When winter comes and many bodies of water freeze over sealing the fish underneath the ice, it is time to go ice fishing for perch, walleye, trout, pike, crappie, sunfish, and bass. After confirming that the weather and ice thickness make it safe to venture out, you layer up for warmth and head out armed with the proper gear.
Once you reach your destination, discerning the perfect fishing spot to drill a hole becomes the challenge. This is where the best ice fishing fish finder comes in. With a reliable ice fishing flasher, it is easy to locate where the fish are. You can then drill a hole there and get fishing using your jigging rod or tip-up traps.
You don’t have to guess where the fish might be or waste time drilling a bunch of holes in the wrong spots only for your effort to go unrewarded simply because the fish aren’t around. An effective ice fishing fish finder is a must-have piece of equipment. It makes ice fishing so much easier and makes venturing out into the harsh conditions worth it.
To make it easy to find the right ice fish finder to take on your ice angling adventures easier, we looked at numerous fish finders, selected and reviewed the best ice fishing electronics that are very effective in finding fish suspended in the water beneath the ice and work well in the extremely cold and snowy conditions. Read on to find out what the best ice fishing flashers are.
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
How To Choose The Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder – Buying Guide
You will come across plenty of ice fishing flashers and figuring out which one to choose can be daunting. Picking the right fish finder for ice fishing requires careful consideration of some crucial factors in order to make a smart choice in terms of functionality and value. Here’s what to look for in order to choose the best ice fishing fish finder that will serve you best when out on the ice.
For convenience, you will want to carry your fish finder as you walk on the ice so you can discover new drilling spots. In addition to it having the essential features, the best ice fishing fish finder should be lightweight. It shouldn’t be so heavy that it weighs you down and ruins your balance on the ice.
The transducer is responsible for scanning the water beneath the ice and generating signals. Its beam angle is another important consideration to make when choosing an ice fish finder radar. The cone angle tells you how much the sonar beam spreads out when it travels through the water.
The angle affects the area size and water depth the transducer is able to scan and how much detail it is able to pick up underneath the ice. Small angles mean a narrow beam that is ideal when you’re targeting fish that are deep down in the water and want finer details. Larger angles are able to scan a wide area but without offering a lot of details.
It should be easy to read the display of your ice fishing fish finder whether it is bright and there’s glare or you’re fishing in low light conditions in the morning, evening or during gloomy winter days. A backlit display makes the information displayed on the screen clearly visible and enables you to distinguish between the objects underneath the snow no matter the conditions.
A compact and lightweight fish finder that you can carry easily in your pocket, in a carry case and hold in your hand comfortably is the best. Carrying heavy things while walking across the ice can drag you down and even cause you to lose your balance and fall. The battery should also be compact and light.
Portable ice fishing fish finders are the go-to for convenience when hopping from one hole to another. The downside is that the screen will be smaller and it can be harder to view the displayed information. Larger ice fishing electronics offer more features and functionality and are more accurate but will be larger and heavier making them cumbersome to lug around.
The best ice fishing electronics are well built to withstand the extreme cold conditions and transmit clean signals for a long time. The quality of the transducer that generates signals is a very important consideration as it affects both the quality of readings and the overall durability of the unit. A fish finder designed for use ice fishing will also offer more durability as it is equipped to be cold weather resistant and offer reliable performance even in icy cold conditions.
Wattage affects the clarity of readings and ice fishing flashers with higher wattage/power will deliver the best performance when detecting what is underneath the ice. More watts generate faster readings, while fewer watts mean slower readings.
Battery life is another important consideration. Choose a unit with sufficient battery life to last you for as long as you will be fishing. You can also have a backup battery just in case.
Simple fish finders do not require a great deal of battery power to run and have a compact battery. Larger units have more features but their battery life tends to be short.
In addition to the transducer’s beam angle, the area and depth an ice fishing fish finder will be able to cover will also depend on the frequency of the beam. Frequency refers to the number of pulses of energy that leave the transducer per second and travel to the bottom of the water body.
The higher the frequency, the more detail you get. You can be able to differentiate a single fish from a school of fish. High frequencies such as the typical 200-kHz are very effective in shallow depths. Low frequencies such as 50 or 83 kHz work well in deep waters and wider areas but don’t transmit a lot of detail.
There are single frequency as well as dual and multiple frequency fish finders that give you multiple frequency options so you can select the ideal frequency for the kind of coverage and details you want.
The number of pixels will determine the screen resolution and the quality of the information displayed. A bigger screen display with a high number of pixels offers the best visibility of even the tiniest details underneath the ice. Go for an ice fishing fish finder with a high-resolution screen to enjoy a crisp and clean display of information and image representations. With it, so you won’t find yourself struggling to figure out what it is you’re viewing.
The material the transducer is made of is an important consideration as it will affect the quality and durability of the unit. Plastic is a common material, as it is weatherproof and doesn’t absorb water. This is good in a unit that is to be used in extremely cold conditions. There are also transducers made from fiberglass, stainless steel, bronze, and even wood.
Q: What Are The Advantages Of Using A Fish Finder?
When ice fishing, the biggest challenge is not knowing where the fish are. There is just a vast expanse of snow-covered ground all around. If relying on chance, one can waste time drilling holes that don’t yield any catch. Using a fish finder allows the angler to enjoy a number of advantages as follows
Find Out Where the Fish Are
A fish finder gives the angler an advantage in being able to pinpoint where the fish are and therefore the best spot to drill a hole and toss a jig or set a trap with bait. This increases the chances of catching fish and saves ice anglers a lot of time.
See Underneath the Ice
Another advantage of using a fish finder is being able to see what is going on underneath the ice. Using an ice fishing fish finder, an angler can see the layout of the water, bottom structures, and the depth where the fish are.
Study the Fish
The angler is also able to observe how the fish behave below the surface and how they interact with the lure. The angler can try different jigging actions to attract fish.
Memorize the Best Spots
Most fish finders are able to store information on the best fishing spots making it easy to remember and locate the best fishing spots on subsequent trips.
Overall, using a fish finder makes ice fishing excursions easier, more successful and more enjoyable.
Q: Are All Fish Finders Waterproof?
All fish finders are not fully waterproof. Fish finders are used in and around water and it is inevitable that they will get splashed in water or even dunked fully. Water is an enemy to all electronics and fishing electronics are no exception.
To equip them to resist water damage, fish finders are designed to resist water intrusion and are equipped with water resistance up to some level of water pressure depth and for a specific time duration beyond which water will penetrate. For example, a fish finder rated IPX7 water resistant is waterproof at 1 meter (3 feet) or less for 30 minutes or less.
However, no fish finders are completely waterproof. They will be able to withstand splashes, rain showers, and the accidental dunk but are not equipped to withstand submersion in any depth or for prolonged periods. With most fish finders, the transmitter that’s meant to be exposed to water and ice will be waterproof but the receiver (the unit with the screen) will not be waterproof. Check your fish finder’s details page for information on its level of water resistance.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Regular and Ice Fish Finder?
The difference between a regular fish finder and an ice fish finder is that an ice fish finder is designed to work reliably in extremely cold conditions. They are made of materials that suit cold weather, use a color code system to display what is beneath the slow and use flasher technologies that work in the extreme cold. Most regular fish finders aren’t equipped for use in frigid temperatures. They have no protection against the snow and cold. Low temperatures will affect the performance of or damage regular fish electronics.
Globo Surf Overview
Even with its challenges, ice fishing is an age-old activity and a popular winter pastime. The challenge of the sport is what makes it so exciting. There’s also the peace of mind one has when out there. One of the challenges ice anglers face is knowing exactly where the fish are. You can drill holes and brave the frigid temperatures for hours only to go home empty-handed if you don’t know where the fish are and are relying on chance.
Luckily, technology has solved this problem and made ice fishing easier and more productive and enjoyable. With our reviews of the best ice fishing electronics and the buying guide, it should be easy to find the perfect ice fish finder to bring along on your ice fishing adventures. There’s an array of options to suit all budgets. All you have to do is look at what each has to offer so you can pick the one fish finder radar that suits you best.
Equipped with the best ice fishing fish finder, you can have more success catching fish and have more fun out on the ice. Remember to check the weather and ice thickness before venturing out and be careful out there always keeping in mind: “Thick and blue, tried and true. Thin and crispy, way too risky.”
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Which ice fishing finder in our list sounds perfectly suited to your needs? Do you have any experience with any of the ice fishing flashers we’ve reviewed here? Let us know in the comment box below