9+There is something special about watching your catch underwater while fishing. From observing the fish’s behavior underwater to the species differentiation, there are many advantages of having an underwater camera for ice fishing.
The underwater fishing camera will enhance your fishing experience with two folds. Is digging in ice for hungry pikes your go-to strategy? Wonder what the weedline looks like? Want to observe how the fish reacts to the lure? If these questions bother you as an angler, then all you need is an excellent underwater camera for ice fishing.
With a dedicated fishing camera system, you can map the accurate contours of the weed beds. The weed beds are where the active fish get mostly found. Ice anglers put their precious time and effort in drilling holes and dropping their lines. If you are an ice angler, it is essential for you to know what exactly is underneath the thick ice.
These cameras can get mounted in small “test holes” to check if the area is worth fishing or not. But what is the best underwater camera for ice fishing? If you want to know more about the underwater camera for ice fishing, then you have come to the right place.
After careful consideration, I have listed the five best underwater cameras for ice fishing. Read further for the detailed review of each product and my final verdict.
Best Underwater Camera for Ice Fishing – Top Picks Review of 2019
The Marcum VS485C Underwater Viewing System is a specially designed unit for ice fishing. The device has an insulated carrying bag and handle for protection. The sun shield gets optimized that ensures that the glare coming off the white snow does not cause discomfort. This makes the 7″ screen visible on bright, and sunny days.
The Sony-made screen has a resolution of 800×480 is perfectly adequate for all purposes. With such a reputed brand behind, you can get assured that the stringent quality standards are not compromised. The Sony camera has a standard rating of IP68 rating.
Moreover, the Marcum VS485C has a wide-spectrum light can cut through most conditions except for the cloudiest lakes. It also has multiple fin stabilizers that control the vertical and horizontal movement. The Marcum VS485C provides accurate, stable display than other units on the range. Most units only have a vertical fin that prevents spinning.
Furthermore, the unit from Marcum has a unique “Darkwater LED” lighting options. This feature, in addition to broad-spectrum option. This feature provides excellent illumination levels in deep water. This process gets achieved by broadcasting more light in the blue spectrum. The light then interprets it in black-and-white and subsequently high contrast image gets produced.
Additionally, there are large, easy-to-press buttons in place of a touch screen. These buttons are especially designed for use with winter gloves. The black-and-white transmissions have increased contrast and provide a bright display that would be indistinguishable otherwise. In low light conditions, the Marcum VS485C automatically switches to the shaper black and white display.
- Darkwater led lighting options
- Both color and black and white options
- Insulated carry bag and handle
- 50-foot cable
- Wide spectrum
- No sd card/ recording
Vexilar is a reputed name when it comes to fishing apparels. The Vexilar FS800 Fish Scout Underwater Camera is a flagship ice fishing unit specifically designed for cold weather.
The Sony Super camera can view in dim light as low as .01 Lux. This feature enables the option to fish even in dark waters. The Vexilar FS800 Fish Scout battery can function upto nine hours on a single charge. It is perfect for ice anglers who travel far off in search of good fishing spots. The large buttons is pressable while wearing gloves.
It is compact, lighter, and more portable compared to other units. Built around Sony technology, the screen and camera are of high quality without any compromise. The Vexilar FS800 can function at freezing temperatures up to -22F. The unit is perfect for most ice-fishing situations. However, you might use a shelter on the coldest days for safety.
Moreover, the 7″ screen has a display of 480 x 234 pixels, which is adequate. But some anglers might find it a little on the lower side, especially in low light conditions. The light has a broad spectrum beam. The beam cuts through murkiest of water. The camera unit has only one fin for stabilization.
Furthermore, the vast, flat design ensures there is no tilting or twisting horizontally. These functions also confirm there is no ballast to help it remain appropriately aligned. The standard 50-foot cable is adequate for most lakes. The depth of more than 50 feet is not favorable even with artificial light.
Additionally, the a-SI TFT active matrix provides a bright and accurate display. The 420p resolution might be low for some anglers, and some details may get lost. Ice fishing is primarily done in a low-light environment. Not having enough light means much of the detail will get lost. The artificial lights on the unit can only do so much.
Overall, it has a great combination of durability and performance. The 12-volt battery system is excellent. The seven-color monitor has a decent-enough resolution. It supports a color and B/W camera with less-than-stellar picture quality, but doesn’t support an SD card or recording feature.
- Robust and durable
- Good battery life
- Big screen of 7 inches
- TFT active matrix for brighter and accurate display
- 12 volt battery
- Can view light as low as .01 lux
- Low-resolution camera
- Poor auto gain control
- No SD card/recording
Marcum is a popular name among anglers. They produce various winter fishing gadgets to gears. Marcum’s products are well trusted and durable. These do not change for Recon 5 as well.
The MarCum Recon 5 Underwater Camera Viewing System is a well-built device that is exceptionally durable and provides practical and real-world toughness. The operating range of the equipment is 14F to 104F. The lithium-ion battery pack can hold a charge upto 6 hours before it requires a recharge.
Moreover, the MarCum Recon 5, as the name suggests, uses a 5-inch screen with lovely resolution in an unspecified camera. The camera is not in the range of MarCum VS485C’s Sony camera. But nevertheless, it gets the work done. The stunning 110-degree angle viewing is another feature of this product.
Furthermore, it has an up, down, and horizontal viewing angle. The Marcum gives sharp pictures of excellent quality. The camera automatically switches to B/W in light conditions where color options aren’t viable. The Recon 5 is portable with a 5-inch screen size. However, the visibility is a little less in bright sunlight. The microSD card slot lets you record video files in resolution to 720 x 240 and in.AVI format.
- Good camera
- Well built and durable
- Easily stored and portable
- SD card slot
- 110 degree angle
- Excellent operating range
- Short cable
- .AVI file format and altered resolution on recordings
Aqua-Vu AV715c is perfectly capable of functioning in ice fishing conditions when used with a shelter. The unit needs to get insulated or powered on during cold weather operation.
The unique battery management software extends battery life up to 12 hours in ideal conditions. Waterproof design withstands submersion, and it can fit into a five-gallon bucket easily. This makes the unit easy to pack and portable. The unit also comes with a carry handle. And the cable gets places within the base of the unit, making it tidy and preventing any damage.
Furthermore, the unit has a basic RCA that can display the image on a screen more significant and brighter screen like a monitor. The 7″ screen is more than enough to capture the underwater view. The camera detects light in a broad spectrum. It also has a low-light sensing technology along with infrared technology.
However, some natural light is always favorable. The stabilization fin helps to hang the camera by different angles using wire clips onto its sides. It has a button system instead of a touch screen that can get pressed wearing gloves. The camera of the unit can efficiently work up to temperatures of -22F. There are no concerns about damage to the unit by freezing conditions.
- 7” screen
- 12 hours of extended battery
- Compact and portable
- Infrared technology
- Works up to -22F
- Needs to get insulated or powered on
Eyoyo is a relatively new brand when it comes to ice fishing but has placed itself quite high due to excellent customer service. The Eyoyo original comes with a padded aluminum case and is highly durable even in freezing conditions.
Moreover, the camera is of 1000TVL resolution, which is an analog specification. Many of the users have reported good quality video. The infra-red lights give an astounding performance in low light. Another exciting feature of this cable is that it has a long cord.
Furthermore, there is an added feature of the SD card slot, and the video gets converted to .AVI files. In case of any internal concerns, the customer service department is quite responsive. The 7-inch provides a crisp display with accurate colors. There are various replacement warranties available to the users. It also has some great reviews on amazon.
- Excellent customer service
- Large, high-quality screen
- Unique Infrared lights for night fishing
- Quite a Long cable
- Tough built and durable
- Poor battery life
Factors You Need to Consider Before Buying an Underwater Camera for Ice Fishing
There are many underwater cameras available around the market. Not every underwater camera is equally made. The best underwater cameras are those that are well built for extreme conditions. So what are the factors that you should look for in an underwater camera? I have listed a few factors that you need to consider for your ease.
Durability and Material used
Freezing cold temperatures take a toll on the camera equipment. We do have the facility of ice fishing shelters and heaters, but they can only do so much.
Cold-tolerant materials must get used to insulate the line and camera. This ensures that the unit does not become brittle under freezing temperatures. Natural rubber must get avoided, and silicone other similar synthetic materials ensures waterproofing.
The underwater camera needs to get suspended to the bottom. To clearly see the seaweed beds and the fish who live on them, you will need a camera with excellent cable length. The standard cable length is that of a 50 feet. However, there are some underwater cameras that offer greater cable lengths.
Screen resolution gets measured in pixel count and TVL (television lines). The higher amount of megapixels denote to a better resolution. These numbers also act as a ratio.
TVL is an analog measure describes the television lines a camera can capture. A resolution of 600 TVLmeans that 300 TVL lines distinct dark vertical lines and other 300 white vertical lines that can get counters over a horizontal span equal to the height of the picture.
The camera must have a large camera aperture along with large pixel resolution. The infrared light gets blocked by water, and infrared cameras are at a disadvantage compared to the cameras that use the blue end spectrum of the visible light.
The camera having an IP68 rating is the best. The IP68 rating means that the camera gets specially designed to get immersed in the water below one meter or more.
Camera Viewing Angle
A wide field of view of the camera angle will provide the best viewing angle. Most of the underwater camera offers 90 or 110-degree viewing angles.
The cold water and lack of wave action makes the water extremely clear. This feature enables underwater cameras to show an extensive area. And further, highlight the fish underwater where they hide in the winter.
The standard screen size is about 7 inches. Smaller portable camera systems also come around 5 inches. The seven-inch screen size is the best as there might be more than one angler involved, and this makes it easy viewing.
The sd card or the recording feature is useful as many anglers want to use this feature to record the fish and its activity. You can get an sd card model and then view it for a later purpose.
You will be using an underwater camera for prolonged fishing activity. The battery required must be of the highest quality and must last for a long time. The LIPO cells get too cold can get condensed water inside.
This factor might cause the batteries to be short and catch fire. For the batteries to remain warm they create their heat while running. So good insulation would be enough to keep them warm in cold and freezing temperatures.
The Final Verdict
After much consideration, I have picked the MarCum VS485C Underwater Viewing System as the best underwater camera for ice fishing. The Marcum VS485C has the best camera by a reputed brand of Sony that delivers sharp images.
The feature-packed unit delivers on all accounts. The durable unit also has a great display screen. If you want a more portable option, Marcum’s Recon 5+ is another excellent underwater.