You’re getting ready to go ice fishing, and you need a GPS. Something about the serene cold of a frozen-over lake is so calming. Moreover, knowing that you can catch food even when it’s so chilly out, most people are afraid to leave the warmth of their homes is satisfying. Finding your fish doesn’t need to be a guessing game. In an emergency, it should never be a question of ‘if’ you can get your next meal. Hence an excellent fish finding GPS is essential for the fishermans’ survival equipment cache. I’ll show you some of the best and help you figure out which ice fishing GPS is best for you, so you don’t have to worry about feeding your family in winter when SHTF.
Why Every Ice Fisher Needs GPS
When you find the perfect hot hole spot, the last thing you want is to leave a large, noticeable marker so other ice anglers can take your hard work, so you need a GPS. However, good ice fishers’ GPS is more than a basic map. It has sonar or flash capabilities so that you can see the fish as well. When survival is on the line, you can’t afford to gamble.
Experienced ice anglers know that a standard GPS won’t cut it. Unfortunately, the car and walking varieties can be inaccurate, and many don’t allow you to record a trail you’re blazing in the wilderness. Moreover, getting an approximate location isn’t good enough when you need to catch fish for survival or get home again.
Winter is an ideal time to fish because virtually everything you can catch is still available during the cold season. Furthermore, some species are easier to reel in because the wintertime temps naturally slow them. That can be a life-changing benefit when SHTF in winter.
Ice Fishing Basics
If this is your first time going out ice fishing, then that GPS is especially essential. Winter landscapes can obscure your familiar view. Making it hard to spot the landmarks you’re used to is a problem. Even when you’re not in a survival situation, getting lost is bad news. Things can become an emergency very quickly if you’re not careful.
Make sure you take a partner when you head out. Ice fishing solo is a foolish choice. If anything happens, you might not be found until the snow melts. Speaking of snow and ice, make sure you have a minimum of six inches before you take an ATV out and double that depth for an ice shanty.
Additionally, always brush away any snow to make sure you have pristine ice. You don’t want to fish anywhere that is discolored or cracked. Holes, pressure ridges, or water flow are also signs of a potential problem. No matter how hungry you are, or how certain there are fish beneath you, living to eat them is the most crucial step.
If your GPS marked spot has changed noticeably, then you may need to move on to another place. What was once a perfect fishing location can become a danger. Hence taking an ice fishing GPS with flash or sonar capabilities can help you find a new place to catch lunch quickly.
Top Five Best GPS for Ice Fishing
When cold weather hits and the next melt seems like it’s ages away, quick meals are at a premium. Plus, wasting your energy out in the chill can be dangerous. With high-quality ice fishing GPS, you can get more food for your table faster. You’ll need plenty of equipment to stay warm and go ice fishing, but at least you’ll know where the fish are hiding.
Whether you live in Alaska, or things only freeze once a year, ice fishing is a seriously useful survival skill. Knowing where the fish are is a bonus that could save your life. Hopefully, you’ll never genuinely need to ice fish just to stay alive, but if you do, any of the GPS fish finders on this list will help you reach your goals.
1. Humminbird Ice Helix 7 Chirp GPS
When you’re looking for the best, most up to date ice fishing, then the Humminbird Ice Helix 7 Chirp GPS is the way to go. Not only is Humminbird known for its outstanding ice fishing equipment, but you’ll find this model is among the highest-quality available. You’ll love the suite of features and compatible programs.
Whether you use the traditional 2D sonar or 1024-segement flasher, you’ll be able to see everything in high resolution all the way to the bottom. Moreover, there’s clear target separation down to three-quarters of an inch means you won’t miss out on the little details as you lure in your catch. Better still, you can adjust the sonar zoom to see precisely what you need, where you need it most.
The split-screen view makes everything easier. Plus, AutoChart Live Ice and Jig Charge Mode are perfect for ice anglers like you. Additionally, you’ll find the Humminbird Ice Helix 7 Chirp GPS is compatible with Navionics and Lakemaster maps to facilitate faster, more accurate fishing.
Learn all about the Ice Helix 7 by clicking here.
2. Garmin Echomap Plus 73cv
Any list with GPS on it is bound to have a Garmin product on it. It’s the most trusted, and internationally known brand. The Echomap Plus 73cv is no exception, living up to the Garmin name with over seventeen thousand lakes already included. The ice fishing bundle comes pre-loaded with LakeView maps so you’ll have the fish you need to survive any calamity.
One of the most helpful extras on this model is the carrying case. It may not seem very important when you’re working with warm, dry hands in the store, but out on the lake, with gloves on, it matters that Garmin made the container glove-friendly. Moreover, it also comes with a foam float because the Garmin Echomap Plus 73cv was created with the needs of ice anglers in mind.
Get a Garmin delivered when you order here.
3. Humminbird Ice Helix 5 All Season
Our second Humminbird on the list is the Ice Helix All Season. Frankly, we could make a whole list with only Humminbird products for ice fishing. However, I wanted to offer you more variety to include other high-quality names. Hence only three of these superb machines made our top five list. That should tell you how good they are.
One of the most useful features of this model is the well thought out Jig Charge Mode. If you have glow painted spoons and jigs, which you should for ice fishing, you can charge them with your Humminbird Ice Helix 5 All Season. However, you’ll also love the AutoChart Live Ice and Hummingbird Base Maps for unobstructed views underwater and contour mapping your favorite spots.
Finally, you will also appreciate the versatility of the Humminbird Ice Helix 5 All Season as it takes you from winter ice angling to summers on the boat with no trouble. Regardless of the season, use the micro SD card reader to capture some of your favorite screenshots and waypoints quickly and efficiently to look at later.
Pick out your new Humminbird here.
4. Lowrance HOOK2 5X
The self-proclaimed “Worlds’ easiest fishfinder,” Lowrance HOOK2 5X from Walmart, is worthy of any list of GPS fishfinders. Using simple and intuitive menus, you’ll be able to find what you need and use all the features quickly. Skip the muss and fuss of more complicated systems with this ingenious model.
An amazingly easy to use GPS plotter combines with the SplitShot Transducer on the Lowrance HOOK2 5X. You’ll get you where you need to go and find all the fish in the area once you’re there. Plus, at a mere five pounds, the HOOK2 won’t weigh you down on the move.
Check out the Walmart reviews right here.
5. Humminbird Helix 5 G2 Chirp GPS
Ending the list just as we began it with another outstanding Humminbird from Walmart. The Humminbird Helix 5 G2 Chirp GPS, (not to be mistaken for its all-weather companion with a similar name) is a top of the line fishing GPS with some unique features like Broadband Dual Beam PLUS Chirp Sonar with low, mid and high settings which you can use individually or all together.
The internal GPS antenna helps keep you on track. Plus, upgradable software means you can stay on the cutting edge in the future too. As long as there are programmers still making compatible software, you’ll be fishing with top-of-the-line tech even after TEOTWAWKI.
To find out more about the features, get your Humminbird here.
No matter how sneaky they get, no fish can escape sonar. With the right ice fishing GPS, you can see below the surface, which helps you target what you need. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as eating a meal that you caught yourself with cunning and the right equipment.
Intriguingly, eating fish provides a nutritional benefit that can be hard to find. Omega-three fatty acids help your brain function better, which means you are more likely to be on top of your game when it matters most. Keep your pantry stocked with healthy omega-three fatty acids from fish.
There are a million ways to eat fish, but only one way to get them from a frozen pond. Expanding your survival chances with a GPS for ice fishing is a smart move.