people ice fishing on a frozen lake

Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder 2020: Comprehensive Reviews, Buying Guide, and FAQ

Over the years, fishing has gained popularity, both as a hobby, and an economic activity. Of all kinds of fishing, ice fishing ranks as the most challenging of them all. Other than the freezing temperatures, you also have to go an extra mile to locate the fish.

I’m almost sure you won’t be happy spending hours in subzero conditions. Only to go home empty-handed. But worry less because we got you covered.

With this comprehensive review of the best ice fishing fish finders, I’ll help you get started. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned ice fisher.

Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders – Comparison

Display: HD Color Virtuview
Dimensions:6 x 3 x 2 in

Display: LCD – Colored
Dimensions:3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 in

Display: Used via smartphone or tablet
Dimensions: 2.6 x 2.6 x 2.6 in

Display: LCD – Black and White
Dimensions: 9.6 x 2.2 x 5.9 in

Display: LCD Colored
Dimensions: 11.2 x 11 x 11.5 in

Display: LEDs
Dimensions: 2.5 x 6 x 4.4 in

Display: LCD
Dimensions: 14 x 7.5 x 11.2 in

Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders – Reviews

1. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C

The HawkEye Fishtrax 1c is a battery-powered ice fish finder. It packs great features to make your ice fishing trips eventful.

To start us off, it’s equipped with a full-color, HD (High Definition) VirtuView TFTN display. A 100-level sensitivity adjustment, multi-level depth ranges. For efficient prey targeting, it has an auto-zoom coupled with a depth alarm.

The standout features of this fish finder are its three operation modes. The Ice-Mode Digital Flasher, Data, and the Fish Finder modes. If you are feeling lost don’t worry, I am going to give further details about these cool features.

The fish finder mode detects the presence of fish, alongside concurrent underwater activities. The activities are all displayed in real-time on the HD screen.

The Ice-Mode Digital Flasher sends back actual FishTrax sonar echoes. These echoes are like the old-fashioned flasher.

The Data mode enables you to zoom out the depth, battery and voltage readings. This is so that you can read them from some distance.

There is also a built-in user controlled dual-beam FishTrax Intelligent Sonar. It is designed to make fish finding simple in both deep and shallow waters. This feature makes the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C useful for almost all fishing styles. Be it Kayak, Boat, Canoe, Bank, or Ice, you name it. All you have to is pick out your fishing platform, then accessorize it to meet your needs.

Pros Cons
Full-color, HD (High Definition) VirtuView TFTN display Not water resistant
Ice-Mode Digital Flasher for real-time sonar data  
Built-in user controlled dual-beam FishTrax Intelligent Sonar make fish finding effortless  
Customizable for all fishing platforms and styles  

2. Garmin Striker 4

The Garmin Striker 4 ranks among the best portable ice fishing fish finders. On its top frame, you will find an easy to use keypad with dedicated buttons coupled with an LCD screen.

The screen displays a waypoint map, speed, and sonar alongside other important info. The display screen comes in a range of sizes, and you can either choose from the 3.5-, 5- or 7-inch.

The Striker 4 fish finder has the latest sonar technology in its Garmin CHIRP (77/200 kHz) transducer. This helps provide near-photographic imageries with detailed representations of structures and fish.

It is also this cool sonar history rewind feature. The feature allows you to scroll back through sonar images. You can use it to mark waypoints you might have missed earlier on.

The sonar tech present has a range of 750 feet in saltwater and 1,600 feet in freshwater. But if you aren’t satisfied with the spectrum, you can opt for more powerful transducers.

Apart from its ice fishing features, it is also fitted with a GPS to help you navigate and track your boat speed. This comes in handy when you want to make sure that you are trolling at the right speed. There is also a waypoint map that helps you keep track, mark and find your way to different locations. For instance, brush piles, stumps, and docks.

Again, the Striker 4 comes with a portable kit that makes it a portable fish finder you can carry with you anywhere. It has a sealed rechargeable battery with a charger and a suction cup transducer mount.

If you are a seasoned ice angler looking for better clarity, you can upgrade to the high-performance Garmin CHIRP. It provides crystal-clear sonar images. It also has target separation and resolution from shallow to deeper depths.

Pros Cons
In-built GPS is excellent for navigation Limited screen size and a not so user-friendly menu
Simple and easy to use the keypad Its build isn’t durable
Portable kit is a very significant part of this fish finder  
Sonar tech used provides the best range for fishing in either salt or fresh waters  

3. Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ ranks among the best ice fish finder in the market. It is a great fishing gear for seasoned anglers. One feature that makes it stand out from the rest is its ability to relay information to your smart devices.

The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is a castable fish finder. It’s compatible with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. So, you’ll have crystal clear images of what the underwater looks like with zero straining. Isn’t this awesome?

It uses Wi-Fi to send data to your smartphone. The Wi-Fi is strong ensuring you remain connected even when 100 meters away. Better yet, the data is detailed and easy to interpret for all types of anglers.

What’s more interesting is the powerful sonar on the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+. The sonar not only casts deeper but also has a broader castable range.

The sonar coupled up with the inboard GPS allows you to map your fishing grounds in real-time. All you need to do is cast out your PRO+, reel it in, and get comprehensive depth data added to your map in real time.

With the PRO+, you cast aside any doubts you might have. It covers vast areas with a wide beam scanning frequency. Once you have spotted your catch, you can then use the powerful narrow beam frequency to zero in on them.

These features make it excellent for fish finding on different fishing platforms. It is a unique device whether you are a shore angler, boat, kayak or ice fisher. With the Deeper Pro+ you’ll have the perfect fish finder that is capable of tracking even the smallest lure.

Pros Cons
It uses wireless tech for data transmission to your phone or tablet App compatibility issues on IOS devices
Dual beam for scanning more extensive areas and for narrowing on targets  
Rechargeable battery makes this fish finder portable  
Comprehensive and easy to understand sonar data  

4. Venterior VT-FF001E Portable Fish Finder

Looking to improve your ice fishing prowess on a budget? The Venterior VT-FF001E Portable Fish Finder is what you need. This is the best device for ice anglers who are looking to hone their fishing skills.

The Venterior features an LCD and four buttons below it on its top surface. It displays water depth, fish size and location alongside surrounding objects on the waterbed. The Venterior VT-FF001E depth finder ranges from 1 meter to 100 meters. This means you can use it for fishing in different environments be it a river, lake or sea.

This device comes with a round transducer fitted with a 25 ft cable and a detachable float. You can set up and retreat to your cabin and track the proceedings at your comfort.

That’s not all. This ice fish finder does have other customizable features you can tweak to your liking. It also has;

  • 5-user selectable sensitivity.
  • Battery save mode.
  • Backlight mode.
  • Fish alarm.
  • Unit of measure.

Remember, you can always save your settings before switching off the device.

Pro Tip: The Venterior VT-FF001E delivers best results when stationary or at average trolling speed. You will most lose the depth readings if you move at high speed.

Pros Cons
Its depth ranges make it an efficient fish finder to be used in both rivers, lakes or seas Not waterproof
With the 25ft long cable you can track happenings from your comfort zone Cannot be used for high speed trolling
Detachable transducer float Too much noise when moving over large patches of weeds
Efficient depth finder  

5. MarCum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System

The Marcum LX-7 takes ice fishing on to a different scale. Well, the Marcum model has an aesthetic build that will leave you wanting to own it. They say looks can be deceiving but not with the Marcum LX-7, it does pack some serious perks too.

Enough talk. Let’s get into the details which make the LX-7 a genuine contender of the best ice fishing fish finder.

The LX-7 comes with an 8” LCD screen which is excellent for display of data and easy reading. A standout feature of this screen is that it allows up to five windows for underwater viewing.

Next on, you will find a vertical zoom, a circular flasher, and a widescreen graph. These important display features that help you distinguish the target fish sizes. Additionally, the screen also shows the depth, range, and battery voltage.

Marcum LX-7 features its very own Sonar Footprint Technology. which is strong enough to penetrate deep waters. It displays the scan area at any depth, with either 8° or 20° transducer cone angles. displaying crisp images of fish within your transducer and lure area.

Besides, the Sonar Footprint tech blocks adjacent (non-MarCum) sonar users from picking up or interfering with the LX-7’s echoes. It achieves this by circumventing the “footprint” area.

The MarCum LX-7 is customizable. You can tweak its settings to adapt to any fishing platforms. For instance, you can play around with the vertical zoom to get sharper imagery of small targets. You can tweak the sensitivity to detect smaller fish or better yet switch between the color indicators of objectives. Lastly, it does have USB ports to enable firmware upgradeability.

Pros Cons
It packs decent user-friendly features The display is affected when used under bright light
Easy to use  
Displays comprehensive information (imagery included)  
The Sonar Footprint Technology used is very powerful  
USB ports for firmware upgradeability  

6. Vexilar FLX-28 Ice ProPack

The Vexilar FLX-28 is quite something from the Vexilar model of ice fishing finders. It comes as a significant improvement from the FL-8 launched over two decades ago.

Well, it still maintains its characteristic rugged design that guarantees durability. It also comes with excellent features that will make any pro ice angler want to own it.

Vexilar FLX-28 Ice ProPack packs these features.

  • An auto range, digital depth.
  • Battery voltage display and alerts.
  • Two zoom zones.
  • Five-color palette for excellent visibility.

You can switch between five digital depth ranges starting at 5 feet all the way to a max of 300 feet.

Next on, you can switch between day and night mode. This improves the brightness depending on the time you are fishing.

The FLX series also features low power option. This feature is quite handy when fishing in shallow waters. It’s also equipped with a unique weed mode. It provides better performance when fishing in areas with large patches of weed.

The unit’s advanced LED technology enables clear visibility. You can enjoy using your ice flasher on any day and at any time. The LED tech also allows you to view targets and other objects under the water.

The number of knobs and LEDs on the FLX model might intimidate you. But that should be the least of your worries as it comes with a demo. The demo gives details on how the system works with an actual fish catching simulation.

It also features a unique three-color sonar flash. It indicates closest targets in red, those in average range in orange and the furthest in green.

The model comes with an ice-ducer transducer. This dual beam transducer converts the received sonar signals into images. Additionally, it also has a Genz Blue Box. It contains handy accessories such as, a battery voltage indicator and a flex light.

Pros Cons
Durable, rugged build Limited in design
Advanced LED tech for better visibility Traditional ice flasher may fail to work in a different fishing environment
Five digital depth ranges  
Outstanding battery life  

7. Humminbird 410990-1 Ice Helix 7

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this list couldn’t have been complete without the Humminbird 410990-1 Ice Helix 7. This fish finder comes with quite some decent features that help it provide accurate and comprehensive details of the under-ice environment.

One of the significant features of this fish finder is its in-built GPS which is also supported by the UniMap graphic representation of USA’s water bodies.

The Ice Helix 7 has a decent build fitted with an 800×480 px display on its front face and a few buttons next to the screen. Besides, it is fitted with LEDs to help improve its display power making it convenient for use both during gloomy days and bright days.

Still on its build, it features a memory card slot, where you can slide in your microSD card and store screenshots. There is also a port for you to hook in you GPS devices. Lastly, it comes with a detachable casing so you can easily carry it around.

The Humminbird 410990 is fitted with a dual-beam CHIRP SONAR, which provides you with crispier and sharper images of your targets compared to the traditional sonar. Additionally, its transducer can go up to 1500ft deep meaning it’ll still work well even when you go fishing in deep waters.

Pros Cons
A dual-beam CHIRP SONAR Build could be better
Its transducer can go up to 1500ft deep. (freshwater and saltwater)  
LED backlit display  
Customizable settings  
Depth alarm and temperature sensors  

Ice Fishing Fish Finder – Buying Guide

Currently, the market is flooded with a wide range of fish finders. Even an experienced ice fisher might have a hard time choosing.

Each device is unique, and the tech it comes does make a significant difference. Knowing what to consider will go a log way towards helping you choose the right one. Here are the important factors to consider when choosing a ice fishing fish finder.

1. Display Type

A significant number of fish finders do have display screens. When it comes to these displays, pay close attention to the number of pixels. It is as important as the size of the screen.

In most instance, you’ll fork more cash for one with an HD display. The HD display allows for a bigger screen with high pixel density. This delivers crispier and sharper imagery alongside clear data display.

2. Sonar Type

In ice fishing fish finders, sonar sends ultrasound signal to help detect fish. It’s also used to show how the underwater environment looks like.

Currently, the best sonar technology is the CHIRP Sonar. It provides the best crystal-clear sonar images. It even goes the extra mile to provide target separation and resolution. This is for both shallow to deeper depths. Here is a detailed video on what is CHIRP Sonar by HumminbirdTV

Another favorited type of sonar type is the sweeping 2D technology. It generates detailed imagery of the scanned area, which is helpful in detecting fish under the ice.

3. Transducers

These are add-on accessories to most ice fish finders. Transducers are sensors that help you scan or to be precise, select your scan area.

With a transducer, you can either opt to scan all around, sideways or downwards. Transducers come with varying frequencies and beam widths. For instance, a dual beam transducer will help you scan both shallow and deep waters.

4. Cone Angle

The cone angle is also referred to as the beam angle. As mentioned above, a transducer scans the underwater environment and sends back signals. The beam angle shows you how much area your sonar signal is covering.

Narrow beam angles scans a small area. But they travel deeper depths and send back a signal with crispier and precise details.

Wider beam angles scan a much wider area but do not move so deep. Their details aren’t detailed as those produced by a narrow beam.

5. Frequency

The depth and the scan area of an ice fishing fish finder rely on the rate of its sonar signals. Higher frequencies of around 200kHz work best in shallow waters. They relay comprehensive images with detailed information.

Low frequencies around 50kHz are great for scanning more extensive and deeper areas. But one shortcoming is that they do not send back detailed images.

There are fish finders that offer single, dual, or multiple frequencies. With this, you can tweak the frequency settings to your fishing needs.

6. Portability

When choosing an ice fishing fish finder, you want something lightweight and compact. These two factors make it easy to carry around as you walk on ice. If they are important to you, then go for portable versions.

Note that manufacturers always compromise on the screen size to achieve portability. If you are okay with that, then you will enjoy using a portable ice fish finder.

7. Durability

A good Ice fishing fish finder is the one built to withstand cold temperatures. Most electronic components work best in cold environments, hence not hard to implement.

8. Battery Life

A long battery life is crucial. Sophisticated ice fish finders tend to use more power to deliver accurate results. Simple ones don’t go hard on power thus have longer battery life. Always choose one with long battery life.

You can also go for an extra battery for your device in case you run out of juice while ice fishing.

Ice Fishing Fish Finder – Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a conventional fish finder and an ice fish finder?

An ice fish finder is specifically designed for ice fishing. The electronics and other accessories used can withstand frigid temperatures. As for the regular fish finders, they won’t work as well in freezing conditions. They will give back information that is not as accurate as that of a ice fishing fish finder.

Other than detecting fish what else can a fish finder do?

Well, the primary reason for purchasing a fish finder is to help you detect fish. It does this job well compared to instinct and guesswork which are uneventful in most cases. However, fish finders do have other uses such as:

1. You can save the sonar history. This helps you remember potential fishing spots on your way points for future reference.
2. Help you watch how the fish are responding to your bait.
3. Help you detect the water depth alongside how the underwater environment looks like.

Are fish all finders waterproof?

You’d probably expect that something meant for fishing should be waterproof. However, not all fish finders are fully waterproof.

They will not be affected by that occasional splash but will get fried if submerged into water or ice.
As a way to improve their durability, most fish finders are built to resist water intrusion for up to some water depth pressure or duration after which water will start to sip in.

In most instances, the transmitter part of the fish finder is water resistant. But the receiver part which is the display area isn’t. Before buying one, check the manufacturer’s information on water resistance.

What is a fish flasher?

A fish flasher is a lightweight and compact fishing gadget. It uses a sonar beam to detect underwater objects passing within its scan area. A unique feature of a fish flasher is its unique color wheel. It represents the size of the objects and how far they might be. In a nutshell, green color represents big fish; orange is for medium sized fish and red for small-sized fish.

Fish finder vs. fish flasher?

There is not much difference between the two as it all comes down to your fishing skills. Nonetheless, fish flashers are designed for vertical fishing. They also do have high sensitivity levels to pick up small jigs. On the other hand, the latest renditions of ice fish finders are fitted with the newest CHIRP sonar tech with built-in fish flashers. Meaning they are more accurate, scan greater depths and can be used on different fishing platforms without a glitch.

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