Best Overall: Humminbird ICE-35 (click to see)
“Get highly accurate, clear reading and real-time feedback when ice fishing with the Humminbird ICE-35. It is reliable even at a 250-foot depth, giving you the best possible chance at success.”
Most Portable: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar (click to see)
“If portability is your priority, nothing can beat the Deeper PRO+ Smart. Its lightweight design and outstanding features make it the most portable and versatile fish finder on the market.”
Best Mapping Unit: Garmin Striker 4 (click to see)
“Experience top-notch technology when going ice fishing with the Garmin Striker 4. Its excellent mappings feature makes it ideal for navigation even in large expanses of open water.”
Every year, the annual winter freeze signals the beginning of the ice fishing season.
During this exciting time of the year, many northern anglers flock to nearby lakes, searching for the hot fishing action that lies right beneath the ice.
While ice fishing, anglers lean heavily on their gear selection to make the most out of every outing. For many anglers, this selection of equipment includes an ice fishing fish finder.
Quality ice fishing fish finders allow anglers to determine what lies below the ice and adjust their strategy accordingly.
As a result, one often experiences a far more successful day on the water.
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders For The Money
Top 5 Picks
Table of Contents
- The Rundown
- Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders For The Money
- Best Fish Finders For Ice Fishing 2021
- Things to Consider When Buying the Best Ice Fish Finders
- Questions & Answers
Best Fish Finders For Ice Fishing 2021
- Best Overall: Humminbird ICE-35
- Most Portable: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- Best Mapping Unit: Garmin Striker 4
- Best Budget Sonar Unit: HawkEye Fishtrax 1C
- Simplest To Use: Lowrance HOOK²
Humminbird ICE-35 Portable Flasher
Best Overall: Rich in quality and features
- Fiber-optic color display for simplified use
- 200 feet operating range for versatile use
- Adjustable gain settings for improved clarity
If you are currently searching for a flasher unit that provides a high level of definition and is extremely rich in features, then the Humminbird ICE-35 Portable Flasher should be deserving of your attention. This fish finder features a 3-color fiber optic display, adjustable depth ranges, and a host of magnification options, making it easier than ever to determine what is occurring below the ice’s surface.
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Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
Most Portable: Portable enough for every excursion
- WIFI hotspot connectivity for integration with any mobile device
- GPS capable for use in multiple mapping functions
- 260 feet operating range for ultimate versatility
If you are currently searching for a lightweight, extremely portable fish finder that will assist you in all of your ice fishing endeavors, then the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar should be worthy of your attention. This fish finder can be taken along on every adventure, as it weighs only 3.5 ounces and does not require the use of any cables or batteries.
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Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Best Mapping Unit: Compact yet capable in virtually any situation
- CHIRP sonar for enhanced image clarity
- Handle-equipped carrying case for ultimate portability
- Built-in mapping capabilities for ultimate versatility
The Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit should be ideal for those that ice fish heavily and divide their time among multiple locations during any given winter. This fish finder is designed for the mobile angler and features a handled case, power/data cable, bag, rechargeable battery, and tilt/swivel mount. The case included with this list is lined construction, providing an additional layer of protection for your electronics.
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HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
Best Budget Sonar Unit: Excellent imaging in the palm of your hand
- 240 feet depth of detection for ample freshwater coverage
- High-definition color display for enhanced target depiction
- Audible alarm for simplified fish detection
If you are searching for a handheld fish finder that offers clarity on the same level as top-notch fixed-screen sonar models available on the market, you will approve of HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder. It comes with a VirtuView HD color display screen feature with a very neat LED Backlighting. In addition, it can resist glare even in direct sunlight.
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Lowrance HOOK² Fish Finder
Simplest To Use: Refined imaging for the discerning angler
- Double CHIRP sonar for unlimited image clarity
- Both down and side imaging availability for multi-faceted use
- Simple to navigate interface for ease of use
The Lowrance HOOK² Ice Fishing Fish Finder should be perfect for any angler who is not a fan of traditional flasher-style sonar units. This fish finder utilizes dual CHIRP sonar to provide highly defined images, easily deciphered by every angler. The Hook 2 unit is also available in both down and side imaging formats, making it possible to select the image type that best compliments your style of fishing.
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Things to Consider When Buying the Best Ice Fish Finders
Quality ice fish finders are more than capable of withstanding extreme cold and inhospitable conditions.
Ice fishing is conducted in extreme weather conditions, with temperatures commonly dropping to around 0-degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, to stand the test of time, an ice fishing sonar unit must be pretty durable and up to the task at hand.
A fish finder must be lightweight to offer substantial appeal to ice anglers, who must transport their gear across the frozen water.
Ice anglers are typically required to tote their gear for lengthy distances to reach their destination. A large, bulky fish finder can make this task relatively challenging to tackle. However, using a lightweight alternative can save substantial hassle and make transport much more effortless.
The frequency of a fish finder plays a pivotal role in determining how such a unit will operate at various depths.
Fish finders come in numerous frequencies, all of which come with their own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, higher frequency units tend to be more accurate but are less effective when used in deep water. Likewise, low-frequency fish finders are capable of excellent detection in deep water but are less accurate in their representation of what lies beneath the ice.
Some fish finders feature a backlit display, which simplifies viewing under highly bright or minimally lit conditions.
When the sun bears down, a sonar unit’s display screen can be difficult to read. Likewise, display viewing can be hampered by periods of low light. A backlit display limits such difficulties and makes it easy to decipher the information depicted on a sonar unit’s display, no matter the conditions at hand.
An angler must put much thought into how their fish finder will be powered to avoid the risk of facing decreased usage times.
When selecting a battery for use with an ice fishing fish finder, it is essential to keep portability in mind. A battery should be large enough to provide your fish finder with sufficient power for sustained use but should be light enough to be carried without much difficulty. Many manufacturers now market ice fishing-specific fish finder batteries that adequately meet the needs mentioned earlier.
As is typical of most electronic products, an angler often gets what they pay for when purchasing a fish finder of any type.
Realistically, most anglers cannot spend an unlimited amount of money to purchase the most refined sonar unit on the market. However, quality sonar units of one variety or another can be purchased at most any price point. Therefore, it is vital to place ample consideration into a sonar unit’s operating characteristics and capabilities to get the most bang for your buck.
Questions & Answers
What are the benefits of ice fishing fish finders?
The use of an ice fishing fish finder allows anglers to assess all that lies below a lake’s frozen surface. This is of significant value, as ice anglers are primarily unable to view typical signs of fish activity that take place close to the water’s surface. On unfrozen lakes, fish can often be seen striking at schools of baitfish, jumping above the water’s surface, and swimming in the shallows. However, ice anglers are never presented with this opportunity.
A fish finder provides ice fishers with intel that they would otherwise not receive, thereby allowing these anglers to make the best possible use of their time. These are also generally compact in design, making it quite easy for anglers to reestablish their efforts elsewhere, should success prove tricky to come by.
What’s the difference between an ice fish finder and a regular fish finder?
The vast majority of today’s ice fishing fish finders are of the flasher type. Flashers feature an illuminated wheel-style display that alerts to the presence of fish at a particular depth. This differs from the down/side imaging sonar units that are heavily employed on open water. Flashers are used for ice fishing, primarily because they do not require the use of solid-state transducers.
Alternatively, several anglers have begun using compact, portable fish finders, which utilize handheld displays. Some of these units also possess Bluetooth capabilities and can be paired to an angler’s cell phone.
Do I need a waterproof fish finder?
When selecting a fish finder for purchase, it is always a great idea to first consider the weather conditions you anticipate facing. While ice fishing fish finders do not necessarily need to be waterproof, they operate in extreme temperatures, often harsh on electronic devices.
When selecting a sonar unit for ice fishing use, it is essential to study a product’s operating temperature range carefully. An ice fish finder must be capable of withstanding temperatures as low as 0-degrees Fahrenheit.
The first step to ice fishing success is locating an excellent location to base your efforts. A fish finder simplifies this process by allowing anglers to take stock of all under the ice. Once fish are found in fair numbers, an angler can get down to the business of catching their limit.
However, not all ice fish finders are created equally. Some fish finders are much more portable than others and feature a far greater number of additional features. The information featured above will guide you in your efforts to locate the best possible sonar unit to fit your specific needs. With the purchase of a new fish finder and a little luck, you will be pulling fish from below the ice in short order.