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How many guys take portable fish finders into the bwca? How vital are they to catching fish? Im debating if i want to spend the money and have the extra weight.

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It's not vital, but if you don't know the lakes you are going to, it can help out quite a bit with catching fish.

I don't mind hard work and an extra portage trip, so I've been known to take more fishing gear than is absolutely necessary to catch fish in the backcountry.

There are a couple models of fish finders that are very lightweight

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I've brought a Hummingbird 110 Fishin Buddy before and it worked well. It made it alot easier to find that mid lake structure and also to find the breaks that you can see on your maps.

The weight isn't too bad, only down side is that it doesn't really fit in a pack well. I just ended up carrying it with the poles.

Not sure i'd take it if I was doing a long trip with many portages but on shorter trips i'd for sure take it.

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If you don't take one, I think you'll wish you did if you want to have a shore lunch or two. As with many of the Northern Shield lakes, you could be in 6 ft of water 1 minute and 40 the next. Nothing worse than spending much of your fishing time in unfishable water, not knowing it and wondering what you're doing wrong. If you don't want to buy one and have a Vex, you could make that work.

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i usualy took my Fl8 with me and a bracket to put on the canoe. helped out a great deal. if you dont want to spend the money stick to shallower lakes and research them well and know the structure. fish the shorelines and the points and weedlines. if it's your first time on a lake it's very helpfull, especialy if your fishing deeper lakes. you may think about it this way. if you ice fish and are planning to get a flasher anyway, get one now. i'm with Leaky on this as far as you probably wish you had one. good luck.

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Good Advise RH. If you are on shallower lakes, the depth finder, whether its a portable designed for a boat/canoe or a Vexilar/Marcum flasher designed for showing you what's right under you while fairly still, becomes less important and a good map more so. Have a great trip and let us know what you decide and how it goes.

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I have a couple vexilars. So do you pack in the whole unit and the small 12 volt batt. Or do tou have some other form of power?

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Just a thought here but I have brought a handheld vexilar for ice fishing. It is small and easy to pack. Only downfall is constantly checking depth with it but it is better than nothing. But is does work well for finding structure in a lake and then anchor.

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Despite the inconvenience, bring your flasher along with extra batteries. Yes, it's heavy and yes it means extra work, but will be worth its' weight when you need to start looking for fish. Suction cup mount should do it for you - you could always jerry-rig a mount if needed.

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I use a eagle cuda 168. I bought it for $65 a while back and will run for a weeks worth of fishing on 8 aa batteries. I don't think they make the cuda anymore but eagle makes other black and white portable finders that come in a portable pack to run on aa batteries and with a suction cup. Do yourself a favor and leave the flasher and the heavy battery at home.

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I can't say for sure if it works in an aluminum canoe, but in a fiberglass canoe, with a dab of water on the floor, you can shoot the ducer right through the floor of the boat.

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Yes, it will shoot through the bottom of an aluminum canoe as well. I place it off center of the keel so it doesn't have to shoot through the added thickness. I've taken my flasher unit along the last couple of years and I'm very happy I did although my wife wasn't so pleased when she discovered why the pack she was carrying was so heavy.

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For portables I use the old Eagle Silent Sixty units. I have 7 now, some with the 2-6v lantern battery case. I use the rechargeable 6v batteries off Ebay and they work great. The other ones use the small rechargeable 12v battery from Cabelas. The entire unit fits in a small cloth covered cooler and I make the transducer bracket out of 1x1 inch wood. If you know anyone who wants one, I sell them for $75.00. Can email me at [email protected]

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I've used a Humminbird smartcast rf35 the last couple years and it's worked really well for me. If you haven't seen them before, the screen is a wristwatch with an 1.25 inch LCD display. The transducer is designed to be cast and retrieved, so it floats and has an eye in the front to attach your line. I just tie some string from the transducer to the canoe an drag it behind the canoe. It's a wireless connection and it will display depth, surface temp, and fish. I think you can buy them new for around $100. They are very versatile since it can be used just as easily when you're fishing from shore.

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I use the Eagle Fish Easy with the suction cup transducer. I removed the sonar from the rest of the unit (the case that holds the batteries and allows the wire to be wound up inside). Instead, I just back the unit, wire and suction cup in a bag. For power I have a 12V battery (like we use for ice fishing) wrapped in foam and placed inside a small Plano bag (with a plastic zipper). Then I fashioned a small mount for sonar to hang it in the canoe. I attached some clips to the wires to hook up the battery when in use. The unit can run for several days (I haven't figured out the maximum yet). Bottom line for me, when I'm on an unfamiliar lake, the sonar is vital to finding and staying on good structure, especially for walleye. I usually bring a small buoy as well to toss in when I manage to find a mid-lake rock pile...makes it easier for the other non-sonar canoe(s) in my party to find the spot.

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  • 1 month later...

I'll second this.. I have a relatively cheap Cuda as well with 8 AA batteries works all week on one set of batteries and can't weigh more than a pound or maybe 2 at the most. I found a portable pack like the ones the Vexilar's come in and it works like a charm to pack everything in. Caribeaner it to the side of one of your packs etc, works pretty well and gives you a constant depth reading plus the occasional hope that there's fish when it shows you that little blip about 18 inches off the bottom. grin

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Eagle cuda everytime for me also. Folds up in a nice little plastic case for the pack and doesnt weigh much at all. So much structure up there on those lakes it is huge to have a depth finder. You can catch fish without one, but i would highly recommend having one with

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I run a humminbird piranha max 160. Suction cup mount for the transducer and I made my own AA battery pack.

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