Ice fishing is a tradition that dates back centuries. It is a highly specialized practice that consists of catching fish with hooks or lines through an opening of a frozen body of water. It is a practice that requires a lot of patience and endurance but is one that can also be extremely relaxing and rewarding.
The history of ice fishing is rooted in survival as it was an essential practice carried out to source food in remote locations. Today, ice fishing is one of the most popular categories of angling and is carried out all over the world as both a profession and a hobby.
When temperatures drop, lakes and rivers will freeze over, sealing various forms of fish underneath the ice. When this happens, anglers will layer up, equip themselves with the proper protective gear, and head out to find themselves a spot to drill a hole into the ice. Luckily, there are devices out there that are designed to help anglers find the perfect fishing spot. These devices are known as ‘fish finders’.
Fish finders will prevent you from wasting time and resources by enabling you to locate where the fish are and where they are moving to. Whether you are ice fishing, shore fishing, kayak fishing, or bank fishing, fish finders are an incredibly helpful device to have and will undoubtedly, revolutionize your fishing experience.
If you are on the market for a fish finder, we know it can be difficult to know which device to choose. With so many options, it can be overwhelming, and the last thing you want to do is spend money on something that isn’t going to satisfy your preferences. To help you pick the right fish finder, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite fish finders on the market. We have also answered some questions that we think you might find helpful and have put together a short buyer’s guide to help you with your search!
Top 5 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders
OUR TOP PICK
The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Wireless Fish Finder is one of the most advanced and innovative fish finders on the market. The device will not only allow you to monitor the movement of the fish below the ice but it will allow you to determine the water temperature, depth, and bottom contour of the surface.
It will also enable you to monitor the depressions, humps, and marginal shelves of the ground whilst measuring the thickness of the greenery below. With this device, your fishing trips are likely to become a lot more efficient and successful.
The PRO+ uses WIFI rather than Bluetooth and can be easily connected to your Android or iOS device. This allows for a much faster transfer of data and a much stronger connection. By downloading the ‘Deeper’ app, you will be able to monitor the fish movement and observe the underwater life. The GPS will enable you to record bathymetric maps from every location you have fished.
You will then be able to refer back to the app in order to determine which areas are worth returning to. The PRO+ has a huge casting range of 330ft/100m and can scan as deep as 260ft/80m into the water. You can also use the multiple frequency feature to scan both broad and shallow sections for various levels of detail.
The device will take no longer than a few seconds to install and there is no requirement for batteries or cables. If you are looking for a high-performing, incredibly accurate and lightweight fish finder, the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Wireless Fish finder would be a fantastic option for you.
- -Extremely accurate
- -Can scan down to 260ft in the water
- -Can easily connect to most smartphones and tablets
- -Inbuilt GPS which enables you to create bathymetric maps
- -Easy to install and use
- -Not the cheapest option
- Perfect GIFT for any angler! Our best ever PRO+ offer - get the No.1 castable fish finder plus FREE high-quality PETZL headlamp worth $30.
- The PRO+ casts further, scans deeper so you never miss a fish. The PETZL Tikka has 100 lumens, wide beam lighting – ideal for fishing, camping, hiking.
- The PRO+ is THE perfect fishing gadget. Wi-Fi connected fish finder; NO internet or cell data needed, works with iOS and Android phones / tablets.
- Only fish finder with GPS-enabled onshore mapping! Cast to make depth maps live on your smartphone, then view and share on your home computer.
- Get instant detailed data on fish location, depth, temp, vegetation and more - up to 330ft away! Catch more fish from SHORE, BOAT, KAYAK and on ICE.
The Garmin Skriker 4 is a user friendly, high-performance fish finder that will allow you to not only locate the fish but mark and return to your fishing hot spots. This high-frequency device will give you near-photographic images and detailed representations of exactly what lies beneath the ice.
You can use the finder’s waypoint map to easily view, mark, and navigate different locations such as stumps, docks, and brush piles. It will also indicate the water temperature, water depth and shape and contour of the ground’s surface. Its maximum depth range is 750ft in saltwater and 1600 ft in freshwater.
The device functions by sending a sweep of continuous frequencies from the Chirp Sonar transducer. The transducer also offers a range of frequency levels of 50, 77, and 200kHz which will allow you to monitor a range of different depths. The device features a built-in flasher that enables you to view the data in a clear but traditional way.
The GPS also allows you to mark up waypoints so that you can determine exactly what locations are worth returning to. This fish finder boasts a detailed color display that is available in a 3.5, 5, or 7-inch screen enabling you to clearly read the under-ice patterns. This fish finder is particularly great when it comes to working in frigid temperatures so, at such a reasonable price, the Garmin Strike 4 would be a brilliant choice for any ice-fishing angler.
- -Good battery life
- -Highly pixilated and detailed display
- -Performs incredibly well in the most frigid of conditions
- -Has an IPX7 water resistance rating
- -Built-in classic flasher
- -Doesn’t work as well in shallow waters
- Clear Vu scanning Sonar shows you more of what is in the water around your boat; This high frequency sonar gives near photographic images with detailed representations of objects, structure and fish
- The power of simple offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons; The device is easy to use and easy to install; Available in 3.5, 5 and 7 inch display sizes; Water rating IPX7
- Waypoint map: Use the way point map to easily view, mark and navigate to locations such as brush piles, stumps and docks; Maximum depth 1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet saltwater; Current draw at 12 volt: 0.23 Ampere
- Chirp Sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which provides a wider range of information; Chirp Sonar is able to create crisper fish arches with better target separation
- Built in flasher: View your sonar data in the classic flasher format; Ideal for ice fishing or vertical jigging. Display size: 1.9 x 2.9 inches (4.9 x 7.3 centimeter); 3.5 inches diagonal (8.7 centimeter)
The Lucky Handheld Ice Fishing Fish Finder offers a winning combination of affordability and performance. Able to detect and display fish location, water depth, temperature, sand, rocks, and weeds, this fish finder does absolutely everything an ice fisher would ever need.
The detection range of this device is 3ft to 328ft. This will allow you to monitor a range of different locations, whether you’re ice fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing, kayak fishing or shore fishing. Whilst this device is small, portable, and lightweight, it is extremely powerful and able to support 4-5 hours of continuous work.
The device also comes with 5 sensitivity options which will allow you to save battery power where you can. We would recommend that you bring a spare set of 4 x AAA batteries with you if you are going to be out fishing for a long period of time, just as a precaution.
The device has a 2 inch LCD color display with blue LED backlighting. This will ensure that you will have no issues reading the data even in poorly-lit conditions. When using the Lucky Ice Fishing Finder, you should clear the snow from the ice layer and put the device directly on the ice surface.
This will allow you to monitor the conditions below and you can then go ahead and drill your hole. This device is a no-fuss, easy-to-use, impressively accurate fish finder, and would be a great companion to any angler.
- -Great value for money
- -Lightweight and portable
- -Comes with 5 sensitivity options to help reduce battery usage
- -Extremely accurate
- -Can be used for all sorts of fishing types whether that’s ice fishing, shore fishing, kayak fishing, or sea fishing
- -Not as waterproof as some of the other options
- ◆ Fishes and bottom contour readout: LUCKY fish finder portable detects and displays water depth, approximate fish location, short & tall weeds, sand & rocks on bottom. Fish finder portable design gives you another option to hang it around neck.
- ◆ The kayak fish finder suits for variety fishes fishing environments: It can be used for off shore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing and so on. You can also use handheld fish finder on the moving kayak with speed below 5mph.
- ◆Depth readout: The fish finder portable detector range is in a 45°cone underwater. The detection of depth range is from 3ft(1m) to 328ft (100m) below fishing sonar transducer. The water depth can be shown either in feet or meter. The fishing sonar sensor is with 25 ft cable and removable transducer float.
- ◆ Small portable fish finder with powerful functions: 5 modes sensitivity options; battery save mode; backlight mode; fish and fish school alarm. Normally fishing depth finder supports 4-5 hours continuous working with brand new batteries. Open battery save mode can be working even longer.
- ◆ Warranty Policy: We offer 12 months warranty for LUCKY fish finder portable. It will be one of your best fishing kayak accessories. Any questions before or after purchase, please feel free to contact us via Amazon message (response within 24 hours every day online).
The Ricank Portable Fish Finder is another wonderful device that will be sure to make your ice fishing experience a whole lot better. It is an affordable, modest option for anyone who prefers a more traditional style of fish finding.
Whilst the device isn’t equipped with the fanciest, high-definition display, the screen is extremely easy to read and understand. The device comes with a yellow float that is connected to a transducer which will make it a lot easier to spot in the water.
No matter what location or conditions you are fishing in, the float will ensure that you don’t lose sight of the sonar. This fish finder has a depth range of up to 300ft and a cone range of 45 degrees which will monitor the conditions of both shallow and deeper waters.
This device is both portable and lightweight making it a perfect option for anyone who is going to be walking or traveling a lot on their fishing expeditions. The battery of this device will last between 4 and 5 hours but with various sensitivity modes, you will be able to make the device last longer.
This fish finder is a great option for anyone looking for a budget-friendly, simple device that will be just as useful for ice fishers, as it would be for shore-fishers, bank fishers, lake fishers, and kayak fishers.
- -Has a detection range of 1m-100m
- -Comes with several accessories including a neck strap and a removable transducer float
- -Simple and easy to assemble and use
- -Able to detect a variety of underwater variables
- -Comes with several power-saving battery modes
- -Not very water-resistant
- 【Fishes and Contour Readout】The fish finder portable detects and displays water depth, approximate fish location, fish size, short & tall weeds, sand & rocks on bottom.
- 【Suitable for Various Fishing Ways】It can be used for off shore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing , river fishing, and so on. It will be one of your best fishing accessories.
- 【Depth Readout】 The fish finder portable detector range is in a 45°cone underwater. The detection of depth range is from 3ft(1m) to 328ft (100m) below fishing sonar transducer. The fishing sonar sensor is with 25 ft cable and removable transducer float. Water depth shows by meters/feet.
- 【Powerful Functions】5 modes sensitivity options; battery save mode; backlight mode; fish alarm; unit of measure. Normally fishing depth finder supports 4-5 hours continuous working with brand new batteries. Open battery save mode can be working even longer.
- 【Package Included】1. Fish Finder Display 2. Sonar Sensor (Transducer) with 25ft cable 3. Removable Transducer Float with Rubber Stopper 4.Transducer Side-Scan Adapter 5. Stainless Bolt and Wing Nut 6.Neck Strap 7.Operation Manual.
Humminbird is a fantastic brand that offers a wide range of fish finders to suit different conditions and preferences. The 410210-1 Helix Fish Finder is one of the brand’s most popular models. It is known for its uncompromising widescreen color display which offers a resolution of 480x800 pixels.
The display is also backlit meaning you will be able to see and read the screen regardless of the lighting conditions. This model is also one of the first reasonably priced fish finders to offer side imaging. It will allow you to acquire side imaging for a depth of 100ft and a terrain of 480ft, with a good 180 degree look around.
The device does this by pulsing a frequency of 455kHz on each side. The Helix 5 will also enable you to see right what’s under the ice or your boat with its down-imaging feature. This will allow you to see high-resolution images at a ‘fish eye’s view’ of what lays beneath the surface.
The device also comes with a DualBeam and Chirp Sonar. These features will allow you to balance clarity and distance by enabling you to choose between narrow and wide beams.
Equipped with GPS and a micro SD, you will also be able to collect and store data about your local fishing spots so that you will know which exact locations are worth returning to.
This device is one of the best fish finders you will see on the market. Whilst it may not be the cheapest of options, its price does not come without reason.
- -Clear and crisp HD display
- -Micro SD slot for saving and storing maps and data
- -Extremely lightweight and easy to maneuver
- -Easy to operate
- -Versatile in terms of where it can be used
- -Some buyers have reported issues with the attachment clips breaking
- 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
- Precision Internal GPS Chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography
- Micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints
- Target Separation - 2.5 Inches
- CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar. Power Output RMS : 500 Watts. Power Draw : 615 mA
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders Buying Guide
If you are in the market for a fish finder, there are various questions you will need to ask yourself. Like, what type of frequency should the fish finder have? What power source will the finder use? And what materials should the finder be constructed with? Picking the right fish finder for ice fishing requires a lot of research and careful consideration of several factors.
To help you make the right choice, we have put together a short guide that breaks down the kinds of things you should be thinking about when looking for the perfect ice fishing fish finder.
When you are looking for an ice fishing fish finder, you will want to look for a device with higher wattage or power. This will deliver the best and most accurate performance when detecting what lays beneath the ice. You will find that the more watts the device has, the faster it will be able to generate readings, whereas, the fewer watts the device has, the slower it will be.
You will also want to consider the battery life of your device as it is something you will likely need to use over extended periods of time. Typically, you will find that the larger, more advanced units will require a lot more battery power than the more basic devices so if this is the case, you may want to bring a backup battery on your expedition.
The number of pixels of your fish finder will determine its quality of display. A larger screen with a higher amount of pixels will offer better visibility and higher accuracy whilst the smaller screens with low numbers of pixels will be extremely basic in their display. You should try and look for a fish finder that has a high-resolution screen so that you will be able to clearly see and analyze the data and patterns on the screen. The higher resolution screens will also enable you to view the screens with ease in poorly-lit conditions.
You will find that there is a wide range of single, dual, and multiple frequency fish finders on the market. The frequency that you choose will completely depend on your personal preference. To put it simply, the higher the frequency, the more accurate and detailed the fish finder’s readings will be. High frequencies of around 200 kHz will be able to differentiate single fish from swarms of fish and will be a lot more effective in shallow waters.
On the other hand, low-frequency fish finders of around 50-80kHz will work well in deeper waters but will not be able to transmit as much detail or precision. If your fish finder is of dual or multiple frequencies, you will be able to adjust the frequency depending on the environment.
Ice fishing transducers come in a variety of different materials. The material you choose should depend entirely on the level of ice fishing you are going to be doing and the conditions in which you are going to be using it.
If you are simply looking to do casual, occasional ice fishing, you may be better off opting for a plastic, weatherproof transducer, whilst if you are an intense, professional ice fisher, you may want to consider opting for a material such as a fiberglass, stainless steel or even wood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter if my ice fishing fish finder screen is in black and white?
Whilst you will find there are several black and white screen fish finders out there, colored screens are becoming a lot more popular. Colored screens will make it a lot easier to read data and analyze the underwater patterns. If your screen is black and white, you will find it hard to distinguish between the live fishes and the underwater materials such as stones and debris.
You will also find that colored screens are a lot easier to read in poorly lit or night-time conditions, this is because they typically have a backlit display. This will ensure that you will be able to read the information clearly no matter how dark or bright your surroundings are.
Are ice fishing fish finders waterproof?
As fish finders are designed to be used around water, they will inevitably get wet in one way or another. Most devices are constructed of water-resistant materials that will ensure they survive the occasional splash or even brief submergence in the water.
With this being said, water is still the ultimate enemy of electric, so no fish finders are ever going to be completely waterproof. You should always check the individual specifications of your fish finder so that you can determine exactly how water resistant the device will be.