Top 14 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders Reviewed 2020 + Essential Buying Guide
If you’ve ever been ice fishing, you know how much fun it is.
What better way to spend those long winter evenings than sitting out with your pole, wrapped up warm in your jacket, whiling the hours away?
Sounds great, but there’s a catch: how do you know where the fish are?
Not only that, but how can you tell how deep the water runs? What’s the terrain like down there?
That’s where fish finders come into their own.
These kits are built specifically to help you locate fish, which they do in a few different ways I’ll explain below.
If you’ve ever wanted to buy one of these devices but didn’t know where to start, read on. Here are the best ice fishing fish finders around.
- Top 14 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders 2020
- Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
- LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder
- Eyoyo Ice/Sea Fish Finder Camera
- Humminbird ICE 35 Three Color Flasher
- Marcum Showdown Troller Combo
- Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar
- Eyoyo Portable 7 inch Monitor Fish Finder
- ActionEliters Fish Finder
- Humminbird PiranhaMAX Fish Finder
- Lowrance Hook Ice Fishing 4X Fish Finder
- Eyoyo Portable Fish Finder with Fish Attractive Lamp
- Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
- LUCKY Portable Fish Finders Wired Transducer
- Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer
- Ice Fishing Fish Finders Buying Guide
- In Summary
Top 14 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders 2020
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
Review: One of the most well-known fish finders out there.
The Garmin comes equipped with all the kit you’ll need to get going, including a waypoint map to easily map landmarks; chirp sonar, which uses a continuous sweep of frequencies to build a clear picture; and a built-in flasher, which displays your sonar data in the tried-and-tested flasher format.
- Contains everything you need to get going right from the off.
- Features the ability to check your boat’s speed on-screen.
- Self-contained in a backpack, the Garmin is über-portable and doesn’t take up hardly any room.
- Expensive – the Garmin is a top-line piece of equipment and the price point reflects it.
- Involved beginners may struggle with the highly technical interface controls.
LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder
Review: Designed for beginners yet accurate enough for fishing lovers of all abilities, the LUCKY is usable by anyone.
With a 2inch display and blue LED back lighting, it fits right in your hand and makes sure you don’t miss anything important.
- Price – the LUCKY is one of the cheaper options on the market today.
- Flexibility – with 5 different sensitivity presets, you can use the LUCKY in a whole range of different scenarios.
- Alerts – this fish finder will ping you alerts when fish or fish schools are passing by.
- Limited functionality – if you’re a pro, the LUCKY’s simplified display and control options might frustrate you in your search for more precise information.
- Depth readout – it can detect fish in a range from 3ft to 328ft, which means that anything outside that zone will be invisible to you.
Eyoyo Ice/Sea Fish Finder Camera
Review: With a battery time of up to 7 hours and a 4.3inch TFT color monitor, the Eyoyo underwater fish finding camera takes a different approach to ice fishing.
Instead of using sonar to map out the environment, the Eyoyo feeds a real-time image back up to the user.
- Rechargeable battery allows for longer-term fishing trips without worrying about losing the ability to find fish.
- Lightweight and easy to carry, the Eyoyo isn’t a clunky piece of equipment and you won’t find it weighing you down.
- With a cable length of 15m, the camera can be let out far enough to get a good view of what’s going on.
- If the water isn’t clear, this device won’t be of any use to you as you’ll be able to tell very little from the image you get.
- It can’t operate in temperatures of under -20 degrees Fahrenheit, which rules out some locations.
Humminbird ICE 35 Three Color Flasher
Review: Maybe the most well-recognized brand name in the ice fishing arena, Humminbird have become known for making quality pieces of equipment and their ICE series of flashers is no different.
Combining reliable flasher technology with innovative new features, everything you need is right at your fingertips.
- Extreme-temperature LCD automatically finds and reports the lake bottom, saving you from having to do it manually.
- 526 segment three-color fiber optic display is crystal-clear.
- Expensive. This is one of the top of the line pieces of kit and the cost reflects this, although when it comes to the best ice fishing fish finders for money, the Humminbird does offer a lot of value.
Marcum Showdown Troller Combo
Review: With a 5-inch vertical LCD display and a pack and lanyard included in the deal, the Marcum has everything you need to get started.
- Smart sonar makes use of digital technology to produce a precise image.
- 4000 watts of power means it’s strong enough to work anywhere.
- No alternate battery power included.
- Keypad membrane allows for moisture to build up in theory, potentially causing a short.
Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar
Review: Versatile and wireless, the Deeper PRO casts beams up to 330ft and scans down to 260ft, operating with dual beam sonar frequency.
- Wireless technology is exciting for anybody and allows for serious versatility during the ice fishing.
- Generates its own wi-fi signal which can sync with your smartphone.
- Compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
- It’s on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
- Maximum wireless connection distance of 100m could prove tricky if something unexpected happens.
Eyoyo Portable 7 inch Monitor Fish Finder
Review: Another camera offering from Eyoyo, the 7-inch Monitor version is cheaper than many of its competitors and boasts up to 8 hours of working time.
- Infrared LEDs will help see more fish in a dark environment.
- HD definition produces a gorgeous, striking image.
- All batteries deplete over time, so it won’t provide 8 hours of working time forever.
ActionEliters Fish Finder
Review: Rechargeable and boasting a high definition display, the live-update water-bottom feature is ideal for ice fishing.
- The fish alarm feature sends automatic alerts which prompt fish to approach, and when the fish gets close it sends out an alarm to allow the angler to enjoy the fishing instead of staring at the float.
- Wireless sonar makes it ideal for ice fishing, although it can be used in salt- and fresh-water too.
- The two modes it offers can be a bit finicky to figure out until you get used to it.
Humminbird PiranhaMAX Fish Finder
Review: Another offering from Humminbird, this model features Down Imaging which displays any structures beneath you with great detail.
- Tilt and Swivel Mount system allow you to quickly and easily adjust your viewing area angle.
- Both narrow and wide beams are offered, providing the user with the ability to get a precise, sharp picture or a broader view of what’s going on.
- At only 2.6 pounds, it’s lightweight and as such a little flimsy.
- Uses lithium ion batteries which aren’t the most efficient options available.
Lowrance Hook Ice Fishing 4X Fish Finder
Review: Ideal for kayaks and boats with limited room for a console, this Lowrance comes as a sonar-only model, although there exists a similar fish finder from the same company with GPS technology built-in.
- Compact at only 18 x 10 x 6 inches, the Lowrance is ideal if you don’t have much room.
- Easy-to-use menus blend simple design with powerful technology.
- Very expensive, considering the relatively few features it offers compared to similar price-point models.
Eyoyo Portable Fish Finder with Fish Attractive Lamp
Review: The third Eyoyo product on this list is the first item that isn’t a camera and is relatively basic in what it can do.
- The Sonar sensor comes with an attractive lamp, which makes it possible to both detect and lure fishes from the same device.
- The color screen allows underwater contouring to be easily legible at a glance.
- A depth floor of 60m means you could well be missing out on the full picture.
- The low price reflects the lack of features offered by this device.
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
Review: By detecting water depth, fish location, weeds (both short & tall), and the seabed terrain, this powerful device gives you a comprehensive image of what’s going on beneath the surface.
- 5 levels of selectable sensitivity, as well as the battery save mode, make it possible to customize its function to your precise needs.
- A 2-year warranty, which is twice as long as standard, reflects the company’s confidence in their product.
- When ice fishing using this device, you’ll need to freeze it to the ice by using water to ensure it’ll get a clear image. This reduces its versatility somewhat.
LUCKY Portable Fish Finders Wired Transducer
Review: Featuring five levels of adjustable sensitivity and a 25ft cable wire to increase its depth range, this device packs a surprisingly powerful punch in terms of hardware.
- The biggest pro is the price: this is one of the cheapest devices on the market and deserves inclusion in a list of anybody’s best ice fishing fish finders for its cost/functionality ratio alone.
- The color LCD display is visible under sunshine, while the backlight makes it usable for night fishing as well.
- This fish finder isn’t waterproof, which is a big problem.
- The use of AAA batteries leads to poor battery life.
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer
Review: Rugged and ready, the Garmin Striker Plus 4 comes with enough hardware to function well in every fishing environment.
- Built-in Garmin quickdraw software allows you to create and store maps for up to 2 million acres.
- The GPS includes features for marking waypoints, creating routes and viewing your boat’s speed (if you’re in a boat).
- There’s no information from Garmin on how deep this fish finder can see. (at least I couldn’t find)
- Once installed in a boat, it’s a real headache to move.
Ice Fishing Fish Finders Buying Guide
When you’re researching which is the best ice fishing fish finder for you, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
The array of products can seem intimidating, so I’ve broken it down into a few general categories which you can keep in the back of your head when you’re weighing up your options.
Sonar or Camera?
This first question might seem obvious, but it needs to be asked.
Sonar-based fish finders send out a series of frequencies which bounce back off of everything they hit.
By doing this they effectively paint a picture of what’s going on beneath the fisherman, allowing him not only to judge the sea floor but to actually see the fish themselves.
Cameras, on the other hand, produce a much clearer, real-time image, but don’t include any information about the contouring of the floor.
What’s more, in cloudy, unclear water, a camera won’t be able to tell you anything you don’t already know.
How are the Conditions?
No matter what kind of fishing you’re doing, it’s absolutely crucial to know what kind of conditions you’ll be dealing with as best you can ahead of time, so you can prepare accordingly.
Ice fishing is no different, although the conditions can be unpredictable if you’re not experienced.
Is the water likely to be clear, in which case you might want to go for a camera – or will there be debris in the way, which would necessitate a sonar system?
How’s the sun?
Ice fishing often takes place in sunny conditions.
If you’re expecting a lot of sun, you’ll want to make sure you’ve gone for a device that comes with backlighting, or some other glare-resistant measures. After all, it’s no good knowing where the fish are if you can’t read your display.
How deep is the water likely to be?
Some fish finders have much more limited depth ranges than others.
These are all questions you’ll want to be asking yourself as a means to narrow down which fish finders are suitable for you.
Are You in it for the Short or the Long Haul?
If you’re planning an extended ice fishing expedition, make sure you consider the battery life of the fish finder you’re going to bring with you.
While some models feature rechargeable batteries (which can be provided for with a portable power generator), others don’t.
Some items on the list above simply aren’t suitable for extended periods spent ice fishing.
On the other hand, if you’re only planning to be angling for short periods at a time, you might be swayed towards the more powerful, shorter-lasting range of fish finders.
After all, if endurance isn’t an issue, why not give yourself the best chance possible?
By the way, here’s a great video I found on the internet, explaining the exciting new ice fishing sonar developments in 2020. I recommend giving it a watch, if only to geek out over some new tech.
Do I Need a Fish Finder?
The short answer is no. People have been fishing perfectly well for centuries without fish finders.
When it comes to ice fishing, however, I can’t recommend one strongly enough.
You simply can’t tell what’s going on under the ice with your naked eye, no matter how experienced you are.
What’s more, many of the models provide a lot more information than just whether there are any fish around.
Terrain and sea-floor data will help you decide sooner rather than later if you’re in a good spot, regardless of if there are fish at the moment or not.
How Much is a Reasonable Amount to Spend?
This one comes completely down to you: your ability as a fisherman, the budget you have to spend on fishing equipment, and how seriously you take fishing.
If you’re a pro who spends a lot of their time with a rod in hand, you might want to splash out.
You’ll be able to make great use of some of the more advanced features.
If you’re a hobbyist who only makes it out to the ice once in a blue moon, there’s no point breaking the bank.
Even a basic model will improve your experience, even if it’s just by taking some of the pressure off yourself.
Does it Need to be Waterproof?
This might sound like a no-brainer, but when it comes to ice fishing, water-resistance isn’t necessarily as important as you might think.
Given that you’ll be fishing through holes in the ice once you’ve already picked a good spot, there’s no reason to think your fish finder would ever need to get wet – or certainly not as wet as it would in other fishing situations.
While it can never hurt to waterproof your equipment, this one is definitely not a necessity, and again comes down to your experience and skill as an angler.
Can You Use a Regular Fish Finder for Ice Fishing?
Although there’s no major difference in the technology used for finding fish in icy conditions as opposed to regular saltwater or freshwater, there are a couple of things worth mentioning about whether a regular fish finder is suitable or not.
The first of these are the conditions.
Many fish finders claim to be suitable for all situations, but the reality is not all of them will be durable enough to last as long as you might like them to in the chilly conditions of ice fishing.
Another thing is the functions you’ll need to have available in your device.
When you are ice fishing, there’s no way to tell what’s going on in the water underneath you.
Unlike regular fishing, you can’t use your eyes, even to estimate the distance or spot pieces of floating debris.
You’ll want your fish finder to be able to tell you everything you need to know about the sea floor, if possible, since that’s going to have a big effect on whether or not fish come along to your spot.
In conclusion, when choosing a fish finder for ice fishing, you’re going to need to be stricter with your requirements than otherwise.
When it comes to finding the best ice fishing fish finders, there are a number of factors you need to take into account.
By far the most influential of these is your fishing ability.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a rookie stepping out onto the ice for the first time is going to have a huge impact on which is a good model for your purposes.
The list above is my Top 14, but it is by no means exhaustive, and I encourage you to do your own research.
Just be sure to refer back to the buying guide to keep yourself focused.
Do you have any ice fishing words of wisdom you’d like to share with us?
Let us in on the secret in the comments below.