Can You Use A Regular Fish Finder For Ice Fishing?
Ice fishing season is almost upon us – by the time you’re reading this, it may already be here! You’ve got a perfectly good fish finder on your boat for warm weather fishing, and it would be a shame to have to buy another fish finder just to go ice fishing.
That’s probably why you’re reading this. We have good news for you – you can absolutely use a regular fish finder for ice fishing! You will, however, need to make some adjustments to your setup.
Keeping your fish finder nice and cozy
Cold temperatures and fancy electronics don’t always mix well. The same goes for snow and ice on screens. In order to protect your fish finder, you’ll want a carrying case for it. After all, you won’t have a boat to mount your fish finder to.
You can make your own fish finder carrying case – we anglers are an enterprising bunch, after all, and there are plenty of guides online to help you make secure cases for fish finders of all sizes.
Those of you who aren’t in the mood for an arts and craft project can still use your regular fish finders for ice fishing. Most of the big manufacturers, like Lowrance and Humminbird, have cases specifically designed for ice fish finding. And you can use cases designed by MarCum and Vexilar – just check the dimensions to make sure they’ll work with your fish finder.
Supplying power to your fish finder
Normally, your fish finder will be connected to your boat’s power. Given that you won’t have your boat with you when you go ice fishing, you’ll need another power source.
That power source should, in almost all cases, be a battery. More specifically, you should opt for a lithium battery, since they tend to hold a charge better in sub-zero temperatures. On that note, you’ll want to keep your battery warm so that it can maintain its charge for longer. When you’re buying or creating a carrying case for your fish finder, be sure that there’s enough space in it for your battery, too.
Getting the right transducer
Dismounting your fish finder from your boat is simple enough, but removing the transducer from your boat each winter can be quite a chore.
There are also differences between ice fish finder transducers (known as iceducers) and regular transducers. Iceducers are self-levelling, while if you want to get a proper readout from a normal transducer, you’ll have to build a mechanism in order to keep your transducer level.
For these reasons, we highly recommend simply buying an iceducer for your regular fish finder. Just be sure to check compatibility – if you find that no iceducers are compatible with your fish finder, you’ll have to build a levelling mechanism yourself.
It’s a matter of preference
If you’re willing to put in the effort, and you already have a fish finder, you can save money by following the tips above to modify your setup for ice fishing.
That said, ice fish finders are designed for ice fishing – their manufacturers will tout that they’re more durable in cold weather environments. What’s more, they need no modifications for ice fishing – you can use them out of the box.
If you’re looking for an ice fish finder this season, you can find more info here on our favorite ice fish finders.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Happy fishing!