By Fred Uhrich

Fish finders improve ice fishing catches


Electronics for ice fishing, such as sonar and underwater cameras have really advanced the sport.

Fish finders come in price ranges from “ouch” but I want one, to “Holy Cow!” The ones with all the bells and whistles not only have sonar, but also a camera and GPS and add an underwater lake map SD card to the GPS. Now you are on par with everything you would want on a trolling boat.

Sonar’s generally come in three types, flasher, digital vertical, and graph. I purchased my first sonar 16-17 years ago for ice fishing. It was a side finder fishing buddy. It did help increase my catches a little, but the big help was showing me how deep the water was. I used that until I bought my first flasher four years ago.

I was fishing with a friend and he was using his flasher. Not only was he catching more fish than me, he was moving from hole to hole. What we did was nothing out of the ordinary; we picked our spot to fish and drilled six holes apiece. I used my fishing buddy at the first hole to tell me how deep the water was and spin it around to see if there were any fish in the area. In a straight line I had the first hole for jigging with the graph shooting straight in line with the other holes. The next one I set up a dead stick, and then 4 tip-ups. What he did was set up one dead stick, and started jigging in one hole with his flasher, if nothing, he moved on to the next. I just could not believe how many fish he was catching and releasing. So I asked him to show me how he was doing it. I was amazed that his flasher was not only showing the fish, and his tiny jig, but also the little inline swivel he had tied ten inches above his jig. The next payday, not only did I buy a flasher, I got an underwater camera too.

The flasher helped turn my fishing into catching. It also helped me learn more about looking for structure and fish movement in relation to how they feed. The underwater camera is a big help in finding out what the bottom really looked like, such as smooth, gravel, or rocky bottom. When setup in another hole about three feet away, it shows how fish react to your lure.

Their reaction to the lure can show you if it is too big or wrong color, but also if your jigging technique is too aggressive or passive.

Of course an underwater camera is only as good as the clarity of the water.

So give electronics a try and above all, have fun.


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