Ice Fishing with the HawkEye Portable Fish Finder
Locating the fish under a large expanse of ice is one of the biggest challenges for most ice fisherman. Are they in a few feet of water, or 50 feet of water? Are they cruising just below the ice or hugging the bottom? And let's not forget the struggle of what they are biting on?
There are many variables that can determine whether you're going to have a successful catch rate or not. Now, before I continue this article, I would like to make it perfectly clear that you do not need any fancy electronics to enjoy the sport of ice fishing. For years I have enjoyed the sport with just the basics. A 5 gallon bucket with my gear in it, a small sled, my ice pole, some ice jigs, and a way to drill a hole through the ice. I located the fish by moving around on the ice, trying different depths as well as different bait, and of course reading the fishing reports. Does this mean I was successful every time? Of course not, this is why it's called fishing not catching.
Can a fish finder assist you and simplify your ice fishing adventure?
Even though you have a fish finder in your ice fishing arsenal, it’s not going to prevent the drilling of several holes in different locations. However, it will simplify how long you spend at each of these holes. Instead of fishing for hours and hoping there is a fish in your location, a fish finder will quickly determine if there is any fish, and in what depth of water. If there is no fish detected, move on. If fish are detected, set up shop and get to work.
Why I chose the HawkEye Hand Held Portable Fish Finder:
For the last few seasons, I researched several different types of fish finders that can be used for ice fishing. The most notable types of finders are the flashers. Now a flasher has many different benefits compared to the HawkEye Portable Fish Finder. But for me, I struggled to pay the hefty price for a finder that can only be used for ice fishing. So, I searched for a fish finder that can help me with the basics; the water depth, fish detection, and in what part of the water column. The HawkEye provided all of this, plus it can be used year round, and for the price, it was an easy purchase for me.
Features of the HawkEye:
The HawkEye Model F33P will detect fish up to 99.9 feet of water. The model also features a weed and rock detection. You will not get the quality graphics that maps out the contour of the bottom, as you would with a boat mount fish finder, but it does the job. When it comes to ice fishing in my opinion the biggest key factor is finding the fish and determining where they are in the water column. Structure and other features are not so important for ice fishing in my personal opinion.
How did the HawkEye Perform?
The first time ice fishing with the HawkEye several holes were drilled as a test. The Hawk Eye graphed the water depth, just as advertised. To test this, I drilled several holes from the shore to the middle of the lake. Each time the water depth increased as expected. Once I found the fish, the Hawkeye graphed them at 20 feet below the ice and just a foot off the bottom in approximately 40 feet of water. It was awesome to finally see the location of the fish in the water column, which allowed us to immediately target to correct depth.
How to read the HawkEye Fish Depth Indicator:
The fish depth indicator is represented with 10 square boxes displayed on the screen. The following method is used to determine the exact depth of the fish from the sonar. Let’s say you are in 70 feet of water and the device is graphing fish in the 5th square. Take the depth of the water, which is 70. Divide this by 10 which equals 7. Times the number 7 by 5 which equals 35. This means you are graphing fish in 35 feet of water. This can be a little confusing at first, but once you see the finder in action and use this formula, it’s relatively easy to quickly determine the depth of cruising fish.
Tips for using the HawkEye while ice fishing:
Make sure you use quality lithium batteries if you plan on using the HawkEye for ice fishing. Normal batteries will quickly die due to the use of the device as well as the cold weather. Another challenge I had was keeping the sonar plugged into the device. An easy fix for this is clearly displayed with the instructions. Simply feed the Sensor Plug through the rubber plug holder located on the top of the device. The last tip is to be sure to adjust the float so the sonar is below the ice. This way you will not have any interference between the ice and the sonar.
For me personally I give The HawkEye two thumbs up. It performed as expected and fulfilled my needs. Being able to find and target the fish will surely simplify the ice fishing process. Because this finder can be used year round, I'm excited to see how it performs offshore and in a small boat. If you’re searching for a small portable, affordable handheld fish finder the HawkEye may be just what you need.
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FTC Disclosure: This review on the Hawkeye Portable Fish Finder is an honest review. The product was personally purchased by us. If you’d like to do more research for yourself, please click on any of the links above. If you find interest in this fish finder and decide to make a purchase, Utah Outdoor Activities will receive a small commission. These commissions help us continue to bring you more outdoor information, and help keep this site up and running. Thank you for visiting and for your ongoing support.