

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