Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders of 2020 – Complete Review

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 Chart of the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders 

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer

  • 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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Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ -

  • 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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Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder

  • 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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Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 Fish Finder

  • 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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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.

Ice Fishing Finder and Flashers (Source)

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.

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.

Quick Take | Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders

Just looking for the top three best ice fishing fish finders? Here they are:

  1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer
  2. Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+
  3. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder

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.

Garmin 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 Would 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.

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar - GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder for Shore and Ice Fishing, Black, 2.55' (DP1H10S10)

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 Would 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.

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder, Handheld Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder with Sonar Sensor 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 Would 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.

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder

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 Would 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.

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.

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.

Watch the following video to learn how to use an ice fishing fish finder.

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.