Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders of 2021 – Complete Review

| Last Updated June 12, 2021

Having a fish finder on hand designed for ice fishing scenarios can be an invaluable tool on the ice. By being able to “see” what is obscured under the ice and through many feet of water, you can effectively target fish with precision.

Modern ice fishing units are able to incorporate a variety of functions such as GPS, fish finding, and ice fishing flasher modes to make them more versatile. Many units can even be used interchangeably between sitting on the ice and mounting to a watercraft.

Let's see why you ought to consider an electronic fish finder for your ice fishing endeavors.

Comparison of the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Clear scanning CHIRP sonar produces almost photographic images
  • Simple keyed interface with dedicated buttons and a flasher
  • Let's you create a waypoint map for navigation and tracking
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  • Castable fish finder with a deep and wide scanning range
  • In-built GPS let's you create bathymetric maps for tracking
  • In-built battery and connects easily and quickly with iOS/Android devices
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  • Features a round transducer with 25 feet cable
  • Simple interface and features a plethora of user settings
  • Works for all fishing environments and covered by a 2 year warranty
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  • Comprehensive fish finder with CHIRP dual beam PLUS sonar
  • 5-inch color display and Micro-SD card slot for saving data
  • Precision internal GPS chart plotting with built-in anima cartography
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  • 8 inch display for easy reading
  • Four different color palettes to choose from
  • Dashboard displays depth, battery voltage, range, etc
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  • Can use it for offshore, kayak, ice, lake, sea fishing
  • Portable depth detector range from 3 - 328 feet
  • Comes with many powerful, useful functions
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  • Connection range of up to 330 feet
  • Compatible with kayak, ice, and shore fishing
  • Enabled for wireless Wi-Fi - no internet required
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Can Any Fish Finder Be Used For Ice Fishing?

Yes, traditional fish finders can work for ice fishing too, but they need some craftsmanship to work best such as removing the transducer and the cable and maintaining its balance underwater. It can be a pretty difficult task as you need to carefully remove the screen and then trace the wire to the transducer within your boat. 

There is still some ambiguity on how to make the best use of boat fish finders in ice fishing, such as, do we create another hole for the finder to be submerged in? Flashers (another sonar-based fish finder) work pretty well for ice fishing, too, but the best of all are still the newest upgraded portable fish finders.

What is the Difference Between an Ice Fishing Fish Finder and an Ice Fishing Flasher? 

Ice fishing flashers are one of the first and most commonly used electronic devices for ice fishing. There are traditional, stand-alone ice flasher units, along with units that incorporate fish finder and GPS functions, as well.

Flashers are merely portable sonar units that allow you to view what is going on beneath you under the ice through the use of a sonar beam that emanates from the unit.

An ice fishing fish finder works very similar to the types of units you would use on a boat. They vary depending on the available features but generally work the same. They have an external transducer that must be placed in the ice hole to read what is below you.

On the screen, a variety of colors represent different types of signals depending on the hardness of the objects below. A fish finder will not only just allow you to view the fish at different depths below you, but it will give you a glimpse into the habitat composition of the water column and lake bottom below you.

While a fish finder displays a variety of shapes below you, a traditional ice fishing flasher has a clock-like circle. This circle represents increasing depths in a clockwise manner. Shapes appear around this circle to indicate what is below.

Like a fish finder, different materials have different color representations. When an object is present in the field below, a color appears according to the object's “hardness”. Generally, green is a soft reading such as plants or fish, while red is a hard reading such as a rocky bottom. 

Flashers are designed for vertical jigging applications, and a key component for a flasher is the ability to detect even small jigs. This allows you to fish with your lure at the exact depth necessary.

The flasher also allows you to detect the holding depth of fish. Additionally, it enables you to see when a fish moves in order to check out your lure or jig and anticipate a potential strike.

Ice Fishing Finder and Flashers (Source)

Comparison Overview 

Let’s now compare the famous ice fishing finder with a flasher to see which one fares better. There also exist different fish finders for different kinds of fishing. The following comparisons can help you find the ideal product based on your use. 

Ice Fishing Fish Finder vs Flasher

The basic differences between Ice fishing fish finders and flashers are as follows:

Display

An ice fishing fish finder display incorporates an RTS window, displaying a history of a few moments earlier. Some fish finders don’t come with an RTS display.

A flasher, on the other hand, showcases a simple dial with multi-colored lights. If we talk about understandability, fish finders are usually easier to interpret and understand as compared to a flasher, which needs a little bit of practice to interpret. 

Battery Life

The battery life of an ice fishing fish finder is not great as compared to a flasher. This is because the LCD screen on the former eats up significant battery life. If we compare it to a flasher, it has simpler displays and hence, less battery consumption. 

GPS and Mapping

An ice fishing fish finder has built-in GPS and mapping systems that make the task a whole lot simpler. On the contrary, a flasher doesn’t include a built-in GPS, so you will have to do with a handheld GPS. 

Ice Fishing Fish Finder vs Open Water

We believe that a fish finder for ice fishing and open water differ on the basis of the following two factors:

Type

A castable fish finder is best for ice fishing as you can simply drop the floating transducer after making a hole in the ice. You can then see if the spot you found is good or not. 

When it comes to open water, you can choose between boat-mounted and castable fish finders. The former provides a great resolution for what’s underwater. The range is limited to what’s beneath the boat alongside to a certain point. 

Requirement

While optimal clarity and detailed scans of underwater activities are important for both ice and open water fishing, you also need to take into account the durability of the fish finder in extreme temperatures in the case of ice fishing. Therefore, fish finders with the ability to withstand colder temperatures are an important consideration. 

On the other hand, boat fishermen will require designs offering superior down imaging, side imaging sonar, topography, and bait balls. 

Key Features of the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders

A full-featured, all-purpose ice fishing unit should incorporate several types of functions. As discussed above, a full-featured ice fishing unit will be able to serve as both a traditional ice fishing flasher and a modern style fish finder.

Additionally, many of these higher end units incorporate GPS functions to help you keep track of important spots on the ice or in your boat.

A truly versatile ice fishing fish finder should incorporate all of the above. Having an ice fishing/fish finding/GPS unit will open up a myriad of opportunities for you.

It will also trim down your gear hoard by combining three units into one compact and convenient package.

Review of the Best Fish Finders for Ice Fishing

In today's market, it can be difficult to know which ice fish finders are truly the best. An outstanding ice fish finder should have all the leading edge functions in order to catch the most amount of fish. Continue reading our reviews to help you choose the best ice fish finder.

Best Overall:
 Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer

Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5' GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer

PROS

  • Supports up to 200 kHz frequency
  • Inexpensive in terms of quality and quantity of features present on this fish finder
  • Colored view helps in better understanding of the information being displayed on the LCD
  • Easiest in terms of managing a device as it comes in a portable kit and only weighs 230 grams
  • You can mark the bushes, endpoints, and stumps along the way to efficiently work yourself through the water 
  • Budget-minded fish finder
  • Lightweight and ultra-compact for boats or ice
  • All-in-one unit, can be used as a fishfinder, GPS, or ice fishing flasher

CONS

  • No map details outside the US
  • Does not work well after being splashed with saltwater
  • Needs supplementary mounts to be installed on a kayak
  • Being an all-in-one unit, some performance sacrifices can be a trade-off

What Recent Buyers Report 

The usage and efficiency of this device are complementary to the needs of fishers under almost all exotic conditions. The way-point GPS marking system helps you safely return to the docks without the worries of being lost in the wilderness. Plus, the portable kit makes it possible for almost everyone to carry it easily with them.

Why it Stands Out to Us

In our opinion, the CHIRP transducers are the most marked quality of this unit. The CHIRP technology sends out multiple wave-forms to be returned in a number of frequencies to read different objects being perceived underwater. Another quality presented in this device is the colored display, which makes it easily readable even for those just starting out with fishing.

If you are looking for a  powerful, all-in-one unit to serve as a GPS, ice fishing flasher, and fish finder; this may be your unit. The Garmin Striker Plus 4 is a compact unit weighing less than one pound and features the well-known CHIRP technology for ultra-clear, precise images.

This unit has a full-feature ice fishing flasher display mode as well. The GPS features allow the user to mark way-points and place tracks on water or ice across a wide variety of downloaded map layers. The traditional fish finder feature allows the user to mount to a boat for use and is available in several different screen display sizes.

The Garmin Striker 4 is an excellent choice for those wanting to combine their assets into one powerful tool. You can have three separate tools for the job or one tool to do it all. The latter is the case for this Garmin unit.

Many reviewers agree this is one of the best units for the value on the market. Equally at home on a boat or on the ice, this unit will help make fishing quicker and easier.

Who Will Use This Most

People who look at fishing as a leisure activity as well as professionals whose bread depends on finding the most fish can make great use of this device as they please. The added safety of way-point GPS makes it the best suitable for leisure fishers or hobbyists

Bottom Line

In the end, this model is all about accessibility and efficiency and provides both of these at a low cost. We find it to be a great pick because of the portability along with the colored screens and the way-point GPS, which helps you to determine where most of the fish are. 

The versatility of this unit is truly hard to beat. At the size of a conventional fish finder and with its accompanying features, you would think that's enough.

However, this unit also allows users to utilize traditional ice-fishing flasher mode for vertical jigging. At a budget price, this deal is truly hard to beat and is a great multi-purpose tool for your fishing toolbox.

Runner-up:
 Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

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

PROS

  • Data can be saved on the cloud
  • Can scan a range of 330 ft. and a depth of about 260 ft
  • Even though it weighs 3.5 ounces, it is easy to carry on a trip
  • Bathymetric mapping shows the depth and shallowness of water at any point
  • Uses frequency of 90 kHz to cover a larger area and then 290 kHz beam to give a detailed result
  • More expensive than other units
  • Ultimate in fishing scenario versatility
  • Compact and castable spherical transducer
  • Powerful unit with GPS, fish finder, and ice flasher

CONS

  • Weighs 3.5 ounces
  • Battery runs out if not charged every 6 months
  • Safety strap comes loose with the slightest bit of pressure
  • Must be used in conjunction with a smartphone

What Recent Buyers Report 

Recent customers reported that this device was the perfect solution for fishing. Particularly, users liked it because of the casting system that gives detailed information on the depth and temperature of the water. Also, GPS and cloud data saving features were quite appreciated by users. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stood out in our opinion because of its two main features. One of the two is the casting system that gives the appropriate direction of water and uses multiple frequency ranges to give a detailed scan of the underwater. The second is its ability to save the data on the cloud to conveniently use any other day.

A new and innovative product on the market, this Deeper Smart Sonar PRO combines the power of your smartphone with a non-traditional transducer. When you buy this unit, you get no display screen.

Instead, the spherical transducer pairs up to your smartphone device via integrated WiFi to serve as your display. You can choose from a variety of different display modes including GPS, ice fishing flasher, and fish finder.

The true ingenuity of this spherical transducer is its versatility in fishing applications. This unit can be attached to your boat or can be cast out into the water to obtain a reading from a specific area.

This feature makes it one of the only shore-fishing compatible fish finders. There are many different adjustments to fine-tune your readings. Some of these include, sensitivity adjustments and cone angle adjustments.

Who Will Use This Most

Professional fishermen report that this device works perfectly for them to find the masses of fish and make the most profit from it. Go-to kayakers and leisure time fishers can also benefit a great deal from it as its features are the newest introduced in fish finders. 

Bottom Line 

The bottom line on this one is that its caste out system stands out among other devices because of its ability to predict the water temperature and shallowness before beginning fishing. In addition, the data-saving option to the cloud is the best one yet as it saves time and effort for everyday fishermen.

If you are looking for the next new step in fish finder innovation, be sure to check this one out. Offering extreme versatility for use on a boat, on the ice, or even on the shore, this castable, spherical transducer is one of the most powerful on the market.

If you like to have your smartphone as a multi-purpose device, consider using it as your new fish finder. While this unit won't break the bank, you are going to pay for this great technology and convenience.

Best for the Money:
 Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder Handheld Fishfinder Fishing Gear Depth Finder with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display

PROS

  • Battery save mode works to elongate the time for usage
  • 25 ft cord helps you to find the spot of fish from the shore
  • Comes with a side-scan adapter, making it best for ice fishing
  • Backlight feature introduced to use the device comfortably at night
  • Has an option to go into battery saving mode to increase the usage and time
  • Compact yet powerful unit on a serious budget
  • Able to detect fish and structure down to over 300 feet

CONS

  • Receiver screen is not waterproof
  • Cannot detect fish smaller than 10 cm
  • Works best in temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius
  • Lacks ice flasher setting
  • Lacks much of the performance and capabilities offered in higher priced units

What Recent Buyers Report 

Recent buyers reported this device is easy to use, and the accessibility is increased as it has various adjustable features according to the fisherman’s needs. Moreover, they state that the side scan adapter helps a great deal in ice fishing and the 25 ft. cord helps with shore fishing.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stood out to us because of its adjustable features, as it can be used by anyone according to their needs. Also, the fact that it comes with a 25 ft cord for shore fishing and side scanner for ice fishing give it major points.

The Venterior Portable Fish Finder is a palm-sized, simple functioning fish finder. This is good for beginners on the tightest of budgets who may not be quite ready to jump into a more expensive unit. At a super-budget price, it is a quick sell, though be aware that it may lack the quality of some higher end units.

This device is able to detect rocks, weeds, and fish down to a depth of over 300 feet. The sensitivity of this unit only allows detection of fish within four inches.

This may not work for many ice-fishing scenarios when you need to detect small lures and jigs. It also lacks an ice flasher feature best used in ice fishing and jigging scenarios.

Who Will Use This Most

Older fishermen willing to indulge in leisure time fishing at the shore while looking for the best fish can benefit from it a lot. Also, ice fishers looking for the best catch can use its side scanning feature to make the best catch.

Bottom Line 

To sum it up, this is the best one out there for your money as it has various adjustable features. It comes along with a transducer and a 25 ft. transducer cord, adding onto its positive points. It also accompanies a side scanner, which makes it best suited for ice fishing.

This portable unit lacks many of the features and precision of other units on the market. However, for the price, this device functions as intended for a fish finder. If you desire a dedicated ice-fishing setup though, there are better options.

Best Humminbird Ice Fishing Fish Finder:
Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 Fish Finder

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder , Black

PROS

  • 5-inch color display is the widest and clear one so far
  • 2D SONAR to efficiently know where spools of fish are
  • Built-in slot for an SD card to save your mapped out areas of the water
  • Switch fire feature helps you choose how much data must appear onto your screen
  • You can select between frequency beams for a wider coverage or more precise data
  • Crisp and clear display
  • Basemap and auto-chart live to create maps or add to maps

CONS

  • Hardware that accompanies is not up to the mark
  • Weighs too much which can hinder with its portability 
  • No ice flasher mode

What Recent Buyers Report 

Recent buyers reported it to be an efficient product for their money. They report that the down imaging and side imaging covers every nook and cranny for a perfect fishing experience. Not just this, the efficient switch fire feature of the product allows you to choose how to view the data on your screen.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stood out to us for its amazing features, including the CHIRP technology and SONAR based down and side imaging. Also, the built-in GPS mapping works out to be the best for everyone. It also has a 5-inch color display that makes it one of the most desirable products on the market.

Humminbird is a big name in boat electronics. They deliver once more with this Helix 5, a high-quality and ultra-precise unit that is packed with versatility and multiple functions. The brilliant display screen allows the user to cycle through the different functions with large, easy to push buttons.

The new Switch-fire technology allows users to select between two different sonar modes. Furthermore, the user can add or remove certain details from the display; such as vegetation.

With the Humminbird Basemap, thousands of different maps are already at your fingertips. Additionally, with Auto-chart Live, you can constantly create your own bathymetric maps of your favorite fishing holes.

Who Will Use This Most

Everyone who either loves to fish or does it for a living can benefit from this device as the micro SD card storage stores your data to be used at any time of any day. The product is also extremely convenient to use, thus making it easier to handle for amateurs and professionals alike.

Bottom Line 

The key features of this product are the CHIRP and the SONAR based technology used best for side scanning as well as down imaging. The built-in GPS mapping system is the best one so far to create way-points along the way, and you can also save it in the SD card for later use.

If you are looking for a more boat-minded, ice fishing fish finder, check out this full-featured unit. Humminbird is a big name in fishing electronics and certainly delivers all it is known for in the Helix 5 unit.

This unit gives users nearly everything a good ice fishing fish finder should have, with the glaring exception of an ice flashing mode. Multiple different viewing options, layer selectivity, included maps, and the ability for your unit to record and create maps make this one a hard-to-beat unit.

Best Ice Fishing Sonar Fish Finder:
Marcum LX-7 Sonar System

Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder - LX-7

PROS

  • Two-year warranty for the system
  • Instantaneous sonar response that appears on LCD in real-time
  • Adjustable 8-inch LCD with brightness control and other elements
  • USB ports available for upgrades from the manufacturer and for connectivity
  • User-friendly interface with features such as silent operation and zoom interface for advanced accuracy

CONS

  • Some users reported that the battery could be better

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users seemed to love this ice fishing sonar fish finder, stating it as a game-changer and a product that is well worth it. Many reportedly upgraded from the LX-6 due to the larger LCD offered in the LX-7. The user-friendly system is incredibly useful while fishing, be it deep or shallow water. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Marcum LX-7 is one of the most technologically advanced ice fishing sonar fish finders on the market right now. It has an incredible LCD that works well with the quick-response sonar radar. It features high adjustability in view, brightness, and display. The ½-inch target separation not only prevents interference but also works well to provide deeply detailed imaging.

Furthermore, with Marcum’s exclusive Sonar Footprint technology, you are able to transmit coverage at any depth. You can also view the surroundings at 8°or 20° with the help of transducer cone angles. The LX-7 comes with an eight-feet transducer cable. 

All in all, this is one of the best ice fishing sonar fish finders you can buy. It offers all the best features you could want, all in an amazingly well-built design.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Marcum LX-7 gives a phenomenal response and shows incredible detail. It will make your ice fishing endeavors even more fruitful. The system is not just incredibly functional but also quite fun to use. We don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t get this fish finder for your next ice fishing trip.

Best Cheap Ice Fishing Fish Finder:
Lucky Handheld Fish Finder

Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar Handheld Wired Fish Finders Fishfinder Alarm Sensor Transducer with LCD Display

PROS

  • One-year warranty offered 
  • Two-inch Anti-UV/TN LCD with blue LED backlighting
  • Very small and lightweight, making it portable and easily storable
  • Very easy to set up and operate due to the user-friendly interface
  • Can detect water depth range from 3 to 328 feet (0.6m~100m) under the sensor

CONS

  • Some users reported that the batteries require frequent charging 

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers of this product seem to be quite satisfied with this incredibly portable sonar fish finder. All features work well and are just as advertised. The detection system works quite well. The user-friendly interface is what makes this so popular, especially at the price point.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Lucky Handheld Fish Finder is one of the best options available on the market today. It utilizes a great depth detection sensor, which has a range of 3-328ft. The fishing sonar sensor comes with a removable transducer float and a durable 25-feet cable.

This fish finder can detect approximate fish location, water depth, sand, rocks at the bottom, and small & tall weeds. All of this is displayed on the two-inch LCD. This product is so versatile that you can use it for activities other than ice fishing as well. These include kayak fishing, shore fishing, and even scuba diving, etc. 

Moreover, it comes with five different sensitivity modes that are specifically made for different fishing environments. The measurements can be shown in FT or M. The sensor’s operating temperature is rated around 14°F to 122°F(-10°C-50°C).

Bottom Line

This is an incredibly affordable ice fishing sonar fish finder that comes with all the best features. It is portable, and the build quality is quite durable and can withstand the rigors of fishing adventures. It is great for beginner fishers but can work just as well for seasoned ones as well. All in all, this is a great ice fishing accessory to have in your arsenal. 

Best Deeper Fish Finder Ice Fishing:
Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar

Deeper PRO Smart Sonar Castable and Portable Smart Sonar WiFi Fish Finder for Kayaks and Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Fish Finder

PROS

  • Target separation of 1 inch and includes GPS
  • User interface is very easy to use and operate
  • Shows the exact locations of the fish or fish schools
  • Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to your smartphone (both Android and iPhone compatible)
  • Dual-beam scanning cone angle transducer is able to reach a depth of up to 260 feet

CONS

  • You need a hefty fishing rod to cast the deeper as it needs to be half in the water and half out to connect via Wi-Fi

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost all the buyers of this product loved adding it to their ice fishing accessory arsenal. The Wi-Fi connectivity to their smartphones makes it incredibly useful with a user-friendly interface. Everything is displayed right on your smartphone’s screen in real-time. The response time shows no lags, as reported by users.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar is a premium and highly advanced ice fishing sonar fish finder. It is wirelessly connected to your Android or Apple smartphone to display all that it detects in real-time. It has a connection range of 330 ft.

This fish finder helps you scan hard-end places such as bridges, shores, docks, and other inaccessible areas. It can not only detect the depth and temperature of the water but also the exact fish location. Moreover, it can tell you whether the surface is soft or hard, and it can point out rocks and gravel at the bottom.

All the scanned areas can be mapped out and saved on the cloud for future references and future fishing adventures. This will help you record each location you fished at and where exactly you had the most success. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this particular fish finder is one of the best products available on the market today. Though you are paying a premium price, it is well worth everything you will be getting. It is a well-built fish finder that looks very stylish. All in all, we recommend you get this right away and experience why it’s the best yourself.

Editor's Pick
 Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder

Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder with built in GPS and WiFi with Navionics+ Charts and Transducer

PROS

  • Dual sonar modes
  • Pre-loaded with maps
  • Can pair with smartphone
  • Easy to use and read design

CONS

  • Lacks an ice fishing flasher mode

The Dragonfly PRO by Raymarine is a slick looking, LED-backlit display unit guaranteed to look great on your boat. The all-weather screen is optically bonded for beautifully sharp color and wide viewing angles and is available in three different sizes from 4.3 to 7 inches.

This unit features dual sonar modes. One is a wide spectrum CHIRP mode, for photo-like images of the world beneath your feet. The second is a conventional colored fish finding display to target even small fish.

This unit comes pre-loaded with a large variety of maps to serve as well as a GPS unit when navigating waters. You can even generate up-to-date bathymetric maps when you pair the unit with the Navionics SonarChart Live app. The flexible mounting options make installation versatile and simple on your watercraft.

Bottom Line

This is a powerful and well-built fish finding unit. With a modern look and design, it features simple to use touch controls to make gloved use less of a pain. You can use this unit as a GPS or fish finder, but it lacks an ice flashing mode.

The dual spectrum sonar allows you to view crisp CHIRP imagery or traditional colored sonar. While this unit is more designed for mounting on a watercraft, there is nothing keeping you from taking this unit out onto the ice.

What Makes a Fish Finder Great for Ice Fishing? 

What makes a fish finder great for ice fishing, you ask? Let’s read ahead and see why it’s so great:

Catch More Fish

This is the most obvious one, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat, right? You’ll be able to see more fish and their location. You’ll then set up your equipment at that spot, and voila; you’ll enjoy the fish trail one by one.

Improved Fish Targeting

The main purpose of formulating technology is to minimize human effort while achieving greater efficiency. And that is exactly what a fish finder is here for. It will help you identify and locate more fish and with greater accuracy.  

Furthermore, with ice fishing, you’ll be in a better position to look for a habitat that belongs to the particular kind of fish you’re looking for. The screen on these devices are user-friendly and will help you locate and catch fish in all terrains of water. 

Time-Saving

A fish finder will save your precious time that you might waste looking for fish. With this gadget, you don’t have to fiddle around looking for fish. It will do the work for you, so the time you have will be utilized in actually catching fish. 

Are Fish Finders Important While Ice Fishing? 

Fish finders greatly improve fishing efficiency and save a considerable amount of time. So it’s no puzzle that they prove to be of great importance while you engage in ice fishing. Here is why you must take one along with you on your next ice fishing trip:

Easier Fish Identification

Fish finders enable you to evaluate not only the size of the fish but also the water depth and temperature. Furthermore, you have the leverage to identify the habitats of the fish. If you possess considerable aquatic knowledge and you couple it with this gadget, you’re in for a treat!

Easier Navigation

Some fish finders have advanced GPS systems that prove great in terms of complex navigational activities. These prove great for ice fishing, particularly. The activities include marking your path, displaying the path you’ve traveled, your findings, etc. 

The device can guide you to your lucky fishing spots, so even if you’ve had a very long fishing day, you can track your favorite locations. They also have the ability to retain memory so you can revisit the ideal spots for future ice fishing expeditions. 

Easy Battery Access

Fish finders function on batteries; some can be charged while others require you to replace them. This makes the device extremely easy to handle and accessible. If your batteries die and you’re in an isolated place, which usually happens during ice fishing, you can simply replace the batteries, and your gadget is as good as new. 

Durability

The very last thing we’d like to mention is the extreme durability associated with these products. You can use these in even the severest of temperatures without worrying about any serious problems because these fish finders are designed to withstand tough and cold weather. They won’t get damaged on the cold surface either. So, you can fish your heart out with one less thing to worry about. 

Types of Fish Finders for Ice Fishing

If you’re sorting through all the different fish finders to possibly invest in one, you should know that there are three basic types of products available in the market. These are:

2D Fish Finders

This is a relatively older type of fish finder that incorporates a black and white screen, or sometimes, a color display. The images that appear on the screen move from left to right while displaying the texture, the fishes swimming around, and the soil hardness. 

SideScan Fish Finder Technology

The display quality on the SideScan is incredible. It does a great job of covering some area under the boat as well as offering free adjustability of the width. If you intend to fish in large lakes and open water, this type of fish finder will be perfect. However, they tend to be more expensive. 

DownScan Fish Finder Technology

The DownScan Fish Finder provides a photorealistic view from the top down on the lower part of the device. In comparison to the SideScan, this type of fish finder is not adjustable; hence you’ll have only a narrow detection capability in terms of shallow lakes. However, the image that does appear on the screen is extremely vivid. It's excellent in providing an accurate representation of whatever it is underneath, but the visibility needs to be good. 

How to Use GPS On a Fish Finder For Ice Fishing 

A fish finder with GPS capability is an excellent feature to have as it carries the ability to chart an individual’s position and track on a map. It’s quite useful as it eases the whole navigation process, scouting for fish, as well as for dropping waypoints. Here are some tips that may prove helpful while using a GPS

  1. The side view is ideal for finding small subtleties. 

  2. Side imaging really works to go down the bulkhead, shoot up in those gaps, and display what's underneath. With a little bit of research, you’ll be able to understand and interpret all that is displayed on your screen.

  3. If you own a newer version of Humminbird or Garmin fish finders, you can idle over a specific area of interest in a crisscross pattern in order to create a custom map of unmapped waters.

  4. Look for rocks on your screen as some fish species might be concentrated there to feed on smaller crayfish. You can make a waypoint there.

  5. If you want to know how to accurately cast waypoints using known GPS coordinates, refer to the following steps:

  6. How to Use Waypoint on Fish Finder For Ice Fishing

    The key to using waypoints on a fish finder is to carefully view and analyze what is being displayed on the screen. The screen should display the down vision and side imaging. What you need to be on the lookout for is structure and body of water. Then, whatever you see, you need to put a corresponding icon on the map. For example, if you see a rock, select a rock symbol from the waypoint list and place it at that particular location, and so on. 

    • Select menu.
    • Then, select waypoints and new waypoints.
    • Select 'waypoint map' and press enter.
    • Now, you’ll be able to see the screen that brings up the GPS navigation screen, and you’ll see a little circle with an x in it.
    • Use your arrow keypad to move this cursor to your desired waypoint location.
    • Once you find the desired location, press enter to save.
    • Now, you’ll see a brand new waypoint listed. 
    • Scroll and press enter to select that new waypoint again.
    • Once you do, select edit waypoint. 
    • At the bare minimum, you should add a name and symbol to each of your waypoints to avoid confusion and wastage of time.
    • Enter names and symbols accordingly using the keypad.
    • You can also write a comment to help remember a little bit of additional information about the waypoint.
    • Once complete, press enter to save your data.
    • Press the back button and press it one more time to come back to the screen displaying your list of waypoints.
    • Now hit the back button two more times to return to the GPS screen.

For a more in-depth and visual understanding of the whole process, refer to the following video:

How to Use an Ice Fish Finder

For those unfamiliar with fish finders, they are quite simple and user-friendly. If you’ve previously used a traditional fish finder, using one for ice-fishing is hardly any different than using them on a boat.

You must first drill an ice hole into the ice to be able to hang the transducer in the water. At first glance, you should be able to see the lake bottom on your fish finder screen.

It will be a colored portion at the bottom of the screen and allows you to see how many feet of water there are below you. If your fish finder is sensitive enough, you should be able to drop your lure into the hole and see it pop up on the screen.

The shape and color of objects will vary by each unit. Fish will show up on the screen as a pre-specified shape and color. As the unit continually scans, you will be able to see any fish and whether or not they are reacting to your lure.

As discussed in the following video, a fish finder gives you a quick glimpse of the world below you. If you don’t see any fish on your screen after several minutes, consider moving to a new ice hole until you can “see” some fish to target.

Objects will appear differently on the screen depending on their size and “hardness” primarily. By familiarizing yourself with the owners manual and through hands-on use in the field, you will soon be able to read your fish finder like a book.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying? 

Fish finders work on a technology named sound navigation and ranging system or SONAR. It works by sending waves into the water, which are reflected back to the system, resulting in the data about the presence of fish and other objects underwater. Here are some of the most important key aspects to look for before buying a fish finder.

Portability

The key aspect is the convenience, and if you have to carry along a large device throughout the trip, then its availability just gets thrown off the charts. Also, the size of the battery shouldn’t be humongous. Rather, the best-case scenario is when the whole of the device fits into one pouch to be carried away easily.

GPS

Finding the fish is one important factor, but if you miss the sweet spot in search of a larger and densely populated area of fish, then the GPS comes to the rescue. It helps you locate that spot again peacefully and without a hustle.

Side Finding

Side finding function in a fish finder helps you find nearly located fish spots without making you go round about the whole water body. It works best for the convenience of the fisherman to find more fish in one go.

Conclusion

By now you should have gained a little more knowledge of ice fishing fish finders. There are a variety of features that you must choose from to select the perfect unit for you.  Thankfully, most modern units combine GPS, fish finders, and ice flashers all into one easy-to-use electronic unit.

When purchasing a unit, keep in mind the features that you will actually require and will put to use. Decide the amount of time your unit will spend on your boat vs. on ice to best select your unit.

Now it's time to make your decisions and get ready to start learning your way around your new ice fishing flasher for your upcoming fishing season.

People Also Ask

Before you head out to buy a fish finder, have a look at our carefully formulated question and answer guide for an even deeper understanding of the topic under consideration. 

How Do I Turn Off the Ice Fishing Mode on a Helix 5 Fish Finder?

In order to turn off the ice fishing mode on a Helix 5 fish finder, refer to the following steps

  • Begin by pressing the Menu key twice. 

  • Use left and right arrow keys to select the sonar menu tab.

  • Then, use the up and down arrow keys to unselect ice fishing.

How Useful is a Fish Finder When Ice Fishing?

A fish finder can be extremely useful while ice fishing. It provides advanced GPS technology and mapping to correctly locate and catch fish. This leads to better navigation and fish identification. Apart from that, it is durable so as to withstand colder temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about the temperature altering your equipment. 

Are Larger Screens Better on Ice Fishing Flashers?

A larger screen will aid in the readability aspect. The bigger screen size enables you to easily read and identify what's on the screen.

Does the Deeper Sonar Fish Finder Work in Ice Fishing?

Yes, it does. The Deeper Sonar is extremely effective and helps you in landing great fishing feats without the use of wire or transducers. 

Do I Need an Expensive Fish Finder For Ice Fishing?

No, you don’t have to spend an insane amount of cash on a fish finder for your ice fishing desires. You can simply convert your fish finder to ice fishing mode. Furthermore, fish finders are not that expensive. You can refer to our product catalog to pick the best affordable choice for your needs. 

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My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.