Which fish finders for ice fishing are the best?
It’s important to learn how to use a fish finder correctly, especially if you want to be successful on your winter fishing trip. Fish finders are affordable and widely available, and ice anglers can use these devices to catch all kinds of fish, including perch, bass, panfish, walleye, and trout. The Garmin Striker 5CV fish finder is a stellar fish finder for ice fishing that will benefit both amateur and experienced anglers.
What to know before buying a fish finder for ice fishing
What is a fish finder?
A fish finder is a device that uses a sonar ping to create a real-time image of the lake or river bottom below your boat. It uses a hull-mounted transducer to send sound waves which then bounce off objects to create a detailed image of the area below your boat. This view allows you to see the natural characteristics of fish in the water, as well as individual fish and schools of fish.
If your tool comes with a depth finder, you can see how deep those features and fish are. The finder will also note the water temperature.
How to use
Modern fish finders do an excellent job of interpreting the various signals from the transducers. However, you need to learn how to use the device to get the best results. You also need to know which signals the transducer may confuse with other things. For example, your device may mistakenly read several underwater plants as a school of fish. This is why it is important that you know the area where you are ice fishing relatively well.
Bring a charger
Consider bringing a portable pack with charging accessories, as small fish finders tend to drain battery power quickly.
What to Look for in a Quality Ice Fishing Fish Finder
The transducer acts like the eyes and ears of a fish finder. It’s like an underwater sonar, which pings and listens for an echo. The most common place to mount a transducer is on the back of the boat. You must place it on a transom, through or through.
The transom is a flat section outside the hull. It is easy to place the transducer on this part of the boat, but it increases the likelihood of interference from the movement of the boat.
You can also glue the transducer inside the hull, called in-hull or shoot-through. You should only attempt this with fiberglass hulls as it is difficult to get an accurate reading with this setup on foam, aluminum or wood hulls.
Finally, you can mount the transducer by drilling a hole in the bottom of the hull, also known as a through-hull. While the through-hull offers accurate readings of the water below the boat, there will be a permanent hole in the hull.
Modern fish finders have color displays with color coded data, making it easy to determine what is under the boat. It will identify individual fish, schools of fish, clear water, and contours of the seabed or lake. The display can also give you additional information including boat speed, water depth, water temperature and time.
High-quality fish finders incorporate GPS to locate the boat’s position relative to other navigational points, such as docks or the shore.
How much you can expect to spend on an ice fishing fish finder
Fish finders for ice fishing have a wide range of prices and cost between $99 and $699. Portable fish finders for ice fishing with smaller screens only cost around $99 to $179. Mid-range fish finders with 5-inch screens cost between $254 and $399. High-end fish finders with 7-9 inch screens typically cost between $499 and $699.
Ice Fishing Fish Finder FAQ
How do you improve your fish finder tracking?
A. If your ice fishing fish finder is not reporting good data, try increasing the transducer level. This technique will help you fine-tune the settings and give you a better picture of your surroundings even in poor conditions. There are three steps to optimizing your transducer. First, change the range of the fish finder to three times the actual water depth. Then increase the sensitivity until you can see a second bottom under the first bottom on the main screen. Finally, slowly decrease the sensitivity until you have a good reading on the first lower result. Return the stove to its original setting and see if your readings are better.
What does it mean when an ice fishing fish finder is overdue?
A. Your fish finder sends out a sonar ping, which takes some time to return to your boat. If your boat is moving too fast, you may overshoot the spot you just surveyed. You can also miss the fish near your boat if your screen scrolls too slowly. If something intriguing pops up on the far right of your screen, increase your screen scroll speed and slow the boat down to investigate.
What is the best fish finder for ice fishing to buy?
Best fish finder for ice fishing
Garmin Striker 5CV
What do you want to know: This fish finder has accessible controls and an excellent viewing screen. You can control everything with just a few buttons.
What you will love: It comes with a built-in flasher, which makes it perfect for ice fishing. It also has a large scanning area for improved resolution and multi-frequency sonar that detects different types of fish in the water.
What you should consider: The depth sensor in this product does not function properly at speeds above five miles per hour.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Best fish finder for ice fishing for the money
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder
What do you want to know: This affordable ice fishing fish finder comes with a transducer and many other useful features found in more expensive options.
What you will love: It has built-in sonar to update the data screen with more accurate information and simple hotspot navigation. The small and simple design is also easy to hold.
What you should consider: The connection cables supplied with this product are susceptible to disturbances and interference.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Garmin Striker Plus 7SV Fish Finder
What do you want to know: If you want a top-of-the-line fish finder, this one comes with plenty of useful features to make ice fishing easier.
What you will love: Built-in GPS allows for waypoint creation and water navigation to mark various locations. You can also develop and store maps with the fish finder’s specialized software and control the search through the phone app.
What you should consider: It does not include basic navigation functionality.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
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Alex Kilpatrick written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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