Ice fishing is a great activity to pass your days during the otherwise dreary and cold winter months. The excitement of searching for the best spot to fish, finding the perfect fish, and coming back with a handsome catch is priceless.
However, this is only possible if you are well-equipped for your fishing trip. We review various products in search of the best ice fishing fish finder.
Without the right equipment, your fishing trip could turn into a cold nightmare that you return from empty-handed. An ice fishing fish finder ensures that your fishing trips are a bucketload of success.
Finding the right fish finder for ice fishing is tricky. Not all fish finders are fit for ice fishing which makes the search complicated. We hope our reviews and buyer’s guide make you better equipped to pick the right product for your needs.
Quick Overview – Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders
- Humminbird Ice Helix 5 – All-season fish finder
- Marcum LX-7 – Feature-rich fish finder for professionals
- Humminbird ICE-55 Six Color Flasher – Advanced fish finder with customizations
- Deeper PRO+ – Castable fish finder for modern fishing
- Humminbird ICE-45 Three Color Flasher – Affordable fish finder with a powerful detection
- Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack – Dedicated ice fish finder for fishing enthusiasts
- Garmin Striker 4 Kit – Great budget fish finder combo
- Lowrance HOOK2 4X All-Season Pack – Versatile fish finder for ice and regular fishing
- HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Durable budget fish finder
- Venterior VT-FF001 – Inexpensive and reliable fish finder for ice fishing
Comparison of Top 10 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder 2020
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder Reviewed for 2020
There are so many fish finders available in the market that it becomes difficult for new users to pick the right one. Fret not! We went through several dozen devices to pick out the best fish finders for ice fishing:
1. Humminbird Ice Helix 5 – Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder for the Money
Our top pick for the best ice fishing fish finder also comes from Humminbird. Humminbird has quite an expansive lineup of fish finders built specifically for ice fishing.
Ice Helix 5 isn’t the company’s most expensive ice fishing fish finder and that is one reason why it has taken the top spot. The device packs a good selection of features and advanced detection capabilities.
Probably the most important reason why the Ice Helix 5 acquires the top spot in our recommendations is the inclusion of CHIRP sonar technology.
Conventional ice fishing fish finders, even those that cost more than the Helix 5, come only with a sonar flasher. Having CHIRP wide-angle sonar scanning allows the device to scan a wider area, and scan it with more precision.
The Ice Helix 5 brings forward all the features that make the Helix 5 lineup so special including a large 5-inch HD WVGA screen and GPS navigation.
It then refines the experience with some dedicated inclusions only for ice fishing such as the dedicated Xi 9 1521 ice fishing transducer. This is an extendable transducer connected to the primary device with rugged and flexible tubing.
The sonar conducts sonar scanning at variable frequencies of 130 kHz and 250 kHz. At 130 kHz, the device scans a wider radius than most traditional ice fishing fish finders.
The bandwidth of these frequencies can be adjusted as required between 15-degrees and 21-degrees.
The inclusion of CHIRP gives users more control over their catch. The technology makes it easier to distinguish between different kinds of fish as well as other underwater structures.
Unlike traditional ice fish finders, the Ice Helix 5 features a full-color display that lets you choose how you want to view the results. You can view them in traditional flasher mode or switch to the 2D mode for more detail.
- Full-color HD display
- CHIRP sonar technology
- Carrying case and mount included
- Expandable storage
- Small buttons
We believe Ice Helix 5 is the most versatile, advanced fish finder on the market. What makes it truly special is that it isn’t held back by any of the limitations that plague traditional ice fish finders.
Furthermore, it is perfectly capable of being used as a regular fish detector during the summer months.
2. Marcum LX-7 – Premium Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Although we don’t see many Marcum products, the company has been gaining a stronger foothold in the market with its innovative fishing equipment.
Marcum devices excel in performance and reliability, albeit at a higher price tag. The Marcum LX-7 is one of the company’s premium ice fishing fish finders that has been capturing attention and pockets for some time.
The Marcum LX-7 is a device for the serious ice fishing enthusiasts. It is a powerhouse with strong detection capabilities and a feature-set that will ensure a healthy catch every time.
This industrial-grade fish detector is the only device you will need to scan deep, fine-tune your fishing experience, and take back your desired catch regardless of where it is.
With the Marcum LX-7, users can scan up to a maximum depth of 300 ft. This is more than sufficient for almost all kinds of lake fishing.
Included sonar footprint capability can display the scan area at any depth with either the 8-degree or the 20-degree transducer cone angle. The scanning also achieves a target separation of 0.5 inches for better clarity.
The collected information is delivered through a large 8-inch color LCD screen which is the device’s biggest strength.
The large screen is quite a shift from the basic circular fiber-optic and LCD displays that we are used to seeing. The display gives users the choice of 4 color palettes to customize the experience.
The color display also delivers a wealth of other information in addition to the water depth and the locations of the fish and the lure. The screen displays the cone angle, zoom, range, power, and target adjustments.
The Dynamic Zoom and the water column are displayed on either side of the screen. Users can also view other advanced information related to their scan such as graph displays.
- Various viewing customizations
- Large 8-inch color LCD display
- Fast sonar response
- Dynamic Zoom for enhanced accuracy
- Simple user-interface
- A bit complicated to set up
The Marcum LX-7 is the fish finder of choice for anyone who takes their fishing seriously and has the budget for it. This is a premium device that will impress with its detection capabilities and versatile viewing modes.
3. Humminbird ICE-55 Six Color Flasher – Advanced Sonar Flasher
The Ice-55 comes as an upgrade to the Ice-45 ice fishing fish finder we reviewed earlier.
Although the Ice-55 is very similar to its predecessor in terms of performance and hardware, it comes with a number of customization options. It also packs some useful additional features that were missing on the earlier model.
The Ice-55 retains the powerful and capable dual-beam sonar flasher from the earlier model. Users still have the choice to switch between two detection modes according to their requirements.
The wide-beam detection mode is a good place to begin your detection. It unveils hotspots of activity so you are only trying in areas that will deliver the best results.
The device’s tremendous detection capabilities are complemented by its sharp and visible display. Humminbird is no stranger to quality displays and the display here benefits from the company’s years of experience.
It comes in the form of a 6-color fiber-optic display with a circular LCD panel sitting at the center. The digital LCD panel displays the lake depth and other information.
The 6-color display that the device boasts is one of the areas where the Ice-55 has seen an upgrade.
The choice of six colors is a nice customization feature that allows users to change the default green, orange, and red colors to those of their choice.
Another smart feature upgrade that we get to see on this device is the addition of an ice target line. This is a purple line on the display that can be adjusted to save the depth of a particular point on the dial.
The Ice-55 brings back the Dynamic Zoom, Adjustable Gain, and Auto-Adjusting Depth Range features which make for an easier fishing experience.
- 6-color fiber-optic display
- Durable weather-resistant build
- Long-lasting 9 Amp battery
- Dual-beam sonar detection
- Lacks advanced sonar scanning
The Ice-55 is a device that hands over a great amount of control to the user. From minor changes like the color of the markers to more significant ones like ignoring particular types of fish and highlighting others – the Ice-55 has done well molding itself according to the users’ requirements.
4. Deeper PRO+ – Best Smart Fish Finder
Deeper fish finders have been gaining a lot of popularity in the fishing community. Although the company is relatively new compared to some of the giants in the industry, its product offerings have generated considerable hype.
Deeper manufactures portable smart fish finders that come with versatile functionality and a myriad of connectivity options.
The Pro+ is among the more premium members of Deeper’s castable fish finder lineup. However, it is still a budget detector that won’t be heavy on the pocket.
The fish finder shouldn’t be judged for its price, as it is one of the most capable budget detectors that we have come across. It connects to any smart device, so the display can be as large or small as you want it to be.
The fish finder generates its own wireless network that devices can connect to in order the receive the information that it collects. Setting up the device is easy and it comes with comprehensive but simple instructions from the manufacturer.
As soon as the detector is cast out and it hits the water, it detects water temperature and depth and sends the information back to the connected device.
Once the device has carried out initial scanning, it delivers a wealth of information about the underwater environment and the surrounding area.
The device is capable of dual-beam scanning so you can expect some detailed depictions of what is going on underwater.
The Pro+ can stay connected to the receiving device over a maximum distance of 330 ft. The device’s transducer is quite powerful and scans the depths to 260 ft.
Sonar scanning can be carried out on frequency settings of either 90 kHz for scanning a wide area, or 290 kHz for scanning a specific area with more detail.
- Sleek form factor
- Dual-beam scanning
- Compatibility with smartphone apps
- Integrated GPS
- Impressive scanning range
- Needs to be partially submerged for accurate detection
Deeper Pro+ is the ideal tool in the modern fisherman’s inventory. It works for a variety of fishing styles and in various conditions, including extreme climates.
Its unparalleled capabilities make it one of the best ice fishing fish finders on a budget.
5. Humminbird ICE-45 Three Color Flasher – Affordable Ice Fishing Flasher
We have included several Humminbird products in our recommendations over the years. The company is one of the leading names in fishing equipment manufacturing.
Their devices are well-known for being all-inclusive fishing solutions. Humminbird products may be a bit pricey, but their accurate sonar detection and expanse of features make them well worth the price.
The Ice-45 features a three-color fiber-optic display. The display comprises a circular LCD panel that shows the depth of the lake bottom and marks your lure and the fish in real-time.
The three colors switch between green, orange, and red to signify weak, medium strength and strong targets respectively.
The included transducer allows for dual-beam scanning. The wide beam low-frequency scanning scans a wide area underneath so users can get a sense of the surroundings and select the perfect area to cast the lure.
The narrow beam high-frequency scanning scans specific areas with great clarity so users can distinguish between the different types of fish.
Dynamic Zoom of 2X allows users to magnify their view of a particular depth range. The dial can be rotated to easily change the area you are zooming in on.
Users can also adjust the frequency of the flasher according to their requirements.
The device also comes with adjustable depth range settings. The depth range can be adjusted between 1, 2, 4, 10, up to a maximum depth of 200 ft.
If you prefer not to adjust it manually, an automatic depth-range setting adjusts it according to the depth of the water.
- Dual-beam sonar flasher
- Dynamic Zoom
- Auto Depth Range
- Durable construction
- Easy to use
- Struggles with separation in some situations
The Ice-45 comes with various advantages over traditional ice fishing fish finders. It may not be the most capable fish finder in Humminbird’s portfolio.
However, it benefits from the company’s powerful detection technology and quality internals.
6. Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack – Dedicated Ice Fishing Detector
The Vexilar FL-8se is a dedicated ice fish finder. This means you can expect more reliable performance than generic fish finders. The FL-8se comes from Vexilar which has become a popular name in the manufacture of dedicated ice fishing equipment.
It is also one of the most affordable ice fishing fish finders so it is ideal for budget-conscious ice fishing enthusiasts.
As soon as you unpack the device, you will notice that everything about it is designed specifically for ice fishing. The exterior is crafted out of rugged weather-resistant materials and feels like it could weather a storm.
The fish finder comes completely assembled so you don’t have to mess around with setting it up.
The FL-8se Genz Pack comes with a 12V 7 Amp battery and charger, and ‘Ice-Ducer’ which is Vexilar’s dedicated ice fishing transducer.
The device benefits from the expertise of David Genz, the renowned ice fishing legend. The Genz Pack has been redrawn for maximum ease of usage.
The display is a bright LED so you get ultra-sharp and visible displays even during the daytime. The display features a three-color sonar flasher that distinguishes between targets quite well.
The color green denotes weak targets, orange denotes targets of medium strength, and red denotes the strongest bottom targets.
The device also comes with ten interference rejection settings and 6 depth ranges. The rejection settings eliminate the effects of nearby fish finders in order to give accurate readings.
The depth ranges can be adjusted between 120, 80, 60, 40, 30, and 20 depending on the maximum depth of the area you are fishing in.
- Three-color sonar flasher view
- Universal transducer holder
- Included carrying case
- Interference rejection
- Variables depth ranges
- Snow gets trapped beneath the display
The Vexilar FL-8se is a capable ice fishing fish finder that offers a generous selection of features. It is easy to set up and delivers reliable sonar detection.
Vexilar has worked to refine the fishing experience for the user so you can go back with exactly the catch that you want.
7. Garmin Striker 4 Kit – Best Budget Fish Finder
Garmin is among the oldest manufacturers of fishing equipment and one of the most reliable. The company has a rich history of groundbreaking innovations in consumer sonar technology.
Its devices have impressed returning customers as well as new users with their sonar detection capabilities.
The Striker 4 is the base variant of the company’s popular Series 4 lineup of portable devices. On its own, the Striker 4 is a powerful and versatile budget device.
However, we have found that the Kit enhances the device’s versatility and makes it a more appealing choice for ice fishing. Moreover, it is only slightly more expensive than the main device.
The device itself is the most powerful budget detector on the market. It comes with CHIRP sonar detection which has become the standard in traditional 2D fish detection.
In comparison to fixed-frequency scanning, CHIRP delivers more detailed results. It achieves this clarity by using variable-frequency sonar pulses that detect more objects than a single frequency can.
Unlike other budget dual-beam detectors that we previously covered, CHIRP allows the device to scan with both frequencies simultaneously.
The results can then be viewed either individually, or side by side to get a clearer understanding of the area being scanned.
For low-frequency scanning, the transducers emit pulses of 77 kHz. For high-frequency scanning, pulses of 200 kHz are emitted.
The low-frequency pulse scans a wide area for fish movement patterns while the high-frequency homes in on a specific area to collect more detail. The information collected is displayed on a 3.5-inch LED-backlit screen.
- CHIRP dual-beam scanning
- Comes with carrying case
- Integrated GPS
- Built-in sonar flasher
- IPX7 water-resistance rating
- No expandable storage
Striker 4 is a capable device. This is made perfect for ice fishing with the inclusion of a thick weather-resistant carrying case.
Inside the case is a holder that the device can be mounted on. This allows easy accessibility when you are ice fishing on a frozen lake.
8. Lowrance HOOK2 4X All-Season Pack – Versatile Detector for All Seasons
Lowrance is another established name in fish finding equipment. The company is credited for being one of the first manufacturers of consumer sonar detection fish finders.
Lowrance detectors enjoy a special following among recreational and professional fishermen as they provide great value for money.
The Hook2 series is the successor to Lowrance’s original Hook devices. The original series received much acclaim due to its performance and low price.
However, the Hook series lacked many features that have now become a standard in fish finding equipment. The Hook2 aims to deliver a series of more capable devices fit for modern-day fishing.
Although the 4X is the budget variant in the series, you will be hard-put to tell it apart just by looking at it. The included accessories which you get in the All-Season Pack also work to strip the device of the feeling that it is a budget variant.
The outer shell is made from premium weather-resistant materials so it holds its own rather well in low temperatures.
The device comes with a 4-inch landscape display which makes efficient use of its limited space. Where the device really shines,
however, is in its ease of usage. The Hook2 4X is one of the simplest devices you can buy. It comes with an auto-tuning sonar transducer so users don’t have to spend a lot of time setting it up.
The Hook2 4X can be purchased independently, or it can be purchased as the All-Season Pack for a nominal addition to the cost. If you will be using the device in versatile conditions, we recommend considering the pack.
It comes with a water- and weather-resistant storage case. Inside the case is a device mount for easier scanning as well as two storage compartments for your fishing accessories.
- Auto-tuning sonar transducer
- Dual-beam scanning
- Accessories bundle
- Weather-resistant carrying case
- Wide sonar coverage
- Missing CHIRP sonar detection
The Hook2 4X is an easy to use entry-level fish finder best suited for recreational fishing. Don’t underestimate its capabilities though, as it is dead-accurate in its readings and works well for a variety of fishing tasks.
9. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Durable, Budget Fish Finder
For users who want a bit more functionality than the average budget fish finder, the Fishtrax 1C from Hawkeye proves to be a great choice.
Although a bit more expensive than our previous recommendation, the Fishtrax 1C is still a very cheap fish finder compared to many others. This is a neat little device with some interesting features that you won’t normally find on a budget device.
The Fishtrax 1C comes with a castable transducer that is capable of dual-beam scanning. Unlike a traditional fixed-frequency transducer, a dual-beam transducer is capable of emitting two sonar beams of different frequencies.
This delivers more detail as the frequencies scan a diverse range of objects.
The frequency modes can be switched according to the user’s needs.
On the low-frequency scanning mode, the transducer emits a beam of 83 kHz. This mode is best for initial scanning as the low-frequency beam covers a wide distance but captures less detail. It can give fishermen a general sense of their surroundings.
Once the user has spotted an area teeming with activity, they can switch to the high-frequency 200 kHz scanning.
In this mode, the device scans a narrower area but scans it in more detail. This mode allows differentiation between fish and other structures. It can also be used to distinguish between different kinds of fish.
Fishtrax 1C captures a lot of information and displays it on a color TFTN display. Hawkeye calls it VirtuView, and it does a tremendous job of displaying a variety of information in simple pictographic depictions.
On the display, you will find FishID and FishArc display icons. Through these, users can easily estimate swimming patterns of fish and also focus their attention on specific fish.
- VirtuView color display
- Deal-beam sonar detection
- FishID and FishArc modes
- Sensitivity adjustments
- Sonar flasher mode
- Shore fishing floater kit not included
The Fishtrax 1C is an inexpensive device that impresses with its detection capability, reliability, and durability.
It is built just like a premium device that doesn’t compromise on functionality. It is also great for fishing during the winter months.
10. Venterior VT-FF001 – Reliable and Inexpensive
You don’t always have to look for the most expensive gadget to go ice fishing. There are a great number of inexpensive fish finders that you will see on the market.
However, the trouble with cheap fish finders is that they don’t always work. For new buyers, this can be a nuisance.
Venterior is one of the brands that you will encounter in your search for an affordable ice fish finder. Their VT-FF001 is one inexpensive product that we definitely recommend!
The company’s VT-FF001 is a no-frills, entry-level sonar fish and depth sensor. The device has some obvious limitations in terms of selection of features, but that is to be expected at this price. The features it does offer, however, work sufficiently well.
The device comes with a waterproof, castable transducer. The transducer uses a single beam sonar to determine the number of variables.
These include the depth of the water and the approximate distance of fish from your vessel.
The transducer emits sonar beams at a fixed frequency of 200 kHz. Venterior’s choice of a mid-range frequency allows the device to scan a significantly wide area and collect sufficient details about the surroundings. The beam can scan a maximum depth of 328 ft.
All the information recorded by the sonar transducer is delivered to the detector’s LCD display. The VT-FF001 uses a black and white display with LED backlighting.
This helps keep the display visible in all lighting conditions including days that are overly bright.
Users get the choice of detecting in multiple modes. There is a battery saver mode, a fish alarm mode, and a unit of measure mode.
Users can also adjust the sensitivity of detection to filter out small fishes from being detected. This is great if you want to catch a particular type of fish.
- Low price
- Reliable detection results
- Multiple operation modes
- Bright LED-backlit screen
- Good detection range
- Needs to be still for accurate results
The Venterior VT-FF001 is a great starting point for users just getting started with recreational fishing.
Its castable transducer and ability to deliver accurate results in extreme weather conditions make it a great choice for an inexpensive ice fishing fish finder.
Finding the Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder
On the surface, all fish finders are the same. They comprise of two basic components – a display and a transducer.
However, when comparing an ice fishing fish finder to any regular fish finder, the similarities generally stop there. Not all fish finders are suited for ice fishing.
Companies, especially those that manufacture portable fish finders, try to make all-season devices that work both for ice fishing as well as regular fishing. These devices work to a certain extent, with some working better than others.
However, if you want truly great fish finding performance, you need to consider dedicated ice fishing fish finders.
Ice fishing fish finders are built to withstand extreme temperatures. Although a premium fish finder could just as easily withstand colder temperature, it might not function as well.
Devices that aren’t specifically made for ice fish finding might give inaccurate results when used in extreme conditions.
Ice fishing fish finders also differ from regular fish finders in terms of features. Regular fish finders often use fixed transducers that are attached to a part of the boat.
Alternatively, ice fish finders are portable devices and the transducer is often permanently attached to the main display.
Dedicated ice fish finders also have a circular display rather than a traditional display. Fish depth and location are shown through colored lines on the circular display.
An additional LCD panel, generally in the center of the circular fiber-optic display, features the water depth and other variables.
How Ice Fishing Fish Finders Work and Their Benefits
Now that we have a better idea of how to differentiate between a standard fish finder and an ice fishing fish finder, let’s have a look at different types of ice fishing fish finders.
You will find two types of dedicated ice fish finders. Any fish finder you consider will work in one of two ways.
Traditional Sonar Flasher
The first type of ice fishing fish finder is the traditional device that comes with a sonar flasher. A sonar flasher isn’t exactly a transducer as it is limited in functionality.
The sonar flasher does not record a ton of detail that can be translated into graphs. Instead, it shows a real-time view of what is happening underneath.
As we mentioned, this is an older technology. However, it is still widely employed even by professional fishermen.
It is very reliable and streamlines the fish finding experience by only showing information relevant to the situation. For new users, the sonar flasher display will need some getting used to, as it delivers information in the form of colored bars.
2D Sonar Detection
The other type of ice fishing fish finders come with 2D sonar detection capabilities. Some of these fish finders even come with CHIRP sonar technology.
This type of fish finder is generally more expensive than the traditional sonar flasher. It captures more detail and delivers a more elaborate picture of the underwater environment.
They are also compatible with other transducers and can be used for regular fishing during the summers. Such a device, therefore, is a great option if you have the budget.
How to Install Ice Fish Finders
Ice fish finders are different from most regular fish finders in the sense that they don’t need elaborate installations. They are portable devices that are mostly sold as part of a fishing kit. The fishing kit includes a weather-resistant case, batteries, and the device itself.
For ice fish finders, the included carrying case is special as it also includes the amount. The display can be mounted on the stand for easier access as you carry on with your ice fishing activity.
In more premium kits, this mount is affixed to the inside of the carrying case to protect the device from external elements.
When searching for a fish finder specifically for ice fishing, portability is key. You wouldn’t want to be weighed down by a heavy device that requires complicated installation.
Seeing as you would probably be fishing on a lake, you want to keep your accessories light and minimalistic.
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder FAQs
We understand that you may still have some confusion regarding ice fishing fish finders. We answer some questions that new buyers most frequently ask.
Can I Buy Any Portable Fish Finder for Ice Fishing?
Many portable fish finders also come with ice fishing capabilities but not all of them do. Read about the device’s capability and limitations before considering it for ice fishing. We always recommend buying a device that specifically advertises ice fishing capabilities.
Are Ice Fish Finders Expensive?
Ice fish finders can be expensive but not any more expensive than regular fish finders. As is the case with almost everything, you will find both expensive and affordable options on the market. Many leading manufacturers offer reliable ice fish finders at attractive prices.
Do I Need a GPS-Capable Device?
All modern fish finders come with integrated GPS. However, this is a feature that you won’t see on budget devices. Buying a device that includes GPS functionality always helps as you can save important spots to come back to later.
We hope that our recommendations for some of the best ice fishing fish finders would have revealed a few that work well for your needs.
However, these aren’t the only devices that are worth a look. With the right knowledge, you can search the market yourself for the best fish finder for your needs.
We recommend our top pick, the Humminbird Ice Helix 5, for anyone who wants outstanding performance at an affordable price.
We also recommend the Ice Helix 5 for its versatility. Winter only lasts a few months, so it’s great that this device is capable of fish finding all year round.
For the professional fisherman who wants a greater level of control over their catch, the Marcum LX-7 is the best choice.
The device offers a good set of features and remarkable detection that lets you pick out the best fish from the rest.