Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder | Buying Guide Included
Fishing any other time of the year is a really rewarding pastime and when we talk ice fishing, it is even much more rewarding considering there’s so little that you could do outdoors in the cold of winter.
So, if you’re into ice fishing or would like to give it a try this ice fishing season, then you must know your gear pretty well. Whereas some people would prefer fishing in the heat of summer, others tend to embrace the cold of winter. Even so, fishing when the fishing ground has got a thick layer of ice over it is no easy task. This makes an ice fishing fish finder one of the most important equipment you could ever need.
To make things less complicated, you could go for an ice fishing fish finder. However, not just any fish finder would do the trick since most brands claim to be the best which is where we come in.
We’re all about making fishing an easy and more productive experience for you by putting together a list of the best ice fishing fish finders and to add icing to the cake, there’s also a buying guide to help you get started.
- 1 How we arrived at the best ice fishing fish finders
- 2 The top 10 ice fishing fish finders: reviews
- 2.1 1. Furuno FCV628 Color LCD, 600W, 50/200 KHz Operating Frequency Fish Finder
- 2.2 2. Garmin Striker Plus 4
- 2.3 3. Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder - LX-7
- 2.4 4.Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
- 2.5 5. Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR
- 2.6 6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display
- 2.7 7. LUCKY Fish Finder Portable
- 2.8 8. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
- 2.9 9. Lucky Portable Fish Finder
- 2.10 10. Lucky Fish Finder Portable 2 in 1 Wired & Wireless Fishing Sonar
- 3 Details to look for in the best ice fishing fish finders
3 best ice fishing fish finders- comparison chart
If you’d like to get straight to the best fish finders for ice fishing, there’s really no need of going through the individual reviews. We’ve simplified this by putting together a list of the top 3 best performingfish finders that are from some of the best brands.
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Garmin Striker Plus 4 Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer
Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder - LX-7
How we arrived at the best ice fishing fish finders
We're all about transparency and making sure that you know every detail in how we get to give you the best of the best.
With this in mind, our team is made up of some of the most experienced experts in the ice fishing field. All the information from the reviews to the buying guide is not only from their first-hand experience but also from the reviews of critics and users. We also did contact product manufacturers to have clarity as far as the performance of each of the products is concerned. From all the information gathered, there’s no way you could possibly go wrong.
The top 10 ice fishing fish finders: reviews
With either of the fish finders, we'll be taking a look at in a short while, there's no way you could go wrong. Reviewed below are some of the best-priced products that are guaranteed to make your ice fishing experience completely hassle-free. Do have a closer look.
1. Furuno FCV628 Color LCD, 600W, 50/200 KHz Operating Frequency Fish Finder
Starting off our reviews of 2018’s best fish finders is the Furuno FCV628 and it's definitely going to be a huge leap forward when it comes to detecting fish in the ice. With a high power rating and an outstanding display, there’s no way you could possibly go wrong with this bad boy.
Here’s a closer look at what it packs under the hood…
5.7” color LCD display
The display, being a 5.7” LCD screen utilizes the rezboost technology which increases the resolution and improves the target separation when using conventional narrowband transducers.
600 watts for the power rating
The stronger the fish finder, the better the performance you get to have. With as much as 600 watts of power on this ice fishing fish finder, the response time will be amazingly fast and in addition to this, you will also be able to detect fish at greater depths more accurately.
As for the operating frequency, this fish finder boasts 50/200kHz. With this working hand in hand with the 600 watts of power, the readings will be amazingly accurate.
Speaking of accuracy, the accu-fish assesses the size of different fish species. In order for this function to work perfectly well, you’ll want to use it in depths of 2 to 100 meters. It can also detect fish sizes ranging from 10 to 199 cm.
There’s also the fish mark function which displays individual fish echoes when they are detected. This is quite handy especially for beginners since they get to have a more engaging experience.
A bottom discrimination function & white line function
So as to make your catch of the day much better, there are the two functions mentioned above. For the bottom discrimination function, this fish finder allows you to know whether the bottom is composed mainly of debris or fish. With such valuable information, you will be able to locate the richest fishing grounds hence boosting your day’s catch.
As for the white line function, the fish finder is able to distinguish fish from the seabed which is quite useful when discriminating bottom fish and also knowing how large the schools of fish really are.
2. Garmin Striker Plus 4
As far as brands are concerned, Garmin just so happens to be one of the best in the production of fishing GPS and fish finders. With the Garmin Striker Plus 4, you get to have both a compact ice fishing fish finder and on top of this quite an amazing performance- it definitely lives up to its brand name.
Do have a look at the details…
It includes a mapping software
Now here's something that you won't come across easily on just any fish finder. In order to give you complete dominance of your fishing grounds, there is a built-in Garmin quick draw contours mapping software. This functions to aid in the creation and storage of maps each of which has a 1’ contour and you can cover up to 2 million acres.
With this feature, it can be possible for you to map out different fishing grounds and even revisit them later hence making your ice fishing experience smooth
Bright and large LCD display
For the display, you’ll be getting a 4.3” display that also includes an intuitive user interface that should be straightforward even for first-time users. Still, at the display, it is sunlight readable, a feature that makes it a dependable fish finder for use even when the sun is high up.
Includes a dual-beam transducer
Included in this fish finder is a dual beam transducer which increases its strength. The transducer also does have the Garmin Chirp traditional sonar that results in the production of crystal-clear images as well as an outstanding level of target separation
Rugged design to best suit any fishing environment
To make a good enough companion out in the ice, it’s got a rugged design which is meant to get it through any kind of fishing environment
A built-in GPS
With the built-in GPS system, you can conveniently be able to mark waypoints and more so, mark routes and view the speed of boats- there’s no way you could go wrong with this fish finder.
3. Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder - LX-7
Over the years, Marcum has been credited for transforming the ice fishing experience of anglers from all over the globe. From the display to the features it packs under the hood, this fish finder is definitely going to blow most out of the water.
Let’s find out why it made it to our top 10 list, shall we?
The first thing that you’ll definitely appreciate upon turning this on for the first time is the simple user-defined interface.
On the screen, there is a dashboard present and from here you can be able to see the depth, the battery voltage, gain, and range, interference rejection, the target adjusts and much more.
There is also a multifaceted sonar display which is going to give angles a windows view that is fully customized. This means that you will be able to see the vertical water column level, a vertical zoom, the flasher-dial and there is also a traditional horizontal LCD graph display.
Speaking of the display, let’s have a closer look at how well it really holds up.
8-inch and high-resolution display
Being one of the largest displays, the Marcum LX-7 has got an 8-inch display with a resolution of 800 x 600px that’s definitely going to give you crisp details
An industry-exclusive sonar footprint technology
The last thing that’s worth pointing out on this bad boy is the sonar footprint technology. This will be able to display areas of bottom coverage at different depths. You can select either the 8-degree or the 20-degree transducer cone angle.
This model comes already preloaded with a full menu of Marcum’s patented features and a USB forupgradability.
4.Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Yet another one from Garmin, we’ve got the Garmin Striker 4 fish finder that’s simple but at the same time quite up to the task. In just a compact design, you will be able to enjoy quite a lot of features. How about we take a closer look and find out what it packs under the hood?
It’s got a Chirp sonar
included within this fish finder is the Garmin CHIRP 77/200kHz transducer that gives you an outstanding level of clarity and visibility which, as compared to the traditional 77/200kHz transducers is a huge leap forward.
By sending a continuous sweep of frequencies and interpreting them individually upon their return, you’ll be able to get a wider range of information.
Includes a built-in flasher
Also included in the fish finder is a built-in flasher which makes it possible to view sonar data in the classic flasher format. You’ll find this really useful in ice fishing or vertical jigging
A simple and straightforward user interface
Despite its outstanding performance, the userinterface is quite simple. There are keyed interface that has got dedicated buttons and general usage and installation of this device are amazingly simple.
The display is also a 3.5-inch color screen hence it will be easy to distinguish the fish from other debris in the water
There’s a waypoint map included
Considering there is a high sensitivity GPS, you can be able to see your position on the map in relation to the waypoints that you’ll have already marked. Once you mark a spot, you can easily navigate to the same spot later afterward.
Something else that you’ll also appreciate is the speed check. This fish finder allows you to check the speed of your boat and if you’re trolling, you can be able to move at the correct speed when targeting a specific fish species.
It includes a portable carrying case
Thrown in the package meant to give you a fun time out in the waters is a portable carrying case. This makes it much easier to store the fish finder and also protects it from damage.
5. Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR
If you’re looking for a simple fish finder that’s still up to the task, I’d really recommend that you get your hands on this one. The interface is straightforward, the construction compact and the performance above average. Here’s what makes this worthy of our best picks in 2018.
Dual frequency operation
In order to maximize the view beneath the boat, this fish finder comes with a dual-frequency capability. This is either 83KHz or 200kHz. With the 83kHz sonar operation, you can be able to have as much as 60 degrees of conical coverage which just so happens to be ideal for displaying large fish.
200kHz frequency, on the other hand, will give you 20 degrees of conical coverage. This ensures that you get to have an enhanced fish-target separation as well as a lure tracking which are both ideal for drop-shottechnique. Switching between the two is by just a simple click of the page button
Advanced signal processing feature
Rather than having to manually adjust the settings to see fish, structures as well as bottom details with utmost clarity, this feature (abbreviated as ASP). All you’ll have to do is switch between the different frequency bands and you’re good to go.
A 3.5-inch color display
For the display, it’s a 3.5-inch LED display with a backlit feature and in addition to this, you can see it clearly even in full sunlight and even from wide viewing angles
Includes a broadband sounder
So as to easily identify fish targets, bottom contour, structure detail, and other underwater features, this feature has been thrown in to make this as accurate as possible.
Another feature worth mentioning is the skimmer transducer includes a built-in temperature sensor which can be able to trach bottom up to 75mph. the fish I.D displays fish icons instead of fish arches. There is also a track and alarm option
6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display
It’s quite amazing how much you can be able to do with this ice fishing fish finder just at the palm of your hands. By incorporating some of the best features you’ll need to have a flawless ice fishing experience, the HawkEye Fishtrax 1Cmight just be the missing piece in your ice fishing tools.
Listed below is every reason you should purchase this fish finder.
Includes a dual beam sonar
As far as the best ice fishing fish finders are concerned, the frequency obtained from the sonar does play a huge part in the readings you get on the display.
Considering this one comes with a dual beam sonar, you can have it set to either 200kHz or 83kHz. With either of these, you’ll be able to get a 14-degree or a 26-degree angle respectively depending on what you want to do.
With this FishTrax dual beam technology, the fish finder can be adjusted in such a way that it'll fit any fishing style or platform
VirtuView HD color display
As for the display, you’ll be getting a high definition VirtyView TFTN display that also comes with 3 operating modes- the fish finder, the data, and the ice-mode digital flasher.
For the fishfinder mode, bottom contour, composition and overall depth of the water can be displayed on the screen.
If you have the data mode selected, you’ll be able to enlarge most of the readings on the display such as the battery voltage, depth, and temperature readings hence making them easy to read even from afar.
With the ice mode, the icefish flasher gives you real-time FishTrax sonar echoes which should be quite reliable for targeting suspended fish when ice fishing.
Automatic and manual depth range sensitivity
With this unit, you can also switch between either of the frequency beams manually or automatically. The intelligent sonar will read up to 240 feet in 1/10 precision and this way, you can tweak it to adjust your preferred fishing style
Finally, there is the fishArc and fishID features with depth targeting with the two features mentioned above, this fish finder allows you to detect the fish positions. Depending on the species you’re targeting, you should switch between either of the two frequencies for this to work perfectly well.
7. LUCKY Fish Finder Portable
Looking for one of the most versatile ice fishing fish finders? Well, this one might just have what it takes to give you an amazing experience his ice fishing season. Not only can you use it for ice fishing, but you can count on it for boat fishing, lake fishing, and sea fishing.
The fish and bottom contour readouts
Starting off with one of the best features on this fish finder, you can be able to see both the fish and bottom contour readouts on the display. Included in this feature is the water depth, an approximated fish position in the water and to add icing to the cake, you can tell apart the fish from underwater debris and water weeds.
The depth readout
For the depth readout, the transducer’s detection range is a 45-degree cone. This works at a fixed frequency of 200kHz. As for the depth range, it will work best at a distance of between 1 meter and 100 meters below the sonar sensor.
The depth could also be shown in feet or meters, based on your preference. You'll also be getting a transducer in the packaging and this comes with a 25-foot cable and a removable transducer float. For ice fishermen, all you'll have to do is place the transducer directly on the ice layer to take the readings perfectly.
It’s got 5 different function modes
Even though it’s small in size, this fish finder has got 5 different measurement modes for the sensitivity. There is the battery save mode increases the battery life- you’ll find this feature really useful when out in the ice.
There is also a backlit functionality that qualifies it eligible for use early in the morning, late in the evening or when there’s a dense cloud cover overhead.
Yet another function that you'll appreciate is the fish and fish school alarm hence you won't always have to look at the display all the time.
Besides the above-mentioned performance specifications, you’ll be getting more than just the fish finder in the package. There is a neck strap, a removable transducer float with a rubber stopper, a side scan adapter for the transducer and a neck strap so you won’t lose it when looking for the perfect fishing spot.
8. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
I’m quite positive that if you’re reading this, then you’d be willing to do whatever it takes in order to get the most out of your ice fishing expedition, right? Well, in the case of the Venterior VT-FF001, despite the simple appearance in design, you'll be getting quite an amazing performance.
Take a look below at what it has in store for you…
More than just ice fishing
As far as versatility is concerned, you won’t be restricted to using this fish finder out in the ice alone. It can just as conveniently be used in other fishing seasons and other water bodies.
Considering it’s a palm size design, you’ll find it quite convenient to have with you with each fishing expedition
Features 5 different selectable functionalities
When it comes to getting the job done, there are 5 different functionalities that are included in this ice fishing fish finder.
There is the selectable sensitivity, the battery saver mode, a backlight function, the fish alarm and also the depth indicator.
The sensitivity is either of two options- the high and the low sensitivity setting. With the high sensitivity setting, you will be able to see both big and small fish and with the low sensitivity setting activated, you will only be restricted to seeing the big fish. This way, you’ll be able to conveniently target a particular species of fish.
The battery save mode, when enabled increases the battery life and considering the display on this fish finder is black and white, the backlight function will make things appear much better. As for the fish alarm feature, it basically alerts you when fish have been detected which saves you from the trouble of keeping your eyes on the screen all the time.
Has got a 45-degree sensor beam angle and a 100m maximum depth
The sonar sensor angle beam is 45 degrees which captures quite a lot of details and in addition to this, the Venterior VT-FF001will be able to detect fish at a maximum of 0.9 meters and a maximum of 100 meters below the water surface
Besides the fish finder, there is the transducer that’s got a 25-foot cable, a removable transducer float with a rubber stopper, the transducer side scan adapter, a neck strap, and an operation manual to help you find your way around using it.
9. Lucky Portable Fish Finder
We’ve taken a look at some really awesome products and we’re close to being done with our review. Coming up 9th is yet another outstanding fish finder from lucky. You’ll be getting quite a lot from this one despite the fact that it comes in just a palm-sized design.
A 2.4 inch TFT colored display
The very first thing you’ll probably notice upon turning this fish finder on is the 2.4-inch TFT colored display. This comes with a resolution of 24V x 960H and it should be enough for you to make out the sonar readings clearly.
Still, at the display, the brightness is adjustable in 9 different levels. Depending on the lighting, you should be able to set it to a level you’re comfortable with for a perfect fishing experience.
The sensitivity level can be adjusted in such a way that you will be able to control the amount of detail that you get to see on the LCD screen. It’s got 10 different adjustments levels and the greater the sensitivity, the greater the amount of detail it can detect.
Powering this fish finder is a 3.7v lithium battery which is also rechargeable. On average, the battery can last for as long as 5 hours on a single full charge.
As compared to working with most models that don’t come with a rechargeable battery, Lucky really does save you a lot of trouble and inconveniences since instead of always having to carry a backup pair of batteries, you could charge up your fish finder to a full charge before going out in the ice. Coming along with this fish finder is a USB cable for charging
The depth finder
The transducer has got an outstanding 26-foot operation distance and in addition to this, it does also come with a 45-degree angle. For the detection distance, you can count on this to perform perfectly well to as much as 100 meters below the water surface.
The under-water contour display does have 3 colors and you can pick either of these based on your preference.
Since you'll be using it on the ice, the fish finder does have a waterproof design, a level 4 spray water-proof rating. This, however, does not mean that you can completely submerge the fish finder with water as you'll damage it
Other additional features include the fish alarm function which sounds in correspondence to the alarm setting when fish are detected and it can distinguish between the large, medium-sized and small fish in the water.
10. Lucky Fish Finder Portable 2 in 1 Wired & Wireless Fishing Sonar
Most of the amazing products we’ve taken a look at are from Lucky and considering the company has been in the game for almost 2 decades, you could have faith in them not to disappoint. So, wrapping up our top 10 reviews, we have this fishfinder with 2 modes and it also holds up quite well as far as the performance is concerned. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it, have a closer look below at why this is one of the best ice fishing fish finders in 2018.
2.8-inch LCD display
Starting with the display, the 2.8 inches should be enough for you to conveniently make out the readings. In addition to this, the display does have 3 different color tones i.e. blue, orange and gray. These will come in handy when it comes to distinguishing different objects below the water surface and also detecting fish
Includes both the narrow and wide beams
Depending on the fishing type you’re interested in or the fish species you’re targeting, you can choose between the narrow or the wide beam.
The narrow beam is a 45-degree cone and operates at 200kHz whereas the wide beam is a 90-degree cone that operates at 125kHz. Depending on the amount of detail you want to capture, you can conveniently switch between the two.
Wireless and cable depth capability
You won’t always need to deal with the transducer cable since it’s got a wireless operation range of 45 meters and a cable operation range of 100 meters. You get to have added convenience and versatility with this fish finder with this feature as compared to what you get from others in its class.
Details to look for in the best ice fishing fish finders
As much as having a list of the most reputed top 10ice fish finders is quite convenient, it is just but one half of what you need since buying one is a whole another different story.
Fish finders are normally of utmost importance when it comes to fishing and even much more important when you want to have a fun and enjoyable ice fishing experience. That being said, here are some of the major things you should focus on when shopping for an ice fishing fish finder- get the best bang from your buck.
Types of fish finders
Most of the fish finders you’ll get in the market are available in two options which include the chart plotters and the standalone fish finders.
The standalone fishfinders
Just as their name suggests, these do nothing more other than finding fish. Yes, they do come in different variations and the fact that they’re only specialized in finding fish means that you get to have a bigger display as well as a bigger screen size.
If you’re looking forward to just going for a regular ice fishing season, then this is what you should get. The advantage of having these is that you won’t have to break the bank to get one that has a decent performance and more so, you can also merge them with transducers or a GPS for a much better performance.
Chart plotter fishfinders
Whereas standalone fish finders are only intended to find fish, chart plotter fish finders are a combination of more than just the fish finders. Most of them will include a GPS, split screens or flashers all of which are meant to make navigation easy.
I’d recommend that you get one of these if you’re into some serious fishing but at the same time, you should be ready to spend a little bit more on top of what you’d pay for standalone fish finders.
Most of what you’ll be doing while using the fish finder is looking at the screen, right? As a matter of fact, you will seldom find the need to make any adjustments to the fish finder and because of this, you’ll want a fish finder that’s got a really good display.
A color screen vs. a black and white display
If you’re all about getting as much detail as possible from your fish finder, then a color screen is what you should go for. The main advantage of getting a color screen over a black and white screen is that these are able to set apart the fish from stones and debris under water.
Rather than taking chances with your fishing, it would be much simpler to get a fish finder with a display that distinguishes the fish from other underwater debris.
But here’s the downside…
Fishfinders that come with colored screens wouldn’t be a viable option if you’re on a budget. They’re normally higher priced than the black and white ones. So, depending on your budget and preference, you should know which type of display works best for you.
In addition to having to select between the black and white display and the colored display, you might also need to make a choice of whether or not to purchase a fish finder with a backlit LED display.
Colored screens have one major advantage over their black and white counterparts when it comes to the lighting in the sense that they have a better lighting. This way, they can be much easier to read in poor lighting. In order to compensate for this, most black and white fish finders normally have a backlit display. A backlit display would be a viable option in both the colored and black and white screens since these allow you to use the fish finder comfortably early in the mornings and late in the evenings after sunset.
The pixel density
As far as clarity and detail are concerned regardless of whether you are using a colored or a black and white display, the pixel density plays quite a huge role.
The greater the number of pixels, the better and crispier the details you get. Of course, you should go for an ice fish finder with a high pixel density but at the same time, you should be ready to spend a little bit more money on such fishfinders
The transmission power and the frequency
A good display won't be doing you justice if the fish finder has got a poor transmission power, right? This is basically what determines how powerful the fish finder is and it is normally expressed in Root Mean Square power (RMS). In some cases, it could also be expressed as the frequency.
So, how does this work?
The rule of thumb as far as the RMS is concerned is that the higher this is, the greater the accuracy of the fish finder is when used in deep waters. You might also find it convenient to use a fish finder with a high transmission power in silt-laden waters.
If you’re looking forward to catching fish that are located in coastal waters, then going for a high-powered fish finder of about 500 watts should do the trick. On the other hand, fish finders meant to target fish in shallow waters could have about 200 watts of power.
Depending on the species of fish you’re targeting and how far you’d like to venture into the ice, you should get a fish finder to work perfectly well for you in either application.
Still at the power, having a fish finder with a high power wattage power source means that you will be getting faster transmissions of what's underwater and vice versa.
Weight and portability
Two things that are really overlooked when selecting a fish finder is how much it weight and whether or not it allows for convenient mobility.
When ice fishing, you will most likely want a fish finder that you can easily be able to carry around in the ice. In this case, the last thing you want is something that's too heavy to carry around and on the other hand, you wouldn't want to get one that's light but has got fewer features.
The ice can only support so much weight and carrying too heavy a fish finder for you might result in you falling through the ice which is something you definitely don't want.
The more portable the fish finder is, the easier it will be to have it sit on the ice. In addition to this, a portable fish finder will not only be light but it’s also going to be more compact. This makes it possible to easily pack it away making it a reliable companion everywhere you go.
Durability- could you count on it in the ice?
In addition to an outstanding performance, you’ll also want to have a fish finder that’ll last through various ice fishing seasons.
More often than not, ice fishermen are tempted to go out in the ice with their fish finders. Considering this is an electronic equipment, the entry of moisture and water could easily damage the electronic parts. Most companies nowadays have got fish finders designed to withstand both extreme cold and are also moisture proof.
Will a transducer really be necessary?
This is an add-on equipment you might want to have when it comes to ice fishing. Depending on what time of the season it is, you may or may not need one of these.
With a transducer, you’ll have the ability to gain a lot of coverage since these, unlike fish finders, do not give you a 2D view but do have the 3D view as well. 2D fish finders will allow you to view what’s under the surface only after you’ve passed a specific spot which somehow contradicts the purpose of the fish finder.
For a 360-degree view, you can be able to see fish that are ahead in the water. Transducers normally have different frequencies and beam widths as far as underwater detection is concerned.
But here’s the thing….
How you install and position the transducers greatly determines the kind of readings you get to have. They normally vary between seven and twenty-two degrees and the rule of thumb is the smaller this angle is, the deeper you'll see but you'll have a narrower angle. On the contrary, a higher angle widens the viewing angle but compromises how deep down you'll be able to see.
How do we sum it all up?
I'm pretty sure that ice fishing is much easier now that you not only have a list of the best-reviewed ice fishing fish finders but also a buying guide to get you started.
While ice fishing fish finders should be a priority since they give you eyes beneath the thick layers of ice and save you the hassle of having to move from one spot to another to strike a huge catch. They’re also the best companions to get you through the harsh ice environments.
All in all, utmost care and maintenance and care are recommended since these are just as important as any other fishing equipment you'll be working without in the ice.