Gadgets big help for ice fishing

As a young kid who had an extreme interest in fishing, I was very lucky to have parents who were able to give me the opportunity to go fishing as often as I could.
I also was fortunate that we lived just one block away from Gord Pyzer, who was at the time—and continues to be—one of the most well-known anglers in Canada. He always has been on the leading edge of new products in the fishing industry.
My mom insisted that I took piano lessons when I was young and Gord’s daughter, Jenny, was my teacher. I’m sure Gord saw that I had a lot more interest in fishing than playing the piano and he started to take me fishing from time to time.
My first exposure to using electronics for ice-fishing was with him. Gord used to have a flasher mounted on the front of his boat and he used this same unit on the ice, with a home-made wooden structure to hold the transducer in the hole.
This was during the early 1990s, when the ice-fishing flasher kits with actual ice-fishing transducers and mounts were not yet available, at least here in Canada.
Just so everybody knows what I’m talking about, a flasher is a device that sends sonar signals to the bottom of the water column. These show you how deep the water is and also mark anything they hit in the water column, like your lure or any fish.
On that first trip, we went down to Nestor Falls and absolutely smoked the crappies. From that day on, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been ice-fishing again without some sort of flasher or depth finder to not only show me the depth, but also my lure and how fish react to it.
The conversations with anglers who have been ice-fishing for many years, and have not used a flasher, always go something like this: “I’ve fished for 30 [maybe more] years without using one of those things and I’ve caught plenty of fish. Why would I need one?”
Do you need one to catch fish? Certainly not! But they will help you catch more fish, and I think they enhance the experience because you can see if there are fish beneath your hole and you can watch how they react to your lure.
Since the early 2000s, GPS (Global Positioning System) units have become more and more common every year on fishing boats. To take the use of electronics to the next step in ice-fishing, anglers are using GPS units to mark hot fishing spots so they always can return to the exact same locations on different trips.
As well, they aid in navigation on snow days and on big water like Lake of the Woods or Rainy Lake that are charted.
Lake maps are available on the GPS units, so finding and fishing new locations is very quick and easy—unlike the old days where we just guessed about where the offshore hump might be and start drilling holes.
We now can pull up to those same spots with precision.
For me, catching fish is important to my making a living, whether I’m taking people on a guided trip or fishing in a tournament, so anything I can use to help increase my odds, I’m all for.
I’m not saying we need to have these items to catch fish, but the fact does remain that they will help you catch more fish and make you a better angler.
Keep an open mind.
If you are unsure about how to use a flasher or GPS unit, ask somebody out on the lake who you notice might have one—or drop me a line through my website at