Ice fishing fish finders aren’t precisely cheap gadgets. And the fact that we want the best value for our money makes things even harder. But believe us, ice fishing fish finders are a must if you love ice fishing.
They will give you a layout of what is below the water, so you have an idea where to dig a hole. There are several different types of ice fishing fish finders. Here we show you 8 of the best models you can find in the market. You have several different options, with different prices and features.
|Screen Size (inches)||Maximum depth (feet)||GPS?||Operating modes|
|Garmin Striker 4||3.5||1600 (freshwater)750 (saltwater)||Yes||Flasher, fish finder, and maps|
|Lowrance Hook 2||5||500||Yes||Fish finder and maps|
|Venterior VT-FF001||3||386||No||Fish finder|
|Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar||Depends on your smartphone||260||Yes||Fish finder|
|HawkEye 1C||4||240||No||Flasher and fish finder|
|Anysun Fish Finder||7||–||No||Camera|
|LUCKY Portable Fish Finder||2.4||147||No||Fish finder|
|Humminbird Helix 7||7||1500||Yes||Flasher and fish finder|
Enough of the chatter. It is time to get down to business!
Garmin Striker 4
Most fish finders, especially ice fish finders, are quite expensive. That’s the main reason to start with this one. It is cheaper than most similar gadgets, and it still gets the job done. Thus, if you are a little tight on budget, we highly recommend getting this unit.
The Striker 4 has a compact design, unlike many other ice fish finders. It has a big screen, which is available in 3.5, 5, and 7 inches. At the bottom of the device, you will find six buttons which you can use to control the unit. The display has a dual-screen function where you can see both the GPS and the sonar lecture.
Additionally, the Garmin Striker 4 has a built-in flasher. It is ideal for both ice and vertical fishing. The lectures are very precise thanks to the continuous sweep of frequencies, which yield a better understanding of what is below the surface.
The Striker 4 shows the readings up to a maximum depth of 1600 for freshwater and 750 for saltwater. Of course, deeper measures are less accurate.
You can save the locations of any previous fishing hotspot, so you can easily find them on your next trip. The GPS also shows your current speed, which might come in handy the next time you go trolling.
Do not worry about water splashes; the Garmin Striker 4 comes with IPX7 water protection.
You can purchase the Garmin Striker 4 alone, with a mounting arm, or with a portable bag, which is ideal for ice fishing. Obviously, the price changes depending on which one you end up buying.
- 3.5, 5, or 7-inch display sizes
- GPS and sonar
- IPX7 water rating
- Built-in flasher
- Maximum depth: 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater
- Voltage: 12
- CHIRP 77/200 kHz transducer
- Cheaper than other fish finders
- Versatile; you can use it for more than just ice fishing
- Easy to use
- The transducer is not suitable for ice fishing
- The GPS shows neither maps nor landmarks
- The screen gets blurry while ice fishing
Lowrance Hook 2 000-14181-001
There are several different models of the Lowrance Hook2. This time we are talking about the 5-inch ice fishing version. It packs a beautiful, full-color 5-inch display. The no-fading technology and adequate brightness level keep it visible throughout the entire day. However, the display looks a little washed, making it hard to understand what’s on the screen.
You get a convenient carry-on bag with your purchase. You can use it to protect the device from splashes during your ice fishing trip. Inside the bag, you also have two tackle boxes where you can keep fishing lines, hooks, and lures.
Now, let’s talk about the unit’s performance. The Lowrance Hook 2 has an in-built GPS. And the unit stores information about over 3000 US lakes and rivers. But what happens if you go fishing to that lake that isn’t pre-loaded? Don’t worry. You can upload it to the unit by using an SD card. The great thing about this preloaded library is that you get some valuable information like depth, best fishing spots, and shorelines. If that isn’t enough, you can also store up to 3000 waypoints.
The Lowrance Hook 2 uses a 2-in-1 CHIRP sonar system. The fish finder uses autotuning software, so you always have a clear picture of what’s lurking inside the water. Plus, the Sidescan/Downscan combo does a superb job differentiating the fish from the lures and structure: A all-round package. Here you can see some of the features of this amazing device.
- 5-inch full-color display
- Maximum depth: 500 feet
- Dual-frequency 2-in-1 CHIRP sonar
- In-built GPS
- Accurate readings
- Autotuning sonar
- Easy to use
- Massive lake and rivers library
- The screen display is rather dim
- The transducer is quite fragile
The Venterior looks more like a radio than a fish finder. However, it will be your best friend if you are looking for a cheap fish finder. This unit retails for less than 50 bucks. Thus, we recommend this unit to those anglers who wish to purchase an ice fishing fish finder without breaking the bank.
The screen is very small (less than 4 inches). But it is something to expect given the size and price of the device. Another thing that could be a deal-breaker is that it has a black and white screen. On the bright side, it has a good refresh rate, and you can see fish (of at least 4 inches), weeds, and rocks. Plus, the LCD display has a yellow blacklight, which will be helpful under low-visibility situations.
A set of 4 AAA batteries power the device. You can use it for 4 hours before needing to change them. Yes, it doesn’t have the greatest autonomy. But you can increase it by enabling battery saving mode.
The Venterior is remarkably easy to use. You only need to turn the device on, and then put the 25 feet transducer inside the water. However, the ease of use comes at the expense of customizability. You only have 5 levels of sensibility and a fish alarm. But then again, this fish finder is more suitable for those looking for a simple tool, or are starting in the ice angling world.
If you are going to purchase it, make sure to keep it away from the water. Otherwise, the screen will turn blurry.
- 3-inch LCD screen with yellow backlight
- 5 sensitivity levels
- Maximum depth: 386 feet
- Fish alarm
- Extremely affordable
- It can read through the ice
- Black and white screen
- Poor battery life
- No water protection
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
It is time to change the game a bit. The Deeper PRO+ smart sonar is entirely different from any other ice fish finder in terms of design. The finder is merely a ball. Once you turn it on, it will produce a WiFi signal. Then, connect your smartphone or tablet, and that’s all. Of course, you need to download the Deeper app first. It is available for both Android and iOS users.
You can use the Deeper PRO+ smart sonar for kayak, shore, and ice fishing. All that you need to do is to choose the fishing mode that you will use and cast the device. For ice fishing, all that you need to do is to place the device in the hole. After a couple of seconds, you will be able to see the readings from your phone or tablet.
The Deeper PRO+ can scan anything sitting 260 feet beneath the surface. It produces two beans to do so: One wide 90kHz/55º beam to cover large areas, and one narrow 290kHz/15º bean for detailed mapping. The sonar picks up any structure with at least .5 inches. The target separation is not as high as other ice fish finders. But you are also paying less money.
Similarly, the battery doesn’t last as long as other fish finders. However, it only takes 75 minutes to charge it.
This portable ice fish finder also has an in-built GPS, allowing you to create bathymetric maps. It might not be a useful feature for ice fishing. But it is nice to have it since you can use the Deeper PRO+ for more than ice fishing.
All the scans and readings are available in the Deeper cloud system. You can check them and highlight those potential hotspots for another fishing trip.
There is another, slightly more advanced of this fish finder: The Deeper CHIRP Smart Sonar. It comes with the same features but with more range. Plus, the scans have higher resolution and detail.
- WiFi connection
- Maximum depth: 260 feet
- In-built GPS
- Dual-beam sonar
- Rechargeable battery
- Portable ice fish finder
- You can access all the data from the cloud services
- In-built GPS creates bathymetric maps
- It needs a smartphone to work
- Battery life is not that great
- Sometimes you might need to turn the phone data off to avoid interference
- It might be challenging to fish in a small hole with this fish finder
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
The HawkEye Fishtrax might not be the best ice fish finder in this review. Still, for a newbie, it is one hell of a gadget. It has all the necessary things that you will need in a fish finder. Plus, it cost less than 200 bucks.
The main advantage of this fish finder, besides the price, is that you can use it for boat fishing or trolling. The HawkEye 1C has three operating modes: Ice fishing flasher, regular fish finder, and data. The ice mode gives real-time readings. In contrast, the fish finder yields historical data.
Like the Deeper PRO+, the HawkEye uses a dual-beam sonar to scan the waters. The lectures are accurate enough to know what is happening up to 240 feet beneath the water. But the flasher lacks the precision of other, more expensive models. It might be due to the screen, which is quite small in comparison. The bright side is that it is easy to transport and move.
The HawkEye 1C is very easy to use, even if you haven’t used a fish finder before. Still, if you ever have a hard time using it, you can take advantage of the auto operation mode. The device will set the depth range and sensitivity by itself. All that you need to do is to pay close attention to the screen.
- Dual-beam sonar
- HD, full-color screen
- Powered by 4 AAA batteries
- Maximum depth: 240 feet
- Three operating modes
- Manual and automatic depth range and sensitivity configuration
- 2″ X 3.5″ screen
- User friendly
- Several operating modes
- Fish and depth audible alarm
- The digital flasher is not as easy to read as other models
- Small screen
- The battery drains quite fast
Anysun Underwater Fish Finder
Let’s review something entirely different from the rest of the fish finders in this list. The Anysun is the best ice fishing fish finder with a camera that you can find in the market today. Yes, you read that right. This fishing fish finder doesn’t use sonar to map what is beneath the water. It uses a high-quality camera instead.
The Anysun camera has IP68 water protection and 12 white, night-vision lights. But the lights play another important role. They help to draw the attention of nearby fishes. It can withstand up to 725 pounds of pressure. So, you can virtually fish at any depth. However, the camera has a viewing distance of 16 feet. But this is more than enough for ice fishing.
Any of this would be useless if the camera isn’t paired with a good screen. Thankfully it is. The Anysun comes with a 7-inch TFT LCD screen. The screen has an 800×480 pixel resolution and comes with a detachable sun visor to protect the screen from direct sunlight.
With a screen so big and a camera, the battery life might be a problem. However, in this case, it is not. The device comes with a 4500 mAh battery, which could last an entire day of fishing.
- 7-inch TFT LCD screen
- IP68 camera with night-vision
- Portable suitcase
- 4500 mAh battery
- Instant footage of what is happening beneath the ice
- Color accurate-screen
- Long battery life
- The suitcase is rather bulky
- Not good for murky waters
LUCKY Portable Fish Finder
It is time to review the cheapest ice fish finder. As the name suggests, the LUCKY is one of the most portable ice fish finders in the market. Plus, it is very versatile. You can use it for sea fishing,
The LUCKY portable fish finder has a 2.4-inch LCD screen. It is quite a small screen and only has 3 colors. However, it is easy to read. Plus, it gives you a lot of information like depth, water temperature, underwater structure, and the approximate size and depth of fish. You can control how much detail you want to see; simply change the sensitivity accordingly.
The device has an audible fish alarm. You can set it up according to the fish you wish to catch. The main drawback of this device is that it doesn’t have a flasher mode for ice fishing. Still, for the price, it is one of the most affordable ice fish finders in the market.
The fish finder doesn’t have a transducer. The sonar is a little yellow ball, similar to that of the Deeper PRO+. It is smaller, though. You can either cast it or place it in the water. The Lucky sensor also produces two rays of light to draw the attention of nearby fishes.
- Rechargeable batteries
- Wireless fish finder
- Maximum depth: 147 feet
- 2.4-inch LCD screen
- Built-in memory
- Very affordable
- Easy to use
- You can use it for sea, kayak, and ice fishing
- Low maximum depth
- The device loses connection at long distances
- The buttons and the antenna are delicate
- It doesn’t have a digital flasher
Humminbird Helix 7 Fish Finder Chirp GPS
Closing this review, we have the Humminbird Helix 7. The price of this bad boy is 750 dollars, which could be a little too much for some anglers. But you get a lot in return.
The Helix 7 has a 7-inch display with 800×480 pixels and LED backlighting. The screen stays visible regardless of the time of day. Plus, it is big enough to display a lot of information without compromising accuracy.
The device has two operating modes: The usual 2D sonar mode, which displays the records of all the reading. This mode is especially useful for lake, river, or sea fishing. And the flasher mode, which displays the real-time lecture. But there is more. The Helix 7 also comes with a GPS. You can save both locations and routes to make your trip easier. And, if that is not enough, you can use the 2D sonar and the GPS at the same time! All that you need to do is to use the slip-screen mode, and you are ready to go!
The GPS provides an accurate position, which translates into a precise mapping of the area. You can store your routes, waypoints, maps, and charts on a micro SD and then use your computer to analyze them.
Are you tired of not finding the right spot? Don’t worry. Simply use the area photography more to have a complete view of the lake. You will be able to see depth ranges, structure, and contours, which in combination with the extensive algorithm library of SmartStrike, will make fishing a lot easier.
Another great thing about this device is that you can also use it when the ice melts. It might not be as portable as the Garmin Striker 4 we reviewed before. But the functionalities that Helix 7 has definitely worth the extra weight.
The Humminbird Helix 7 uses a dual CHIRP sonar. It delivers exceptional details in no time. Plus, you can use the same transducer for both ice, rive, and sea fishing. Check this video if you wish to know more about the Helix 7.
- Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar
- 7-inch full-color screen
- SD card slot
- Detailed charts and aerial photography
- 2D sonar and flasher operating modes
- Maximum depth: up to 1500 feet
- Detailed information of what is inside the water
- Precise sonar
- You can use it for lake, river, or even sea fishing
- Big and bright screen
- Target-specific operation mode
- It is not portable at all
Best Portable Ice Fishing Fish Finder: The Garmin Striker 4
It is time to choose our winners. Our choice of the best portable ice fishing fish finder is the Garmin Striker 4. You can purchase it with either a 3.5, 5, or 7-inch display. But for portability purposes, the 3.5-inch is the best option.
The Striker 4 weighs only 8 ounces, which is lighter than most other portable ice fishing fish finders like the LUCKY portable fish finder, HawkEye Fishtrax 1C.
Additionally, it has an IPX7 rating. Surprisingly, this isn’t a common feature among fish finders. So, having it is quite nice.
The Garmin Striker 4 has two operating modes: Digital flasher and regular fish finder. The sonar readings are accurate, thanks to the CHIRP technology. This is something that you won’t find in any other portable ice fishing fish finder in this review.
And the great thing is that you can use the Striker 4 for more than ice fishing, which is something that doesn’t happen with other devices like the Humminbird ICE-45 or the Vexilar GP1812. All this for less than 150 dollars!
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder for Beginners: LUCKY Portable Fish Finder
This was a tough decision since there are many great options for beginners in this guide. For instance, the HawkEye 1C, the LUCKY portable fish finder, the Deeper PRO+, and the Venterior are all great options. However, we concluded that the LUCKY portable fish finder was the best option.
The LUCKY portable fish finder comes at a better price than both Deeper PRO+ and the HawkEye 1C. And you get a colored screen, which shows the same information plus the approximate depth of the fish.
Additionally, both the sonar and the finder come with rechargeable batteries, and the device is wireless. Moreover, both are equally easy to use. So, we think that those extra bucks are more than justified.
Buyers Guide: What You Should Know About Ice Fishing Fish Finders
Ice fishing fish finders seem a little complicated to use at first glance. It will take you some time to get a grasp on how to use your brand-new device. But once you do, it’s like riding a bike, you will never forget it.
The first thing that you should do is choose a device that best suits your needs. Here we will talk about a lot of relevant features to keep in mind when browsing the web for new ice fishing fish finders.
Ice fishing typically involves walking from one place to another. Thus, you should purchase something that you can carry around without too much trouble. Unless you are using a snow bike or something similar.
The unit size is important. Something too big will be difficult to carry around. However, a small fish finder also means a small screen.
Unless you are a bat, checking the finder screen is the only way you have to read the output of the sonar. Thus, you should make sure that it is big enough for you, that you can easily see it regardless of the weather condition, and have a decent resolution.
All transduce beans have a cone which narrows the spread of the sonar waves. Large angles are better to scan large areas but give less information. Whereas small angles provide more information at the expense of coverage.
Some Ice fish finders use more than one bean. Each one with different angles so you can have a clear picture of the underwater layout.
The quality of the sonar output depends on both the cone angle and the frequency. Higher frequencies yield more detail and work better on shallow waters. But they consume more power. In contrast, low-frequency beans are more suitable for deep water fishing. But you get less detail.
Some high-end ice fish finders come with a dual-frequency system, which gives you the best of both worlds.
Fish Finder Vs Flasher
The main difference between a flasher and a fish finder is that the latter shows a graph with the historical reads of the sonar. In contrast, a flasher shows real-time readings of the water column.
Naturally, flashers are better for ice fishing since you are fishing through a small hole. Thus, you only need the information on what’s directly beneath you.