Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders (2021 Buying Guide)

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher
“Get highly accurate, clear reading and real-time feedback when ice fishing with the Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher. It is reliable even at a 250-foot depth, giving you the best possible chance at success.”

Most Portable: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder
“If portability is your priority, nothing can beat the Deeper PRO + Smart Sonar Finder. Its lightweight design that comes with amazing array of features make it the most portable and versatile fish finder on the market today.”

Best Mapping Unit: Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
“Experience top notch technology when going ice fishing with the Garmin Striker 4. It has one of the most excellent mapping features out there, making it ideal for navigation even in large expanses of open water.”

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Every year, the annual winter freeze signals the beginning of ice fishing season.

During this exciting time of the year, many northern anglers flock to nearby lakes, in search of the hot fishing action that lies right beneath the ice.

While ice fishing, anglers lean heavily on their selection of gear, to make the most out of every outing, for many anglers, this selection of gear includes an ice fishing fish finder.

Quality ice fishing fish finders allow anglers to determine what lies below the ice and make adjustments to their strategy accordingly.

As a result, one often experiences a far more successful day on the water.

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Our ranking
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Humminbird 410990-1 Humminbird 410990-1 ICE Helix 7 Fishfinder CHIRP GPS G2N All-Season
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Our Rating 88/100
Our Rating 86/100
Feature 1
200-foot operating range for versatile use
GPS capable for use in multiple mapping functions
Built-in mapping capabilities for ultimate versatility
Feature 2
Adjustable gain settings for improved clarity
WIFI hotspot connectivity for integration with any mobile device
CHIRP sonar for enhanced image clarity
Best Overall
Our ranking
Ranked #1
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Humminbird 410990-1 Humminbird 410990-1 ICE Helix 7 Fishfinder CHIRP GPS G2N All-Season
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
200-foot operating range for versatile use
Feature 2
Adjustable gain settings for improved clarity
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Most Portable
Our ranking
Ranked #2
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Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Our grade
Our Rating 88/100
Feature 1
GPS capable for use in multiple mapping functions
Feature 2
WIFI hotspot connectivity for integration with any mobile device
Buy Now Button
Best Mapping Unit
Our ranking
Ranked #3
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Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Our grade
Our Rating 86/100
Feature 1
Built-in mapping capabilities for ultimate versatility
Feature 2
CHIRP sonar for enhanced image clarity
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Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders (2021 Buying Guide)

1. Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher

Best Overall: As rich in quality, as it is in features

Humminbird 410990-1 Humminbird 410990-1 ICE Helix 7 Fishfinder CHIRP GPS G2N All-Season
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KEY FEATURES

  • Fiber-optic color display for simplified use
  • 200-foot 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 Three Color 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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The Humminbird Ice-35 Three Color Flasher’s multi-faceted display provides anglers with real-time feedback that is highly accurate. The unit’s three-color display allows one to differentiate between the lake bottom, their lure, and fish swimming below. This will assist an angler in determining the depth at which to present their lure, to achieve the best possible chance at success.

Anglers are also likely to appreciate the Humminbird Ice-35 Three Color Flasher’s adjustable gain. This makes it possible to adjust the unit’s sensitivity on the fly, in order to match the particular scenario at hand. When this is combined with the Humminbird Ice-35 Three Color Flasher’s dynamic zoom, a wealth of opportunity is presented.

The Humminbird Ice-35 Three Color Flasher features a maximum operating depth of 200-foot, which should prove more than capable in any ice fishing scenario. However, an angler can also adjust this flasher’s zoom setting, making it possible to achieve the perfect blend of clarity and depth detection. This circumvents many issues encountered when operating fixed range units.

2. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder

Most Portable: Portable enough for every excursion

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Fish Finder
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KEY FEATURES

  • WIFI hotspot connectivity for integration with any mobile device
  • GPS capable for use in multiple mapping functions
  • 260-foot operating range for ultimate versatility

If you are currently in search of a lightweight, extremely portable fish finder that will assist you in all of your ice fishing endeavors, then the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder 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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Rather than utilizing a built-in display screen, the Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder relays data directly to your phone or tablet. This minimizes bulk and allows data to be presented in a simple, yet easily deciphered format. This unit uses a phone’s built-in WIFI hotspot capabilities to facilitate data transmission and is not dependent upon internet connectivity for use.

The Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder also features built-in GPS capabilities. This programming allows anglers to map data on their electronic devices, for use on future fishing excursions. This data can be organized into maps, which can be saved, modified, and reviewed at any time. This makes it possible to plan for your next fishing trip, before ever leaving the comfort of your own home.

Many anglers are also likely to find favor in the Deeper Pro+ Smart Fish Finder’s dual-beam functionality. This sonar unit is capable of depicting images in a flasher-style format and features a depth range of 260 feet.

3. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Best Mapping Unit: Compact, yet capable, in virtually any situation

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
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KEY FEATURES

  • 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 of a lined construction, providing an additional layer of protection for your electronics.

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Many anglers are also likely to find favor in the Garmin Striker 4 Portable Kit’s built-in CHIRP sonar. This type of sonar operates at multiple frequency ranges, thereby providing additional image depth, clarity, and sensitivity, to meet the needs of even the most demanding of anglers. This technology makes it possible to recognize defined fish arches, without troubling image distortion.

The Garmin Striker 4 Portable Kit also features a flasher style display, which should be perfect for use when ice fishing. Flashers are generally conducive to success when vertical jigging, such as that which is considered a staple of ice fishing. This style of sonar display provides anglers with highly accurate feedback, in regards to the depth at which fish are holding.

This sonar unit also features built-in mapping capabilities, which make it possible for anglers to mark numerous waypoints of interest. This is not only of significance when ice fishing, but can be used for navigation purposes when the spring thaw presents large expanses of open water. This offers anglers a level of versatility that should be highly appreciated.

4. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder

Best Budget Sonar Unit: Excellent imaging in the palm of your hand

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display
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KEY FEATURES

  • 240-foot depth of detection for ample freshwater coverage
  • High-definition color display for enhanced target depiction
  • Audible alarm for simplified fish detection

If you are currently searching for a handheld fish finder that offers clarity that is on the same level with top-notch fixed-screen sonar models available on the market, then 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. It can resist glare even in direct sunlight.

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The HawkEye Fishtrax 1c Fish Finder also utilizes the most recent software to detect bottom contour in the highest degree of definition and as much detail as possible. This is especially handy when pursuing fish like bass and crappie which relate heavily to structure. The algorithm of this software is also equipped to minimize false readings, providing an angler with accurate, reliable, easy-to-use data.

Many anglers will be pleased to know that the HawkEye Fishtrax Fish Finder can detect landscape of up to 240 feet depth. This range is excellent in virtually any ice fishing scenario, as few freshwater fish reside below these depths. This depth coverage also allows alternative forms of fishing, making it quite versatile.

It also has a convenient alarm which goes off when it detects fish presence – a feature that many will likely find of value, especially when other tasks take an angler’s attention away from the unit’s display. This allows an angler to quickly ready their gear to capitalize on the opportunity at hand.

5. Lowrance HOOK² Ice Fishing Fish Finder

Simplest To Use: Refined imaging for the discerning angler

Lowrance HOOK² Ice Fishing and All-Season Pack with HOOK² 4X Fish Finder, Two Transducers, Battery, Charger and Carry Case
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KEY FEATURES

  • 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 are not fans of traditional flasher style sonar units. This fish finder utilizes double CHIRP sonar, in order to provide highly defined images, which can be 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 individual style of fishing.

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Many anglers are also likely to find favor in the Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing Fish Finder’s auto-adjusting sonar capabilities. Rather than being forced to manually set power and depth related adjustments, this unit handles the manipulation of all settings in an automatic fashion. This should save time, and produce the best possible results within any given application.

The Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing Fish Finder also features easy to navigate menus, and simplistic user interfaces, eliminating much of the difficulty associated with the use of more complex sonar units. In many regards, if you can operate a cellular phone, you will have no problem navigating the Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing Fish Finder’s functional menus.

Anglers are also allowed to choose between numerous Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing Fish Finder models, which feature display sizes of various dimensions. The Lowrance Hook 2 Ice Fishing Fish Finder is available in 4″, 5″, 7″, 9″ and 12″ display models, with an average weight of only 4.5 pounds. This should make the Hook 2 portable enough for use in even the most remote of ice fishing excursions.


Things to Consider when Buying the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders 

Durability

Quality ice fishing 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. In order to stand the test of time, an ice fishing sonar unit must be quite durable, and up to the task at hand.

Weight

A fish finder must be lightweight,  to offer substantial appeal to ice fishermen, who must transport their gear across the frozen water.

Ice fishermen are typically required to tote their gear for lengthy distances, to reach their destination. A large, bulky fish finder can make this task relatively difficult to tackle. However, the use of a lightweight alternative can save substantial hassle, and make transport much easier.

Frequency

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. 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.

Backlit Display

Some fish finders feature a backlit display, which simplifies viewing under extremely 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.

Power

An angler must put ample thought into how their fish finder will be powered, or else risk facing decreased usage times.

When selecting a battery for use with an ice fishing fish finder, it is important 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 both of the above-mentioned needs.

Price

As is common of most electronic products, an angler often gets what they pay for when purchasing a fish finder of any type.

Realistically, most anglers are unable to 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 important to place ample consideration into a sonar unit’s operating characteristics and capabilities, in order 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 fishermen are largely 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 fishermen are never presented with this opportunity.

A fish finder provides ice fishermen with intel that they would otherwise not receive, thereby allowing these anglers to make the best possible use of their time. Ice fishing fish finders are also generally compact in design, making it quite easy for anglers to reestablish their efforts elsewhere, should success prove hard to come by.

Ice Fish Finder vs Regular Fish Finder: What’s the difference?

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 due to the fact that they do not require the use of solid-state transducers.

Alternatively, a number of anglers have begun using compact, portable fish finders, which utilize handheld displays. Some of these units also possess Bluetooth capabilities and are capable of being 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 that you anticipate facing. While ice fishing fish finders do not necessarily need to be waterproof, they are operated in extreme temperatures, which are often harsh on electronic devices.

When selecting a sonar unit for ice fishing use, it is important to carefully study a product’s operating temperature range. An ice fishing fish finder must be capable of withstanding temperatures as low as 0-degrees Fahrenheit.


Conclusion

The first step to ice fishing success is locating a promising location to base your efforts. An ice fishing fish finder simplifies this process, by allowing anglers to take stock of all that lies under the ice. Once fish are found in suitable numbers, an angler can get down to the business of catching their limit.

However, not all ice fishing 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.