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Ice fishing Conversion for Fish Finders.
How to make a hard water conversion for the Garmin Striker 5dv
Question: How to use fish finders for ice fishing applications?
Answer: A little ingenuity and a few materials and you are ready for the hard water.
The Garmin Striker 5dv fish finder and the factory D20 transducer have been a great addition to my essential ice fishing gear. Make it fit into your arsenal with this kit.
This conversion kit was created with:
- motorcycle battery
- battery box
- cut 2x4 blocks (spacers so no battery shift)
- bolt and wing nut
- alligator clips for power to battery
- flag pole
There are so many variations of materials that can be used with this similar setup, this is one collection that has worked well for me and I thought I would share. Please share any configurations you have created in the comments so we can collaborate and create more interesting ways to use fish finders on the lake and spark our creative fishing minds. There is nothing better than having something creative to think about while waiting for the next tug of the line.
STEP 1: The Battery Box
- Battery box
- Alligator clips
- 2x4 spacer
- Mount hardware from fish finder
The battery box serves as the hub of the operation. The battery goes into the box and the cut 2x4s are cut to your box and battery specifications to keep it snug in place. The alligator clips connect the power cord to the battery and is a simple system for quick connect/disconnect. This box is not just for the storage of the battery, but serves many other purposes. The box is storage for other fishing supplies (bait, tools, etc.), the mounting platform for the display, and a container to place all contents of the unit (minus the transducer) when the fishing limit has been reached at the end of your fishing day. The cover for the display is highly recommended and will serve as some piece of mind as you are setting up, tearing down, and the travel associated with reaching your favorite fishing hole.
STEP 2: The Transducer Setup
- Transducer with transom mount
- Flag pole
- Bolt and wing nut
The transom transducer mount was created with a flag pole separated in half and connected with a bolt and wing nut for easy folding and storage. The advantages of using a flagpole is it is made of light weight aluminum and there is a shaft within a shaft so your flag can spin. The advantage of the shaft within a shaft design is you can spin your mounted transducer for pinpoint accuracy under the ice and scanning coverage. Just use a shorter bolt that does not go through the entire shaft so it can spin, meaning swap the wing nut and bolt for a short screw. Upgrades can be made to the transducer, but the D20 is a solid unit and works great...unless you are fishing more than 1000 feet of water, which is highly doubtful.
THE RESULT: Fish for Dinner and the Envy of Onlookers
This setup is great and I have been slaying trout all winter. I went from catching a few trout with a buddy to catching our limit (4 each, 8 total) each time out. There is a portable kit that came out on the market for the Garmin Striker series but runs just under $100 and sports a battery that does not last as long as a motorcycle or deep cycle marine battery. The motorcycle battery and fish finder will easily keep you catching for 2 days solid. I have had the unit powered on over 16 hours of fishing on a single charge with no problems. It could have went longer but I decided to charge up my battery and not gamble having to deal with a dead battery on the ice. I like to be very planned and organized and I just could not talk myself into experimenting on one of my valuable fishing days.
I generally prefer to us the unit in the regular mode. It gives a history and chirps whenever there is something in the vicinity of my bait. The bait shows up as a clear signature and this unit is very sensitive and impressive. Sometimes I use the flasher mode with no history I do not see it as functional as the standard mode of operation. The DownVu does not give you an image of the bottom when you ice fish because you are not moving to allow it to scan. I can tell you that almost every fish we caught this winter came between the depths of 15 and 25 feet of water (FOW). Using a fish finder on ice means you do not have to have several years of experience fishing a lake to know where all the fish hide.
Ice fishing is a very fun and exciting time but can be very dangerous. Please check all ice and lake reports from the DOW. A good rule is not to fish on the ice by yourself, bring a friend and fish safely. If nothing else please know that there is no fish worth your life.
Fish move slower and conserve more energy in colder water temperatures. This means you need to put small amounts of bait in front of the trout. Trout do not want a big meal in the cold water so it is important to have a smaller bait presented. The trout are not going to race across the lake to get your bait so that is why it is imperative to put the bait in front of the fish.
Below is a chart for fish farm feedings and the temperature determines the amount of feed.
Fish eating vs. temperature
Temperature in Degrees Fahrenheit
% of Trout Body Weight Fed Daily