Garmin Echomap Ultra fish finder


In this fish finder review, we take a look at the GARMIN echoMAP Ultra 105 and 125 sonar units.

As followers of this blog will know, I’m a huge Garmin fan, although I have used Lowrance, Furuno and Humminbird in the past.

It doesn’t really matter what brand you prefer.

Far more important than the brand is that your unit and transducer is the right choice for the chosen application.

That’s why the Garmin echoMAP Ultra will be hard to beat in shallow waters.

I have already written about why Garmin’s UHD transducer is perfect for the creeks.

And I have looked at how the GT-51 transducer is perfect for finding small spots like Wonky Holes.

Likewise, the Garmin echoMAP Ultra, with all the tools you could ever hope to use, is a perfect unit for use in shallow water.

As you may know from experience, accurately determining what is under your boat from the sounder display can be difficult.

Because unless you use an underwater camera. Or have years of experience, it’s hard to “ground truth” what you are seeing.

Those that have done my Sounder Skills 2 online fishing course will know how important it is to cross-check using a number of tools and frequencies.



The Garmin echoMAP Ultra includes the best of all these worlds for use in shallow water.

The usual suspects are present.

  • Side-scan for finding tiny spots out to the side of your boat. BUT – the Garmin echoMAP Ultra has 1070 kHz GT56 UHD (or ultra high definition) side-scan built-in for up to 20 metres deep or 455 kHz for venturing a bit deeper.
  • Plus Traditional 2D CHIRP for assessing spots for fish in depths up to 60-70 metres.
  • And down scan to differentiate big fish among bait schools or to take really neat pictures of sharks!
Shark image taken on GARMIN 1222 with the attached black box UHD frequency. The 84 series and Ultra series run UHD built in with the GT 54 transducer.

Shark image taken on GARMIN 1222 with the attached black box UHD frequency. The 84 series and Ultra series run UHD built in with the GT 54 transducer (now superseded by the more powerful GT56).

And for the first time, the Garmin echoMAP Ultra also includes the capability for Live Scope!

Live scope is my new favourite toy and is an amazing tool to help work out fish behaviour.

It is also tops when the fish are not biting as you can see what they are up to in real-time.

Please note the Garmin Ultra is Livescope compatible meaning you will need to purchase the Livescope transducers separately.

You have two options.

  1. LVS12 which will plug straight in.
  2. LVS32 which needs the GLS10 black box.

I actually run the LVS32 as the black box stitches the image together and gives you a full 135 degrees of the picture from just behind the boat to all the way in front of you. That’s in forward view (what I use mostly).

The LVS12 only gives 30 degrees down and 30 degrees forward displayed on a split-screen. It is a lot cheaper and still a good little tool but if you have the cash the 32 is the go in my opinion.

We show you the LVS32 in action in the video a little further down this blog.

GT-54 High-Wide transducer (superseded by GT-56).

Garmin Echomap Ultra comes with the GT54 high wide transducer in the box.

Garmin Echomap Ultra comes with the GT54 high wide transducer in the box.

The Garmin echoMAP Ultra comes with the GT-56 high-wide transducer.

High frequency is great for seeing in between objects and gives great target separation.

However, it doesn’t have much punch.

So typically manufacturers use a sharper beam to push more power down.

But this means you don’t cover as much of the bottom.

Enter the Garmin echoMAP Ultra high-wide GT-56.

It offers a high frequency with a wider beam.

The GT56 is a slightly larger transducer than the GT54 as it’s elements now produce higher power.


High frequency helps see two objects as two objects

High frequency helps see two objects as two objects. Very important for seeing fish.

Garmin Echompa Ultra uses the GT-54 high wide transducer.

High-wide is great for shallow water. It covers more bottom with good target separation but sacrifices depth.

I explain the benefits of the Garmin echoMAP Ultra and take it for a test run in the video below. Please note: you cannot record the screen of the Ultra so we plugged the GT54 into another unit for the screen recordings. 


So there you have it.

Garmin echoMAP Ultra is a top little unit for shallow applications.

And by shallow I expect the unit will function well without driving the wheels off it for traditional to about 70 metres deep, UHD side scan to 20 metres deep, 455 kHz side scan to 50 metres deep, 800 kHz Clearvu down imaging to about 70 metres and 455 kHz Clearvu down imaging to about 100 m.

They will go much deeper but the best picture is gained when you are not at maximum depth.

Remember the goal is to determine what is down there accurately not just pick up the bottom.


Talk to an expert

For the first time ever we don't just use these units, we have partnered with Burdekin Communications to sell them!

So many people buy a sounder and don't know how to use it (or worse buy the wrong one). Hence we have have teamed up with the experts to make sure you get the right unit, the right transducer!

AND help you drive it to catch more fish.

Knowing what the buttons do won't help you catch more fish unless you know WHEN to do it and WHAT to look for.

CONTACT US before your next sounder purchase and talk to our expert Paul Benvenuti.

Sounder training

We provide comprehensive (step by step) training on the practical use of your sounder in our acclaimed online course Sounder Skills 2.

We remove all the technical jargon and show you simply how to catch more fish in less time using your marine electronics.

Sounder Skills 2

Or check out our teaching style for less than $20 with our introductory course Sounder Skills 1.

You can find links to all our courses and free training at our Ryan Moody Fishing shop.




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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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