Fishing on different bodies of water will have different requirements. You factor in the weather condition, terrain, and type of fish that you’re targeting and you have yourself a lot of variables to consider before you go on your expedition. Today you are going to read our complete Ice fishing fish finder review.
Now, fishing may be a hobby to some but it can be a sport or a means of living for others. So, what do you need when you go out fishing on icy waters or go ice fishing? This is a whole different level, right? It sure is.
Before you can even successfully catch said fish you first need to find them and finding them on ice may prove to be quite challenging. Well, technology is here to help us once again. Here are some of the best ice fishing fish finder in the market today.
Check out our reviews!
What is Ice Fishing Fish Finder and How do they Work?
Ice fishing has become quite popular as of late and it’s just necessary that technological brands start exploring this category. So what are ice fishing fish finder and how do they exactly work? Does it differ from all the usual fish finders that we’re already accustomed to?
In a nutshell, yes. You may use traditional fish finders for the ice fishing job. Fishfinders that are then utilized for ice fishing are just equipped with the necessary qualities so that they may be more suitable for it.
So, that begs us to answer another important question. If I then go ahead and use my standard fish finder, would it be safe for the device? The answer is also yes. Of course, it would depend on the quality of your fish finder to give you the best results as well as withstand the icy waters but usually, the only danger this type of fishing poses on your device is that if the water would turn into ice and damage if not cause it to get stuck.
Aside from the quality and features of your chosen fishing fish finder, your skill in using it as well as familiarity with fishing on ice would come into play. In this review though we made sure to enumerate and research the devices that are properly equipped for this task.
Ice fishing is also different from traditional fishing. It’s become popular as of late but in reality, it’s only natural that’s it’s been done for ages now.
Ice fishing is one stationary type of angling. Your transducer which is an essential part of your fish finder beams down the signal and then catches it as it comes up while it hangs on the hole. That’s also why analog depth finders (flasher–style) are quite popular for stationary angling like ice fishing. This aspect would directly affect the fish finder that you’ll be using.
What are the Types of Fish Finders?
Having said all of that, here are some common types of fish finders so you can be familiar with them and get what you really need.
2D Fish Finders
2D fish finders are probably the most basic types of fish finders. They usually come cheap and are simple enough to operate. They usually display images/symbols/icons of possible fish under the water that you’re checking out that move from left to right.
That’s not to say that there are really fish below from where you are but can be a good indicator. Other than that, this type of fish finder can also display rough textures and soil hardness. Sometimes, this device is what experienced anglers only need to catch a haul.
Down scan Fish Finders
These down-scan fish finders are some of the most popular today. These devices can give you a photorealistic view of what’s in the waters. It is also jam-packed with features that will help you along the way.
The downside of these down-scan fish finders is that they may have a limited range.
Side scan Fish Finders
Speaking of range, while these side scan fish finders may be a tad expensive they are some of the most accurate and feature-packed devices there are. They also have a massive range that can go for 100 feet on both sides and will give you a picture-perfect view of what you’re looking for.
If you have a few bucks to spare then you may go for side scan fish finders.
What are the Benefits of using the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder?
Knowing how challenging fishing in icy waters can be, what are some other benefits of employing a fish finder when going ice fishing?
- These fish finders are always beneficial for fishermen who are always on the move. Given that you may need to transfer from one spot to another when ice fishing, then you need a device that’s portable or mobile enough that you can easily carry with you.
- These fish finders are also a perfect choice if you need another mobile device on your other hand as you go.
- These devices can also pack away neatly on your tackle box and can deploy in all fishing locations.
- These units will offer great value for your money with their features and results yield.
- They have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for a variety of functions other than helping you find fish that will surely make your fishing trips easier and more enjoyable.
- These devices are time savers and can also help you conserve energy for more important tasks.
What is a Fish Flasher?
We mentioned this above and you may have heard someone say before that when going ice fishing you can make use of a fish flasher instead. So, what is a fish flasher?
Fish flashers were the first of their kind in the field of sonar systems used by fishermen that are portable. While some may think that it’s backward to use such a device, its analog nature is the exact reason why it’s best for ice fishing.
A fish flasher typically represents by a multi-colored wheel. This set of colors is used to tell the size of the fish that it detects. It’s usually green for smaller ones, yellow or orange for slightly larger ones, and red ones for big ones.
Basically, fish flashers as opposed to fish finders utilize jigs to map out the waters you are trying to fish out from. And simply put, since ice fishing is a stationary and vertical game then that’s why it’s perfect for the job.
So, Should I go for Ice Fishing Flasher or go with Fish Finders?
Well, let’s put it this way. If you’re someone who prefers simplicity and straightforwardness with your fishing trips then go with a fish flasher. But to us, nothing can beat the value of a fish finder. It can extremely make your life easier so you can enjoy fishing on the ice more and be more efficient at it.
Fish finders just have a ton of features that a fish flasher does not have.
Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder Reviews
The first entry on our best ice fishing fish finder review is no other than the Garmin Striker 4. You most definitely bet that Garmin has one of the largest shares in this market category for they are one of the worlds’ leading brands when it comes to maps and GPS technology.
If you’re looking for an affordable device that will return great value for your money with accuracy and advanced features then this is the device that you are looking for.
This sleek black unit comes with a 3.5-inch screen and offers features that aren’t even included in some devices from its price range. It is armed with the patented ClearVu scanning sonar technology that will show you more because of its range.
Armed with high frequency, this unit will give you photographic pictures with very detailed representations of structures, objects, and most of all, fishes in the water below you.
Got a keyed interface plus dedicated buttons to help you operate it with ease and the unit itself is ergonomically designed so you may carry it conveniently. It’s got a waterproof rating of IPX7 and creating waypoints with this unit will always be a breeze.
It’s got a ma depth of 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater. The CHIRP sonar on board will make sure to consistently send out sweeps of frequency for detailed return of information. This then results in better target separation as well as crispier fish arches.
It also comes in a built-in flasher which makes it perfect for ice fishing as well as vertical jigging. And of course, you’ll have access to built-in and high-sensitivity GPS.
How’s that for our first unit, huh? Quite advanced and won’t hurt your budget that much. If you want the best, go for Garmin!
- Feature-packed product
- Great value for money
- Superb accuracy on the readings
- Great depth range as well as cone angle
- Solid water and weatherproofing design
- The unit is actually not as durable as advertised
The HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder is probably one of the most convenient and compact fish finders that you can buy. It’s also feature-packed, a bit more expensive than the previous product we reviewed but this handheld device will literally have everything that you need in finding fish at the palm of your hands.
The HawkEye device is user-friendly and will not be too hard for beginner anglers to operate so they can then concentrate on other important tasks that they are still getting used to. The intelligent sonar onboard will have precise readings for about 240 feet.
Its screen is the VirtuView HD display with color. It’s got a backlight that produces crisp images that’s bright enough for harsher sunlight. The unit is also glare-free for superb readability. Its sonar sensor is also mountable, trollable, and floatable for utmost portability.
It’s also embedded with the FishArc and FishID features that will determine fish depth targeting with HD landscape imaging of the bottom of your target area. Very few false readings are made by this device and will have an audible alarm signal if it finds fish in the vicinity.
But, that’s not all. You will have 3 modes to choose from as you use this device. Fish Finder modes, Data, and Digital Flasher or Ice mode. Please do take note that it’s only this unit the 1C model that’s got the flasher mode. FishTrax 1, as well as 1X, won’t have it.
We’re off to a great start, are we? These are the best devices in the fish finder category after all.
- This unit is compatible with a lot of other accessories for convenience
- Ergonomic design and portable
- Great value for money
- Accurate and feature-packed
- Can double as a fish flasher
- The device has some poorly executed configuration of its features
When it comes to innovative design none of the products on our list would probably beat this next one, we’re talking about the Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar.
This fish finder is famous for its ball-designed transducer that you drop in the water to give you accurate readings of the area. This unit is Wi-Fi-ready and can create a hotspot. It’s got a connection range of up to 330 feet, a depth range of 2 to 260 feet, and target separation of 0.5 inches.
This is a dual-frequency sonar device and that means you can take advantage of 2 cone angles that make it versatile. These are 55 and 15 degrees respectively. This unit allows you to create high-resolution topography of the underwater when you’re atop your boat or kayak.
This unit is actually quite recommended for kayaks, boats, and ice anglers. For it is powerful and portable enough to take on such challenges. That’s a powerful connection with accurate scanning so you may cast far and scan deep.
This unit is also quite simple to use, just cast, scan, target, and map. You can also then save your data on the cloud and do GPS onshore mapping. You will have the option to basic and detailed mode with adjustable sensitivity. You’ll have 3 color pallets, an underwater vegetation display, bottom hardness, topwater temp, and depth alarms as additional features.
This unit is an innovation made simple enough for anyone to take advantage of.
- Sleek design results to ease of use
- Very innovative and jam-packed with features
- The range and dual scanning cone angle features are huge add-ons
- Built to last
- The best when used in ice
- Battery and connectivity issues are not uncommon with this unit
When it comes to portability and design nothing is more suitable than the RICANK Depth Finder and Portable Ice Fish Finder for ice fishing. I mean just look at it, it actually looks like something straight out of a North Pole set movie.
This fish finder looks different than the usual device from this category but trusts us when we say that it does the job just as well. With its flashlight body design, this unit is meant ergonomic, easy to use, and portable.
This device will provide fish and contour readouts. It will detect and also display out of its tiny but informative black and white screen the depth, fish size, fish group, and temperature. What’s more, is that these readouts will be updated 4 times per second as it goes from 2.5 to 300 feet in depth.
This unit is quite suitable for almost all fishing styles. May you be riding your kayak or boat and go river, lake, and sea fishing take this unit with you and it won’t fail. It’s also quite suitable for offshore fishing.
This unit is of course water-resistant at 100 feet and from the look of it, you immediately know that it’s got one of the most rugged designs on our list. Did we say that it’s designed like a flashlight? Well, you may turn the light on and off so you may lure fishes in and you have two color options to choose from.
Truly one of the best fishing accessories that you can gift yourself or another fishing enthusiast. Great device if you want to keep things simple but efficient.
- Built to last and withstand all sorts of elements especially the cold
- Simple but efficient design
- Very ergonomic
- Great value for money
- Perfect luring device
- It does not have any of the advanced features the rest of the units on our list have
Did we say that the earlier ice fishing sonar unit was the most advanced one we have on our list? Well, that was inaccurate – sort of. For we have its more advanced version the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar.
While you may say that they have so much in common it’s the “upgrades” on this PRO+ device that are worthy to discuss and review. Right off the bat this unit has the highest castable sonar spec there is and this time, we are being accurate. As accurate as this unit is.
This unit is for serious anglers that are looking for fast and detailed data as they go. The mapping functions on this unit are made even more powerful and you can be sure that it is suitable for almost all fishing styles. You may be on your kayak, boat, offshore, or going ice fishing. Most especially ice fishing!
- Has all the features of the PRO model and more!
- Made for the pros indeed
- Very durable device
- Improved battery life and connectivity
- Great range and versatility
- Can be a tad pricey
6. LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder-Ice Fishing Flasher
From an advanced device to a simple yet efficient one, don’t sleep on this unit and you might get lucky with the LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder. This unit is one of the best dollar-for-dollar devices and is endeared to consumers for its simplistic design but accurate results.
This fish finder will give you water depth, short & tall weeds, approximate fish location, and even sand & rocks at the bottom of the water. You can either carry it or hang it around your rock depending on your style and convenience.
This unit suits multiple fishing styles and environments most especially on ice. It’s got a cone angle of 45 degrees and it’s got a detection depth range of 3 to 328 feet. Switch from feet to meter readings as desired.
It comes with a transducer and a 25 feet cable with a removable transducer float. That’s functionality that you need in a simplistic design suitable for kayak, ice, or shore fishing. And it’s very affordable to boot!
- Convenient to use and carry around
- Ergonomic grip and durable construction
- Great value for money
- Efficient readings (all you need)
- Great range
- Limited features (you really get what you pay for)
Let’s discuss the Venterior Portable Fish Finder while we are on the subject of simplistic yet efficient designs. This unit is also a handheld and portable device that you can take with you no matter what style of fishing you practice but it’s best to use when going ice fishing for sure.
We can outright say that the features of this unit or at least the basic ones are exactly the same as the previous product we reviewed but there are key differences for sure.
This unit comes with 5 selectable sensitivity modes. You can then ignore smaller fish if you want to. It’s got a battery save mode and you may utilize the backlight to find fish at night.
This device also gives you an audible alarm sound so you won’t miss any detection. It’s simple to use and very intuitive. Definitely for fishermen of all skill levels.
- Very affordable unit as well
- Rugged and tough construction
- Great range and cone angle
- Best for ice fishing
- It may not be the most dependable unit on our list
If you like the Lucky brand but want a little bit of an upgrade from their most basic device then go for the LUCKY Fish Finder Portable Fishing Sonar.
This unit definitely is pricier but you’ll get a lot more from it for sure. This is most definitely an upgrade too as this device is armed with either wired or wireless capability. One of the best castable sonar devices in the market today.
It can float with you on your kayak or boat or you can take it for some ice fishing. We are got a powerful battery pack that will last for 10 hours. Got a 2.8 inch LCD that comes with 3 color tones.
Got a depth capability of 328 feet when wired and 147 when configured to work wirelessly. It’s got dual 45 and 90 degrees cone angles in 20 and 125 kHz respectively. It’s versatile, functional, and durable.
- A decent set of features
- Has got everything that you need onboard
- Versatile and rugged design
- Accurate and nice range to it
- Great display quality
- A tad pricey for its quality
We thought that we’ve seen the best of Deeper products but that was not the case. This time the brand is back on our review with another sophisticated unit, the Deeper Chirp Castable and Portable Fish Finder.
This is the only unit that is a castable CHIRP fish finder. It’s got superb 3 beam frequencies that will provide crystal clear quality and accuracy like no other.
You will have solid connectivity at 330 feet and it is of course Wi-Fi capable. Fish deeper and be more efficient with this unit. Create your own bathymetric maps and enjoy fast charging to boot!
- One of the most powerful units on our list
- Pricey but you’ll get great value for money
- Jam-packed with advanced features
- Versatile and tough construction
- Great battery onboard
- Not for beginners
Last but not least on our best ice fishing fish finder review is the Lowrance Hook-3X Sonar. This unit comes with a 3-inch backlit color display and is one of the simplest but also still quite effective devices on our list.
It can identify fish targets, structure details, bottom contour, hardness, thermoclines, and surprisingly more. It’s armed with advanced signal processing will auto-adjust so you can see fish clearly.
It operates in dual-frequency at 83 or 200 kHz respectively. The 83 kHz provides 60 degrees of cone angle. Pretty compact for an affordable and simple fish finder indeed.
- Ergonomic and compact design
- Great value for money
- Has everything that you really need for casual fishermen onboard
- Easy to use
- Accurate readings
- Not a very durable device
Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder Buyers Guide
What are the aspects that you need to ensure the ice fishing fish finder of your choice should have? Here are a few considerations that you should make.
This may be a consideration for all fish finders in general as transducers are one of the most important components of the device. Please do take note that while most have them onboard not all of them do and be sure to watch out for that.
Your fish finder’s transducer is responsible for sending the signals out and then receiving them in return. This is how they detect fish and everything else as the waves sent out bounce back to the device thus the reading is done.
Transducers may come in a different mount type and choose what’s best for your fishing needs. As for its material, you may choose a plastic one for versatility. Transducers may also come with an in-hull or thru-hull mount.
You’ll have the option to buy fiberglass or metal hulls but they will need plastic casing. On the other hand, aluminum and steel hulls will need stainless steel casings.
While we’re on the subject of material, plastic is always going to be ideal for icy situations. Material is important here for ice can be intense and your fish finder should withstand that. Plastic won’t absorb water and are weatherproof in general.
Again, transducers may come in fiberglass, bronze, stainless steel, or even wood.
The beam of your fish finder’s transducer determines your cone angle. Your cone angle determines the range of the area that it can read. Cone angle can range from about 9 to 60 degrees but even wider with side scan fish finders.
Here you can determine whether what you have is an individual or a school of fish. This property also returns with the depth of the scan, the water area, and other information that you need.
Some wider angles won’t give you accurate details with narrow angles yielding better results. And while we’re at it, let’s talk about frequencies.
Your unit will most often come with dual-frequency capacity. Your unit’s frequency will determine its cone angle. Go for units with higher frequency at 192 or 200 kHz for shallow waters. For deep waters, you may go for 50 kHz for this frequency is mostly utilized for commercial or deep water fishing.
A few obvious aspects you consider when it comes to the fish finder’s screen and the display are its size and color. Does it display black and white projections or is it multi-colored? Naturally, colored screens are easier to read as well as larger ones.
5-inch displays would be right at the sweet spot with some having a small 3.5-inch display with others that are more sophisticated come in larger 15-inch screens. They can be quite pricey though.
Also, it would be nice that your screen displays a lot of information on it for that makes for a good and intuitive display. The resolution is also an aspect that you may consider.
At least choose one with 240 x 160p. But other more expensive devices come in a whopping 1280H x 800V p resolution.
Are you going for portable units or fixed ones? Naturally, if you own a boat, go for intense scouting, or fish from said boat then a fixe unit might be best. They can be more accurate too.
But for ice fishing, we recommend you get ergonomic and portable ones.
Most, if not all of these units are ready for the outdoors, are packed with batteries and power supplies so you may use them anywhere and anytime.
What you need to consider though is getting a higher wattage unit if you want your device to be faster and better at deeper readings. Take note that for 100 watts at 50 kHz of power, your device can show you a depth of about 400 feet. At 200 kHz it will show you readings at 100 feet.
No brainer, huh? We just want to point out for you to always check the JIS or the IPX ratings of your device. Go for a device with an IPX rating of more than 5.
Of course, your unit should also come with all the neat features the devices we reviewed above should have. Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in GPS, mapping, etc. these features are sure to give you efficient results on your fishing trips.
How to Properly Utilize your Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder?
Here are just a few tips and tricks so you may use your ice fishing fish finder properly and maximize its potential.
- If you got yourself a trusted fish finder that’s fit for use in ice then you’re already halfway there. The next thing you got to do is to situate it properly. Make sure to drill your holes properly and then keep your transducer as vertical as possible right below the ice.
- Slushing or skimming the transducer will most definitely affect its readings. Make sure to use your depth finder.
- When you’ve found the bottom, drop your lure. Lower sensitivity or gain on your settings will make sure that you won’t see your lure as much for a clearer picture.
- Then, you wait. The best thing about fish finders on ice fishing is that you can freely move around until there’s fish detected. Wait for the alarm!
Though this unit didn’t make it to our Ice Fishing Fish Finder review, it still has some idea of ice fishing with a fish finder. Let’s have a look.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any Safety Considerations when Ice Fishing?
Answer: Please do make sure to scout your targeted location first. If you’re not a local then be sure to check out maps of the place and ask the locals especially from the bait shop to whether it’s safe to go ice fishing on your intended spot. You need to make especially sure that the ice is thick enough for your safety. 4-inch thick ice is usually a sign that it’s okay to fish.
When on a new lake early on in ice season then the largest bed of weed on the said lake would be the best spot to go set up for fishing. As for your bait, small jigs preferably tungsten plus a few maggots might come in handy. But also, be sure to read and learn as you go. Go from live baits to artificial lures whenever necessary.
Any signs that the Ice below will have fish? Any tips for Beginners?
Just be sure to look for holes in the ice for signs that there might have been some activity in that area already. Jig from the bottom up until you ascertain where the fish are in and start biting. Aside from your fish finder, go bring an auger for drilling holes. Aside from your jig and bait, bring a small bobber, something sit on like a bucket, and most of all, bring some pretty warm clothes.
Fishing is indeed a game of patience and focus. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have the technology by our side to aid us and make this sport more fun. These best ice fishing fish finder will definitely take our fishing game to the next level.
Take our word for it and you’ll surprise by the results. The products we reviewed are by far the most versatile, durable, feature-packed, and return great value for your investment. So why not spend a few bucks on such a useful gadget? Enjoy fishing a little bit more and go catch a haul on your next expedition.
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