Going out in the dead of winter to fish can be overwhelming to some, especially considering the extremely low temperatures. It is just so much easier to find and catch fish on sunny days but ice fisherman is a special breed of people and “fishing is life” so who cares about the cold we have our ice shelter and gas heater. And ice fishing anglers simply don’t mind the icy conditions. Fishing is all about the thrill of the catch, and finding fish can be difficult if all you see around you is ice. This is where ice fishing fish finders come in.
With so many brands offering fishing accessories, knowing where to start is not always easy. The good news is that we have compiled the 10 best fish finders for ice fishing. We also discuss important factors to consider during your search to get you started.
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder: Our Top Picks
Find out below why we chose these products to be in our list of top picks and get your favorite product:
Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder – LX-7
The Marcum LX-7 boasts an optimal blend of sonar DNA and fish finding technologies that deliver an interactive experience. The panoramic 8” LCD screen offers vibrant imagery. It has four color palettes that can be adjusted either manually or automatically. The backlighting is also adjustable, which is quite convenient when you want to extend the battery life. Talking of battery, this unit comes with a 12V battery and charger.
The LX-7 is powered by a sonar engine that provides images of underwater structures and fish on real-time display. It is incredibly fast, thanks to a transducer that picks up echo readings and relays them to the LCD screen in 0.2 seconds. Sonar Footprint Technology is used to deliver 3D coverage at any depth. The sonar has 0.5” target separation while the display allows you to zoom in on data in 1” increments.
Another notable feature is the dual beam transducer, which offers two options for 8-degree and 20-degree cone angles. The user-friendly display allows you to view target adjust, range, battery voltage, digital depth and more. There are multiple customization options offered including brightness and color, beam angle, how to view the windows, and target ID just to name a few.
- Quick generation of sonar readings
- Updatable fish finder software
- Clear and sharp images
- Backed by a two-year warranty
- Battery connectors are a little too loose
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ – GPS Portable Wireless Fish Finder
Deeper took the tackling industry by storm with their castable, smartphone fish finders. Their Pro Plus allows you to fish from the shore or boat. It can also function as a flasher to let you know what is in a water column and when it’s best to strike. The device is compatible with mobile devices running Android 4.0 or later and iOS 8.0 or later. The app offers access to more features like Weather Forecast, Solunar Forecast Calendar, and Fish Notes.
It operates on an independent wireless connection within a range of 330 feet. This is a huge improvement over the Bluetooth connection range of 140 feet. ABS construction makes this unit truly impact resistant and tough, even when 260 feet under water. The lithium polymer battery lasts up to 6 hours and takes two hours to recharge.
This fish finder operates on dual sonar frequencies, giving you detailed and crisp images. You don’t have to worry about missing anything because the sonar has high scanning speeds of 15 scans per second. The Split Screen mode makes it possible to view sonar feedback simultaneously.
- Bathymetric mapping feature
- Operates on dual sonar frequencies
- Split screen viewing capability
- Can be used as a flasher
- High scanning rate and clear images
- Replacement batteries are not readily available
Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
The Humminbird 5 Fish Finder comes with a 5” WVGA that makes it easy to view data. It uses a portable Chirp dual beam sonar to give you an incredibly clear view of underwater surroundings. The precision internal GPS chart plotting system with inbuilt Anima cartography provides plenty of maps to help you navigate unfamiliar waters safely. There is a microSD slot that can be used to upload more maps and save waypoints.
This unit hits a maximum depth of 1500 – 2500 feet. Like most Humminbird fish finders, this uses SwitchFire to provide complete control over sonar data return. You can account for water depth, experiment with lure presentations and add or remove detail at the touch of a button. Humminbird’s Smart strike ensures that you spend less time searching and more time fishing while AutoChart Live allows you to create detailed maps instantly.
- Large and colorful display
- High depth capacity of up to 2500 feet
- Offers clear views of fish and underwater terrain
- Comes stocked with plenty of maps for easy navigation
- Pricier than most fish finders on this list
Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder
The Garmin Striker 4 is an affordable and compact unit with a colored display that gives it a sporty look. It comes with a dual beam 77/200 kHz Chirp transducer that can be mounted on the transom of a trolling motor or boat. It has a maximum depth capacity of 830 feet in saltwater and 1750 feet in freshwater. The chirp sonar adds some real value because it delivers fewer cutlers, clearer images and better-defined targets. Target separation is incredible, and the ClearVu sonar makes it easy to find fish in gloomy waters.
The Fish ID+ feature helps target fish more precisely by analyzing sonar returns and showing icons on the screen. It lets you know the possible distance between fish and has a flasher mode, which comes in handy in ice fishing. There is a built-in GPS to help you navigate unfamiliar territory.
- High sensitivity GPS
- A-Scope feature displays passing fish in real time
- Can accommodate up to 5000 waypoints
- Auto gain technology maximizes targets
- Some customers did not receive a transducer
Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4.3 PT Fish Finder
The PiranhaMAX fish finders by Humminbird have long been a favorite for budget-minded recreational anglers. The PiranhaMax 4.3 PT comes with a large 4.3” screen that has 70% more pixels than older models. It uses the XNT 9 28 T, which operates on dual frequencies of 200 and 455 kHz. The transducer offers a wide coverage of 28-degrees and 16-degrees cone angles. The unit has 2400 watts PTP power output and a maximum depth capability of 600 feet. It is well accessorized with a portable case, 7 Amp battery & charger and portable transducer.
- Bigger and brighter display
- Good choice for temporary mounting on small boats
- Quality images at a low price
- Lacks GPS and Chirp sonar
Humminbird HELIX 5 SI Fish Finder with Side-Imaging and GPS
The Humminbird Helix 5 SI takes fish finding to a whole new level with DualBeam Plus, which covers more area while ensuring focus and accuracy in check. You get split screen experience with a narrow/wide cone, zoom in/out and more functionality. The transducer operates at 83 kHz and 200 kHz, covering 60-degrees and 20-degrees cone angles respectively. A 100 feet depth capability is a disappointing compared to other models with more than 500 feet capacity. However, it is good given the unit’s bargain price.
Another notable feature is the large 5” color TFT screen that has a display pixel matrix 800Hx480V. It has Side Imaging, which gives you clear views of right and left for up to 240 feet deep. The total coverage of 480 feet means getting more information on underwater terrain and contour with intense clarity. Down images are created at high frequencies to ensure detailed feedback. If you are feeling fancy, you will love the inbuilt precision GPS. It lets you know where you are and where you are headed and is more visually intuitive that the regular handheld GPS.
- Lightweight and compact
- Vivid display features like SwitchFire, Down Imaging, and Side Imaging
- MicroSD slot allows you to upload more routes and save data
- Backed by a 1-year warranty
- Some customers were disappointed with the preloaded mapping feature
How to Choose an Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Type of frequency
There are single, dual and multiple frequency ice fishing fish finders to choose from. And while each has its own set of pros and cons, your choice comes down to what best suits your needs. If fishing in shallow waters, something a higher frequency will benefit you. As the frequency increases, sonar images become clearer and more detailed images. Lower frequencies work best when fishing in deeper waters.
There is no denying that a colored screen makes it easier to see images. It allows underwater objects and fish to stand out from the stones and debris. Additionally, reading in the dark or poorly lit conditions is easier with colored screens. Consider going for backlight LED, as it boosts the performance of a colored screen. Black and white screen variations are also available at a lower price.
When it comes to the power source of a fish finder, there are three things to think about – charging time, wattage and longevity of batteries. The best ice fishing fish finders have higher wattage. This translates to a faster relay of sonar data from underwater.
Transducers are made from a variety of materials, and not all of them are suitable for every boat. Most manufacturers opt for plastic because it is weatherproof and doesn’t retain water. Plastic is also a perfect choice for casual fishing. However, if you plan on doing intense fishing, you should consider sturdier materials like stainless steel, wood, fiberglass, and bronze.
Ice fishing gets more exciting and enjoyable when you have the right equipment. When it comes to fish finders, there are many options to choose from. The finders reviewed in this post offer the best results, and come at different prices. For instance, the Deeper Smart Pro is an excellent choice for low budget needs. The Marcum LX-7 is a good contender if you are looking for high-end features.
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