The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv Ice Bundle includes the ECHOMAP Plus 63cv unit that we’ve previously reviewed here. However, since it’s a bundle intended for ice fishing, it comes with an ice transducer and a portable kit. Nonetheless, the control unit has navigation capabilities such as charts and GPS, and in terms of sonar, it’s also ClearVü capable. For reference, this is the Garmin fish finder part number 010-01889-15. It’s also important to mention that the unit is preloaded with the US LakeVü HD, not the newer LakeVü g3.
Key Features and Specifications
- Display: 6.2″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, WVGA color, backlit
- Sonar: CHIRP Sonar, ClearVü capable
- Transducer: GT8HW-IF
- Frequency: 150-240 kHz
- Coverage: 24°-16°
- Max. Depth Capability: 800 ft (244 m)
- Power Output: 250 Watts (RMS)
- GPS: 5Hz, Internal
- Maps: U.S. LakeVü HD
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracklog: 100; 5,000; 50,000 points (50 saved tracks).
- Ice fishing kit included
Sonar and transducer
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv Ice Bundle includes the GT8HW-IF ice transducer. This is a classic drop-down transducer, featuring a conical, plastic head with 8 ft (2.4 m) of cable, a 4-pin connector, and a foam floater as a stabilizer. In case you’re wondering, this transducer does not have a temperature sensor, but the unit can show the temperature reading if you equip it with a temperature capable transducer.
The included GT8HW-IF is a High Wide CHIRP transducer; it operates at a frequency interval of 150-240 kHz and uses a conical beam with a variance between 24° and 16°. It offers a depth capability of 800 ft (244 m).
The unit itself is capable of multiple frequencies. It supports 50/77/83/200 kHz standard frequencies for its 2D sonar. It’s also ClearVü capable and supports 260/455/800 kHz frequencies. These being said, you can pair it with various ClearVü transducers, such as the CV20-TM, GT22HW-TM, or GT23M-TM. However, this Garmin fish finder does not support SideVü sonar or Panoptix sonar.
The unit offers an impressive range of standard sonar features. Evidently, since it’s an ice fishing bundle, it has the Circular Flasher sonar application. This shows the sonar information on a circular depth scale. The current depth is displayed in the center, but you can also have other readings on the flasher page, such as water temperature, clock, or battery voltage.
The segments that appear on the outer ring of the flasher indicate different strengths of the sonar return. The strongest signals such as the bottom, large rocks or structures appear as red lines, while the weaker signals such as small fish or your jig, appear as thin green lines. Just as for any ice fishing flasher, you will be able to see the movement of your jig in real time.
Since it’s a digital unit with an LCD display, it also offers the classic 2D sonar view, with the split-zoom option, as well as other functions such as Fish Symbols, A-Scope, Bottom Lock etc. It also has Sonar Recording and Sonar Rewind functions.
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv unit is preloaded with the U.S. LakeVü HD chart bundle. These cover the US inland waters including more than 17,000 lakes, with more than 13,000 of them featuring 1′ depth contours. This chart application offers a Depth Range Shading which allows you to color-code up to 10 depth ranges for a quick view. They also display various points of interest, campgrounds, highways and roads, or underwater features such as riverbeds, fish attractors, and potential hazards.
The Quickdraw Contours feature is also included with this unit. Quickdraw Contours uses the 2D sonar and GPS information allowing you to detect and draw on the map the depth contours of the lake you’re fishing on. Of course, this application is best used if the unit is mounted on a boat, and using a transom transducer.
Of course, the unit integrates a 5 Hz GPS receiver which can provide position fixes five times per second. It can use WAAS or EGNOS satellites for a more accurate position information. It also has a GPS speed function, which means it can calculate and display the speed of your boat or your vehicle.
The unit can save up to 5,000 waypoints, and 100 routes in its memory. It also has a trail recording function, allowing you to save 50,000 track points, and up to 50 tracks. Evidently, you can convert tracks into routes, add waypoints to them and retrace them.
The unit also supports AIS units and can display position data from DSC-capable VHF radio.
Other features and accessories
This Garmin unit features a 6.2″ diagonal, full-color, LCD display, with a pixel resolution of 800H x 480V. It has integrated adjustable LED backlight which delivers an excellent readability in direct sunlight or at night. It’s IPX7 waterproof, which essentially means it can survive incidental water exposure.
The unit’s interface is highly intuitive and user-friendly. It offers the possibility of creating various split-screen views, with up to three applications per view. It doesn’t have touchscreen technology though; its operation is exclusively done via the keypad on the right.
The unit has built-in Wi-Fi and is compatible with the ActiveCaptain app. Therefore, you can sync it with your smartphone or tablet in order to benefit from various features through the ActiveCaptain app. For example, you can update your unit’s software, register your device, get new maps, transfer Quickdraw Contours created maps into the Quickdraw Contours Community base or download maps from there, get smart notifications from your phone, and more.
In terms of networking, the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv has NMEA 0183 ports. It also has a microSD card slot which gives you the possibility to save data such as sonar history, waypoints, or upgrade your charts.
The portable kit for ice fishing includes a tilt-swivel mount, the carrying case, a 12V 7AH battery which should last for up to 12 hours or even more if using lower brightness settings, and a charger for the battery.
- CHIRP 2D sonar;
- ClearVü sonar capable;
- GT8HW-IF High Wide CHIRP ice transducer included;
- Supports multiple frequencies 50/77/83/200 kHz for 2D, and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü
- Sonar recording and rewind;
- Multiple standard sonar features such as Bottom Lock, Fish Symbols, Split-Zoom, A-Scope, Circular Flasher, Alarms, etc;
- Fast 5 Hz internal GPS;
- Preloaded with US LakeVü HD charts;
- Quickdraw Contours;
- Depth Range Shading;
- Supports AIS and DSC-capable VHF radio;
- User-friendly interface;
- Internal Wi-Fi;
- ActiveCaptain compatible;
- MicroSD card reader (1 slot);
- NMEA 0183 support;
- Carrying case included;
- Tilt-swivel mount included;
- 12V7AH battery included;
- Charger for the battery included;
- Easy to install.
- Does not support Navionics or C-MAP charts;
- The transducer does not have a temperature sensor.
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv Ice Bundle is an ice fishing pack which includes the Plus 63cv unit, the GT8HW-IF High Wide CHIRP ice transducer, the carrying case, a battery, and a battery charger. The unit itself is also ClearVü capable, is preloaded with the US LakeVü HD charts, has internal GPS, and built-in Wi-Fi. The unit can also be mounted on a boat and used with a compatible transom transducer from Airmar or Garmin. In all, it’s a versatile fishing kit great to have on the water.