The best ice fishing fish finder is what you’re looking for and this guide is here to show you. Ice fishing can be a great experience, but it can easily be a very uncomfortable chore once your time in the cold gets longer and longer. Ice fishing takes skill, but it also takes a lot of luck. But who needs luck when you’ve got technology on your side? That’s where the best fish finder comes in.
Fish finders use sonar to locate fish in the water under the ice. For any kind of ice fishing or vertical fishing, you’ll want the best ice fishing fish finder to eliminate much of the luck factor and make fishing a test of skill. Itching to get that next big catch under the ice? Here’s the guide I’ve made you to find out the best ice fishing fish finder for you.
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10 Best Ice Fishing Finder Review for 2021
In my search for the best ice fishing fish finder, Marcum’s LX-7 is the first device that made it to my list. It’s one of the most ideal devices for ice fishing. Its large 8-inch display is convenient to read in any fishing condition even in rough weather. The unique sonar footprint technology allows you a clear scan of your water column. From an 8-degree to 20-degree transducer cone angle, it provides crystal clear scan of any depth.
LX-7 comes with 800 x 600px on-screen dashboard digital display. You can read battery voltage, gain, range, digital depth alongside interference rejection.
One of the exclusive features of this device is its Multifaceted Sonar Display. The distinctive technology from Marcum provides vertical zoom, traditional graph displays and flasher-dial.
If you are looking for budget ice fishing fish finder, this might not be your choice. The expensive cost of the product is attracting attracts fewer customers. But on the other side, the devoted anglers look on the bright side of this product. It has adjustable night vision backlit dials for fishing during dark hours. Conclusively, all I can say is that it is the best ice fish finder for the money.
- Large 8-inch display
- Informative digital display
- Suitable for deep and shallow water fishing
- Long Battery life – 8 hour run time
- Customizable display
- Industry exclusive sonar footprint technology
- Reported cases of not working in shallow water
Coming from the best in the business, Ice H5 Chirp GPS G2 Fb is among the best fish finders Humminbird makes. This device is one of a kind that serves its purpose accurately. With a built-in base map, it is easy to know the structures and terrains under the ice. It is built with 800H x 480V resolution colour 5 inch TFT display. Its AutoChart Live feature creates a map of your fishing area in real time.
But wait, there’s more.
Ice H5 also has Dual Spectrum CHIRP Digital sonar that helps you get a clear view of the livings in the water. Similarly, SwitchFire Sonar technology allows it to access the temperature, details of turbulence and depth at the ease of pressing a button.
The manufacturers claim that it has the best sonar technology used for fishing. The end-users agree on the above claims.
- Accurate navigation
- High-speed display
- Precise depth and details
- Multiple display mode
Coming from the same manufacturer as the previous entry, ICE-55 is another useful ice-fishing equipment. Similar to that of ICE H5, ICE-55 satisfies any angler going for ice-fishing. The unique dual beam sonar system helps you differentiate the fish from terrains and structures under water.
While its other models, ICE-35 and ICE-45 have only three color display; it has six color fiber optic display. The device perfectly matches the expectation considering people will find it functional. Especially, the LCD is a perfect match for the cold weather. Even if it’s comparably cheaper than the ICE H5 model, the ICE-55 will still satisfy your ice fishing needs. You can personalize the beaming option to get your sonar coverage.
Similarly, the device also features a dynamic zoom that lets you go to a deeper section of water. Moreover, the adjustable depth range and auto range function let you read accurate depth details including depth range.
You might say that’s enough. But the company understands that avid anglers need more from it. For that reason, the company added adjustable sensitivity gain.
Also, the 9 AMP hour battery lets you enjoy ice fishing for a longer period without thinking about recharging.
The big dial button of the ICE-55 makes it easier to read the display even in the harsh snowy weather.
The device reaches depths up to 200 feet under the water with clear details of the surrounding which lists it obviously as one of the best ice fishing fish finder under 300 to 400.
- Long battery life
- Wider sonar range
- Big dial, six colour display
- LCD for harsh cold climate
- Customizable sensitivity
- Fails tracking small lures
Next on the list is the Smart Sonar DP1H10S10 from Deeper. The affordable smart sonar from Deeper uses wireless technology to find you fish under the ice. This wire-free lightweight fish finder is what you wish for your perfect ice fishing adventure. Portable is the right word to describe this device.
It has a round shape and consists of advanced high-frequency technology to find the fish.
Based on wi-fi technology, you have to connect it to your smartphone to make it work. It is up to the users to decide whether needing to connect to another device (i.e., your smartphone) is an ease or a burden.
Its GPS is precise. And it saves every hole you dig in the map. It also provides you with traditional sonar display alongside zooming function. Similarly, the bathymetric map system lets you find the hot spots with incredible saving, reviewing and analyzing function.
On the other side, it may not work out for people who are not familiar with smartphone use. Some folks do not like the idea of needing a smartphone/tablet for it to work. But if you ask me, I have no problem with how it works. The latency of Wi-Fi is much faster than that of Bluetooth.
It’s system displays the clear details of structures, terrains, and fish allowing you to have great fishing experience. It can scan down to 265 ft and beam as wide as 55 degrees.
- Easy and strong wireless connectivity
- Lightweight increases Portability
- Cable-free experience
- Bathymetric technology allows saving and analysing your maps
- Less Freezing
- A smartphone/tablet is a must
- Limited battery life span
5. Venterior VT-FF001 – Best Under $50
A very useful and convenient device is how users like to describe the Venterior VT-FF001 fish finder. The device can easily detect the flora, fauna, and the terrains under the water. It weighs around 1.1 pounds. This fish finder is what you want if you’re looking for portability.
The device is simple yet very practical. Its small screen size and fewer dial buttons may be hassle for some. But it has all the features that you will need for ice fishing.
The portable VT-FF001 can even work at -20° Celsius without malfunctioning. With a box packed 25 foot cable, Venterior’s fish finder can detect the water depth ranging from 3 feet to 328 feet. Fish alarm mode is helpful to know when you catch your target. It doesn’t tell you the size of the fish. But you can adjust the sensitivity to receive data on either big or small fish.
If you are looking for a best ice fishing fish finder under 300, I don’t see how you can go wrong with this device. Although its function is pretty basic, let me ensure you that this one is a bang for your buck. And for sure this device is among the best ice fishing fish finders.
- Good value for the money
- Easy to use
- 2-year warranty
- Customizable sensitivity
- The sensor is not waterproof
- Does not read the size of the fish
Vexilar is not far behind in manufacturing ice fishing fish finder equipment for devoted anglers out there. Similar to its FL-18 model, FLX-28 comes with good build quality. It can handle tough weather and environments. This device also has a digital display indicator. It reads the depth information digitally and processes it to your screen.
With a 300 feet range, it is easily accessible even in nighttime because of its night mode. The FLX-28 is an expensive device. But with price, comes an incredible list of features. It provides five color palettes to enhance greater visibility.
Similarly, this ice fishing device consists of Auto Range function with two zoom zones. The brushless data transfer technology lets you receive information fast and accurately.
Furthermore, it has 525 lines of resolution that gives you crystal clear display experience. You can adjust your interference rejection setting from a total 20 options. Its 12 volt 9 AMP hour battery is all you need for a longer ice fishing adventure. The battery volts and alerts on your display will update you about when you need to recharge.
- Long battery life
- Easier for fishing at night
- Accurate readings
- Need to dig deep from your pocket
Lowrance’s Hook-5 PPP-18i is state of the art in the ice fishing fish finders category. The device has CHIRP sonar technology that detects the surface, seaweeds, and fish accurately. It comes with a 5-inch colour display. And be confident because you can never go wrong with its brilliant high-resolution output on the screen.
The built-in GPS antenna is one of many hardware installed in this device. It allows you to position the hot spots for ice fishing correctly. Even if you are in the new water, you don’t have to hassle hours to find a great fishing spot.
If you live in the U.S., the detailed map of more than 3000 lakes is an extra feature you will rejoice. The device lets you record your sonar history. Later on, you can review and analyse it for better understanding of the fishing spots. With a portable ice fishing pack and transducer, the superior noise rejection enhanced sonar sensitivity will give you an enjoyable ice fishing experience.
- High-resolution display
- Reliability of the CHIRP sonar technology
- Accurate GPS functionality
- Lacks detailing on maps
Comparably inferior to its FL-28 model, FL-18 does not fall far behind when it’s about the functionality of the product. The product is well worth the price because it contains a premium feature that Vexilar offers in its other expensive products.
The FL-18 model gives you an accurate sonar reading. It also provides you detailed information about the rocks, fish, and terrains under the water. The dual beam ICE-ducer transducer system alongside three colour display will make your ice fishing experience easy and fun.
Similarly, the 9 AMP hour battery will give a long and smooth fishing experience to you and your fishing buddy. To optimize the battery usage, you can even toggle between the low and high power mode.
Additionally, the Auto Zoom mode lets you zoom deep under the water for a clear display of the underwater ecosystem. Through high-speed processing of data, you can read every detail in real time.
All of this comes at a steep price tag. But its sophisticated technology makes every penny worth it.
- Long battery life
- Adjustable power option for battery optimization
- Price is reasonable with features you get
- Good build quality
- Pretty expensive for most anglers
9. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer – Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder Under 300
The very affordable and one of the best ice fishing fish finder under 300 from Garmin comes at a price that you won’t have to bargain for. It’s among the best options for budget ice fishing fish finder devices. The simple to use Striker 4 comes with basic keypad dials that allow you to use the device easily even if you’re not tech savvy.
The lightweight portable Striker 4 comes with CHIRP sonar technology alongside CLEARVÜ scanning sonar system. This allows you to have a clean-cut, simple and, tidy image of the fish, and other structures under the ice which obviously makes it one of the best ice fishing fish finders.
Furthermore, the waypoint map system lets you navigate through several locations under water. This device is available is 3.5 inch, 5 inches and 7-inch display sizes.
- Accurate readings in deep and shallow water
- 12v battery increases your fishing time
- Screen blinking and fading in reported cases
- Fewer features in comparison to other pricey fish finders
Elite-3X from Lowrance is an easy to use ice fishing depth finder. This device is made for general purposes rather than only ice fishing in particular. But across the globe, all its users have to say is it just works fine with finding fish under the ice. So this allows you to try your luck on shore and boat fishing.
The price tag is also lower in comparison to most other ice fishing fish finder. It has 256 colour LED display. The 320*240p screen is enough for ice fishing during both day and night. It operated on 83Khz sonar operation that covers up to 60 degrees of fishing area.
Using this equipment, you can automatically adjust the setting for a clearer view of fish underwater. This allows you to have a crystal clear information of the fish, terrains, and other structures under the water.
- Affordable price range
- A wider view of the fishing area
- Also can be used for other forms of fishing like boat fishing
- Provides detailed information
- Fewer features in comparison to other ice fishing fish finder
- Not made particularly for ice fishing
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder Buying Guide
What is an Ice Fishing Fish Finder?
An Ice Fishing Fish Finder works just like traditional fish finders. It helps detect and track individual fish and schools of fish and relay other information such as depth of the water, fish school distribution, and even the terrain and condition of the seabed.
While most fish finders can be used for ice fishing, dedicated ice fishing fish finders will have better features when fishing during the cold winter months. In fact, while open water fish finders may have a minute-long time delay, ice fishing fish finders and flashers display real-time activity in the water, allowing you enough time to prepare for a strike. Additionally, ice fishing fish finders are also built to function in sub-zero temperatures.
How does an Ice Fishing Fish Finder work?
An ice fishing fish finder uses a transducer to send SONAR waves into the water. Whenever the wave hits an object it bounces back to the source. The fish finder then analyzes the data and displays the location of the fish or underwater structure.
During ice fishing, you’re almost always unable to see your tackle and what’s going on below the ice. However, with the help of an ice fishing fish finder, you can easily find out where your tackle is on the column of water you’re currently fishing in. Furthermore, you’ll be able to see whenever there’s a fish that’s coming near the elevation of your tackle to better prepare you for a strike.
What is the best ice fishing fish finder?
The title of best ice fishing fish finder goes to the Humminbird Ice H5 Chirp GPS G2. It combines the sophisticated technologies of both CHIRP and SwitchFire Sonar Technology. With those, you can have a clear map of the ecosystem and terrain under the ice. You can also have important information such as water temperature, water depth, and water turbulence which can all lead to knowing the exact type of fish that’s swimming under the ice.
While it comes with a steep price tag, the Humminbird ICE-H5 contains almost all of the features a devoted angler would look for in a fish finder. Whether you’re a professional or still a greenhorn, this device will suit all your ice fishing needs.
Types of Fish Finders
3D Fish Finder
This type of fish finder uses a software algorithm that combines data obtained from a side imaging transducer. The end result is a 3D image of the area you want to display such as fish and underwater structures. This is useful for studies where your goal is to identify the relationship between fish and structure.
Ice Fishing Finder or Flasher
These fish finders are designed specifically for vertical fishing such as ice fishing. Unlike imaging fish finders that display with a significant time delay, these finders or flashers display real-time data and locations of objects in your immediate water column such as fish. This gives you the advantage of knowing when exactly a fish will strike and if your lure or tackle is in the right depth for fish to notice.
Castable Fish Finder
These kinds of fish finders can be attached to your terminal tackle and cast far into the water. Castable fish finders usually have Bluetooth and wi-fi technology to display information to an angler’s phone or tablet. This is useful for shore anglers who won’t be fishing from a boat or structure directly on the water’s surface.
Chartplotter Fish Finder
This kind of fish finder makes use of both sonar and advanced mapping technology to chart fish activity within a large area of water such as lakes. This is great for boat anglers who want to chart a fishing course that will yield the largest quantity of catch. The uploaded data can also prove useful for those who are newcomers to a fishing area so they can know exactly where the fish are concentrated.
Features to Look for in an Ice Fishing Fish Finder
The battery life defines the quality of the best ice fishing fish finder. As it is a pretty big deal for most of the ice anglers. Leaving the fishing spot to rush towards your charging port can be a hassle. And if you have a quick-tempered issue, trust me draining the battery in the middle of ice fishing does not help. So, it is a wise decision to properly evaluate and compare battery life and battery span of all products before buying one.
When you think of buying a product, features is what you look for. Some products may have a wide array of features while some might have less. But a product with a large number of features is not always the best option for you. You might be a rookie who is just getting along with ice fishing. In that scenario, it might be better for you to buy ice fish finder with a minimum but adequate feature for your learning.
A large number of features with a lot of dial buttons might create confusion. So look for a device with features that you need and intend to use.
Also, price plays a bigger role. The more the features, the higher the price and vice-versa. So, I recommend you to choose wisely.
Another crucial factor to consider is the display of the ice fishing fish finder. The display comes with a variety in sizes ranging from 3 inches to 8 or 9 inches in general. Many prefer a huge screen that lets you read the data at a glance. While some other likes to stick with the medium-sized screen.
Some uses LED screen while other has an LCD screen. Depending upon the weather of the fishing spot, one can choose between the two.
Similarly, the resolution of the display is also a prime element. A high-resolution display is always a better choice for you convenient. But that comes with increment in price. So, it’s up to you to choose.
Higher the power, higher are the chances of data processing and data output and vice versa. So, I suggest you go for a model that uses higher power for data readings while choosing from the best ice fishing fish finder.
FAQs About Ice Fishing Fish Finders
Is an ice fishing fish finder necessary for ice fishing?
Not really. But it will make ice fishing easier and even more exhilarating.
Are ice fishing transducers universal?
No, you will have to find a transducer that is compatible with the display unit of the fish finder you are using. Some transducers may be compatible with different display units, but it doesn’t mean they are compatible with all. Ice fishing transducers are built specifically to endure ice-cold temperatures and stay steady as it floats on your ice hole.
Is using ice fishing fish finders cheating?
No, it’s not. Many veteran anglers use fish finders to chart waters for the best spots to fish in. And when you’re ice fishing, you reduce the factor of luck while increasing the factor of skill when you use a fish finder.
Are ice fishing fish finders waterproof?
Many but not all fish finders are waterproof. However, the best ice fishing fish finder should be. Ice fishing can end you up in rough weather such as blizzards and snowstorms. And if you’re going to brave it out in the cold, your gear should be able to work in it.