If you are into ice fishing, you must carry know-how about the details of your equipment. Selecting one of the best ice fishing fish finders can make finding the catch easy. Let us tell you more about this in detail.
Ice fishing is basically an activity that is carried out when the temperature drops down severely. While some people love to embrace the heat of a good chimney fire, others love to explore outside world with ice fishing. Ice fishing is done when a thick layer of ice coated lakes. Fishermen dig a hole and then lower down the rod and reel to allow the fish to catch the bait.
best ice fishing fish finders
Nowadays, the method of ice fishing is the same. Yet the difference remains in the equipment used. Anglers now use augers to reach water by digging a hole, shelters for protection from winds, ice fishing finders, radars and several other new-tech fishing equipments. In this article, I will focus on the best ice fishing fish finders and will try to tell readers about how to choose the best one.
Let’s kick off the countdown with a straight comparison list of the ice fishing fish finders we have decided to include. Have a good look at the table and read on.
Varied display sizes
Easy to use and install, comes with a waypoint map
7 inch HD LCD monitor
Night vision, TFT screen, cold-resistant, water proof
One of the best flasher
Single flasher sonar system
Digital depth readout, 300-foot max range
Portable and handy
Fish Trax intelligent sonar
Virtu View HD color display, ice-mode digital flasher, fish depth identifier
Portable and handy
2-in-1 display, vibrant display, down scan imaging
Garmin CHIRP sonar
Built-in GPS, dual-beam transducer, bright display
Sonar footprint technology
User-selectable pallets, transducer cone angles, target adjust, IR
Precise internal GPS
CHIRP dual bean PLUS Sonar
5inch WVGA display, micro SD card slot, Anima cartography
5.7-inch screen, a-scope, bottom lock, fast transmission rate up to 3,000 PRR
Handheld fish finder
Fish and bottom contour readout, depth readout, 328 ft depth limit, sensitivity modes
1.Garmin Striker portable - a simple and easy to use
If you love the minimalistic approach of electronics and want to buy a fish finder with such function, then Garmin Striker can make things easy for you. The finder clearly displays the power of simple through a keyed interface and dedicated buttons. The device is so easy to use that even kids can locate fish with this finder.
Available in 3 display sizes ranging from 3.5- to 7- inch displays, the finder comes with a waypoint map that assists magically in finding and navigating locations such as docks, piles and stumps. One main highlight of this finder is the in-built CHIRP Sonar which sends a sweep of frequencies beneath the ice offering a wider range of information. This creates crisper fish arches with precise target separation. The built-in flasher helps you to view sonar data in a flasher format which is still perceived as ideal for ice fishing or vertical jigging.
Have a look at the video that explains how to use flasher fish finder.
The only drawback of this finder is that it does not come pre-built with maps like all other finders of today. Also, the GPS is wobbly and sometimes shows things that are not present, which leads to a waste of time and energy.
2.Anysun Professional Fishing Video Camera - professional fish finder with HD monitor
For anglers who wish to leave no loophole in catching their fish beneath the ice, Anysun underwater fish finder is the ideal choice. The main highlight of this fish finder remains a 7 inch TFT color LCD HD monitor that almost gives you an experience similar to watching an underwater documentary. Who would say no to that?
The Anysun fish finder camera is equipped with night vision to let you explore the sea beneath your foot even during dark hours. The equipment is fully waterproof and 15m cable is provided for better accessibility.
Some other features of this just about perfect fish finder include:
The size of this fish finder is big and hence, the gear seems bulky. This makes it tough to carry for fishing sessions away from home. Also the price is on the higher side.
3.Vexilar FLX-28 with Pro View Ice Dusar - a complete package
If you often get confused by the options presented by modern-day fish finders, you might fall in love with Vexilar FLX-28 fish finder or flasher. This is simply one of the best flashers available in the market and often acts as the ‘can’t do it without’ gear for ice fishing lovers.
With minimal setup and a power connection, you can start using Vexilar and locate fish easily and effortlessly. The minimalistic screen might look old school but is really useful and easy to operate. You get the options of reading digital depth and battery voltage along with power supply alerts. The fish finder also comes equipped with auto range settings.
Vexilar can be used for both day and night fishing and detects meat up to 300-foot depth. With features like a wish list of ice angler, the Vexilar satisfies different personalities with easy and varied fish finding operations. The demo mode that accompanies this fantastic gadget shows how the system works with lifelike stimulation. The features are plenty. Established in the market as a flasher performance, this device is an improved version of its predecessor. The brushless transfer data design system and digital depth work miraculously along with a unique Auto Ranging technology.
Vexilar is a basic flashing setup rather than a complete fish finder which is its major disadvantage. Also, the rare availability adds to the dilemma of purchasing or denying this ice fishing tool.
4.Hawkeye Fishtrax - a portable and user-friendly fish finder
Hawkeye is probably the handiest and portable fish finder you can carry along in your journey to catch the best fish beneath the ice. Its use is as convenient as its model and built quality. From the first look, the fish finder resembles a retro phone or a walkie-talkie that fits our palm easily. Who would not love such a device? Now you don’t need to carry bulks of equipment for finding a fish. Hawkeye is the dream gadget for ice fish lovers.
The fish finder comes with not only great portability but surpassing functionality as well. It offers users the ability to see things happening below the surface in real-time. This provides data instantaneously and one can make the adjustments in the hook.
The best part of this gear is that it can be coupled with plenty of additional add-ons and equipment. The versatile unit can be used for different purposes and even for normal fishing on a boat. It works great in almost every type of weather. It is a gadget waiting to be used.
The fish finder has a poor battery backup. One can keep its function going on by replacing the fresh batteries now and then. However, replacing battery can become tedious sometimes.
5.Lowrance fish finder with GPS - a finder that shows almost everything beneath
If you don’t like to come across ambiguities while searching for a fish beneath, you might consider buying Lowrance fish finder with GPS. This is literally a screen that shows everything from the under-ice world. The first main feature of this finder is that it has great displays with high resolution. The 5-inch screen can be molded anywhere and allows you to see what’s underwater through vibrant colors. It picks different objects while differentiating fishes through separate colors.
The GPS accompanied with this finder works wonder for anglers. It displays you your favorite fishing spot and does it in an accurate way. Next comes the efficient CHIRP Sonar it is coupled with. It simply detects more and more fish in your area so that you are occupied all day long.
The trackback feature in Lowrance finder helps you detect a location where you found plenty of fish last year. It remembers and helps users by tracking back the hot spots for ice fishing. Now you can concentrate more on catching that locating best spots to start the fishing session. Other features include broadband sounder and down scan imaging sonar options.
While using the fish finder, you might find it quite hard to put in the power plug. This means that it is not that portable and can be tough to install.
6.Garmin Striker Plus 4 with dual beam transducer - a mix of simplicity and durability
This is an ideal preference for those who love modern day gadgets rather than the traditional machines for finding fish. And if portability is what you are looking for, you should buy this without any doubt. The easy to use, store and charge Garmin Striker Plus 4 comes with an elegant design resembling a smartphone.
The handy fish finder includes a dual-beam transducer and Garmin CHIRP Sonar. Also, the in-built mapping software helps to create and store self-personalized maps up to 2 million acres with 1’ contours. The display shows every point including fish and object details.
Garmin Striker serves as the best fishfinding detective for active ice anglers. It helps you in marking waypoints with the help of GPS. You can also create routes using inbuilt GPS. Also, anglers have been getting creative with this gear by leading new shortcuts and viewing boat’s speeds.
The intuitive display can be observed in darkest weather as well as in the brightest sunlight. The rugged design helps users to get a firm grip on the device which makes its usability and functionality more premium.
One point that comes in the way of Garmin Striker 4 becoming the best fishing finder is its questionable mounting capability. Also, the tag with the finder is a bit overpriced.
7.Marcum LX - 7 Ice Fishing Sonar - the most futuristic ice fishing finder
If you have a soft edge for the futuristic gadgets and want to see the glimpse of it in your ice fishing session, there’s no need to look further than Marcum LX-7 ice fishing sonar. For starters, this fish finder has the largest screen in this list. It’s an 8 inch LCD display that resembles a tablet you can be used for watching movies. One can alter user-defined settings and change different elements to be displayed. You can see points and marks with pinpoint accuracy.
The main ability of this fish finder is that you can leave the guesswork and see fish with accuracy. The close proximity fishes are located in an instant with the help of half-inch target separation.
Some other highlighted features include:
Talking about the shortcomings, I found out that the case is a little on the ordinary side compared to other contenders. It could have been better.
8.Hummingbird Helix, Chirp Sonar fish finder - another fish finder from the future
The Hummingbird chirp Sonar has transformed the way the game of hunting fish on frozen water was perceived. It has provided a new way of cutting-edge technology through which fish can be located effortlessly. Equipped with a dazzling 800Hx480V color TFT display, the fish finder delivers incredible accuracy and clarity.
Build from an optimum blend of Sonar, the Hummingbird Helix comes equipped with dual spectrum CHIRP Sonar. This helps in clearly watching fish and lowering down bait in the exact position. With a dazzling array of fish-finding precursors, the Helix has six new chirp interference rejection settings. The efficient mechanism keeps away sonar signals that usually clutter our screens.
For those who love to explore the world beneath the ice, transducers might be a familiar word. With Hummingbird finder, you can use a transducer to transfer it to your boat and even enjoy the thrills of summer fishing. What’s more? You can choose from a wide range of options in viewing screen including specific angler display and combo visuals. This sonar provides help in finding out the best fish bite spot.
The only shortcoming of this spectacular beast is that it is expensive. For regular anglers, it might take up some of their fortunes to buy this fish finder.
9.Furuno color LCD fish finder - an epitome of new fish finding technology
Furuno might stay at the bottom part of our list but has features that can make it as one of the most ideal fish finders today. With the use of futuristic technology, this one is a strong competitor when it comes to accuracy and speed.
It comes with features like accu-fish, Rezboost and bottom discrimination. The 5.7-inch screen size might not be too big, but is surely crisp and easy to read. It comes with a 600-watt transmitter that operates with 50/200 kHz frequency. With features like a bottom lock, zoom view and a-scope, the instrument is well made to provide a fast transmission rate up to 3,000 PRR per minute at 5-meter depth.
The new technology proves to revolutionize ice fish finding with enhanced resolution and target separation. By using a narrowband transducer, the Rezboost comes into play acting as a technology for improving the resolution of viewing and crisper visuals. The accu-fish function comes improved that also provides fish size and other assessment.
The fish finder does not come with a transducer which makes its operation a bit of an aggravation. The depth you can achieve will depend on the transducer you will use.
10.Lucky Portable fish finder - simple, elegant and easy to use
How good can things become if the fish finder does not increase your bulk weight yet help increase your adventure meters for ice fishing? Lucky portable fish finder with sonar wired is one such gadget that is manufactured keeping both affordability and portability in mind. At first, you might mistake this as a hand-held video game. But as you search down deep into its functioning, you will notice how easy this fish finder is to use.
The features provided are plenty. The list starts with fish and bottom read countdown, water depth display, 45-degree cone underwater transducer detector range and goes on with features like 5 sensitivity modes and up to 100m sonar detection range.
Other specifications include:
One more unique highlight of this equipment is that it comes with removable transducer float, rubber stopper, transducer side-scan adapter, neck strap, wing nut and stainless bolt.
The major drawback here is that it lacks of proper display elements, small screen and lack of traditional fishfinding options. Also, the accuracy is not up to the mark and it’s not wireless.
Ice Fishing Finder buying guide
Nowadays, technology has breached every aspect of our lives. From LED lights to Bluetooth headphones, it is everywhere. And it has emerged as an important part of the lives of ice fishing experts. The technology-driven fish finders have taken the burden of spending hours looking for fish from our shoulders. Now, you don’t need to base your ice fishing camp where there is not fish. You can simply dig a hole where the majority of the fish is present.
Looking at the list of best ice fishing fish finders is only one part of the story. Buying the best one is the second part. And to help you with this, I have created this useful fish finder buying guide so that you get the best out of the money.
Types of fish finders
Things to look for in fish finder
The type of Sonar: sonar is basically an instrument that helps detect the fish under the seabed by sending a pulse of ultrasound beneath. When the pulse bounces off either from the seabed or from the fish. This way, the signals are displayed if the pulse bounces from the fish and location of the fish are detected.
Most of the fish finders today make use of CHIRP Sonar. It comes with an ascending frequency range. Other popular type includes flasher sonar that spots any fish passing between the bottom and you. The sweeping 2D sonar creates detail surrounding graph area.
Display Type: fish finders either have LCD types display or analog types. The LCD clearly shows the location of the fish with graphical presentation while the analog flashes signals to provide an estimate of the fish location. The Sonar model provides a planar 2D display which refreshes the details after every sweep. The modern-day displays might come with video camera feeds or combination of multiple Sonar. There are various display sizes available in the market. Ranging from 8-inch to 3-inches, the size options are different and varied.
Pixel density is another important part in the display of fish finders. More pixels simply mean better and crisper details of creatures. High pixel displays give a good representation of the world below you with improved split-screen images. High pixels also mean good resolution.
Fishfinders nowadays even provide the visuals of the bladders of fishes swimming near the bottom. It shows separate targets closely located to another. The display contrast must also be sharp to be used in the order in a good way.
Transmit Power: deciding on the transmit power of the fish finder decides the strength of the ping of the tool. It is expressed in root mean square or RMS power. The transmit power is directly related to the ability of the fish finder in operating in silt-laden water. The better the transmit power, the better you are going to see down to the greatest depths.
High and appropriate transmit power helps in successfully resolving separate targets. For instance, a fish finder operating on 500-watt RMS has plenty of power for good coastal applications. Experts might look for finders operating on power even above than this to locate the fish and catch it from the deepest waters. For shallow bottom ice fishers, a 200-watt power is sufficient. You should decide on your preference before buying the finder.
Transducers: These are the add-on equipment to various fish finders. The main function of transducers is to provide you the ability to look sideways, straight, down or all around. In other words, it increases the coverage area of a fish finder. With high frequency, transducers can aim in a 360-degree manner. There is a huge assortment of fishfinder transducers that can resolve your fish finding problems. These vary in frequencies, beam widths and underwater direction.
For shallow water anglers, transducers can work wonder by giving the ability to look sideways instead of deep down. Severs fish finders come with transducers and others can be coupled with them. There are multi-beam transducers that can help in elevating the area of fish detection under ice. One can choose to buy transducers according to the purpose. The main varieties available in the market are:
Style and shape of transducers: the shape and style of transducers helps in determining the effort required to install them. There are thru hull types that are difficult to install yet provide good displacement power through depth and temperature sensor. The second types are the transform-mount ones that come with an adjustable angle bracket for easy mount.
This type of transducers come with simple installation but might work ordinarily in a highly turbulent flow. Then there are in-hull types requiring no contact with water. They can be glued inside the hull. The last ones are trolling motor types that are clamped to the inside of the propeller of the boats and act as convenient fish finders.
Till now, you must have analyzed the different aspects of buying the best ice fishing fish finders. I have tried my best to reveal different assets that should be considered to get value for your money. As per my observance, the best ice fishing fish finders is the Garmin Striker 4 portable with a dual beam tranducer fish finder.
The reason for selecting this particular one is that it offers the best of both the worlds. The features are in abundant and varied sized screen gives a minimal yet clear display. Also, the fish finder is best for experienced as well as an entry-level fish angler. It could be used by everyone and is easy to set up. Different ad-on can be implemented and hence, this fish finder is suitable for different levels of ice fishing. This is probably the best one available in the market.
If you are interested in getting a visual review of the finder I chose, do take time to look at this video.
Fish finders are technically gadgets from the future that helps us locate, find and finally catch our fish beneath the hard sheet of natural ice. Fish finders act as eyes of a polar bear that work with smart precision in freezing climates to catch the fish we wish. An ice fishing session usually starts and ends with the help of fish finders. Hence, the hobby remains incomplete without this gear.
With a hope that this piece of writing has enlightened several ice fishing enthusiasts about the best options available there, I would like to conclude by saying that you should stay safe all the time while indulging in this amusing hobby. Get hands on the best finder and secure your catch in the most reliable way. Happy ice fishing.
Related Guide and Tips from Outdoorsdoc Lists: