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Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders In 2017 – Comparison Included

Not everyone knows what it means to be among the frozen chosen few who sit out on the ice fishing in the dead of winter. The amount of effort put forth to go out in somewhat miserable conditions, all for a labor of love, might be a bit overwhelming to some. I mean, wouldn't life just be simpler if fish were always easy to find and catch in fair weather and sunny days?

But life does not work that way, and to be honest we as anglers would not want it any other way—and anything we can do to make our lives easier will, in turn, make our fishing more productive. After all, we go fishing to catch fish, and in order to land them we need to find them, which is a lot harder when all you can see is the snow and ice around you. To alleviate this problem, we might decide to invest in a fish finder that works for us for ice fishing.

There are so many brands boasting so many gadgets and add-ons  that it’s hard to even know where to begin—but fret not, I have complied a list of the best ice fishing fish finders to get you started. As usual, I am going to show you the more modestly priced units to get you out there and slaying the fish, and as your needs and budget evolve, you might want to look at the more advanced options. So here are 10 of the best fish finders to help you find the unit you need, no matter how much you want to invest.

10 Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders - Comparisons

Image

Product Name

Item Weight

Display

Price

Venterior Portable

1.1 pounds

LCD Display

HawkEye FT1PXC Fishtrax

1.3 pounds

Virtuview Display

Garmin 010-01550-00

0.5 pounds

Color Display

Garmin Striker 4

0.5 pounds

Color Display

Lowrance 000-11673-001 Elite

11.2 pounds

256-Color Display

Deeper Smart Sonar

0.21 pounds

Smart phone Display

Vexilar FL-8se Genz

9.8 pounds

LED Display

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

0.21 pounds

Smart phone Display

Humminbird 409730-1 ICE

11.6 pounds

LCD Display

Marcum LX-7 Ice

13 pounds

LCD Display

Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders - Reviews

1. Venterior Portable Fish Finder

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

Getting out there and getting on the fish is what we all want, so let’s get you out there as easily and inexpensively as possible. This portable fish finder from Venterior is a perfect choice for ice fishing anglers getting started. It is easy to use, just simply brush away the snow and set the sensor down. See some fish? Cut a hole and drop the sensor in the water to find out for sure. It works as a general fish finder, which means you are not going to know the size and if there are groups of fish together, but that’s not that big a problem as long as you are catching fish, am I right? This unit works well as a depth finder as well, so you will know when you’ve found the right hole you remembered using last year.

This fish finder comes with a 25ft cable so you can monitor the fish outside of your shelter where it’s cozy and warm. This fish finder is a great choice to get you started, and if for some reason you decide ice fishing is not for you, you are not out that much money.

What we liked

  • Depth range from 3ft to 328ft
  • Adjustable sensitivity 
  • Works before you even cut a hole (just not as well)
  • Can also be used from the shore or from a boat
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

What we didn't like

  • Does not tell you the size of fish
  • Sometimes groups come back only as one fish 

2. Hawkeye FishTrax Fish Finder

Hawkeye FishTrax Fish Finder

Fish finders work by the sonar sending back information as it bounces off its target. In our case the target is fish, but often there is a delay with the signal and we need to know what is going on below us NOW, not seconds ago. With the FishTrax 1C model, you will have the ability to see in real time what is going on below you. This will give you data quickly and accurately so you can immediately make the adjustments you need to hook into that musky.

The FishTrax has a lot of accessories and add-ons as well, making this unit versatile and useful for you even when the ice melts and it’s time to hit the water. The battery life, however, is not ideal, but keep it fed with fresh batteries and this fish finder will work great.

What we liked

  • Flasher technology for real-time sonar readings 
  • Modular and expandable 
  • Full color LCD display
  • Ice-Mode for more accurate ice fishing readings 

What we didn't like

  • Poor Battery life

3. Garmin Striker Portable Fish Finder

Garmin Striker Portable Fish Finder

If you are looking for a good name in fish/depth finder technology, then look no further than Garmin. The Striker will get the job done and has a lot to offer for a good and affordable price. The unit comes standard with ice transducers and can also come equipped with flasher technology with A-Scope, which will give you real-time data and information. Garmin also make a good GPS and have included one in this fish finder, which is great for marking where the honey holes are for the next season.

While it’s a powerful addition, the GPS could be a little more user friendly. However, as a fish and depth finder, the Striker is hard to beat. Being able to mark those spots for memory is great, but having a map would make navigation a little easier.

What we liked

  • A-Scope for more precise readings 
  • CHIRP sonar transducer
  • Onboard GPS 
  • Works in colder temps with no problem
  • Good battery life

What we didn't like

  • GPS not as user friendly
  • Comes with no maps 

4. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Sticking with a true winner and going with Garmin again, the Striker 4 with the added portable kit is a great improvement over the previous model. When they say portable they mean portable, the battery stows easily inside the bag. Simply drop the transducer below the ice and start getting back that vital data you need in order to get on the fish. The returns are clear and easy to read and come across well on the LCD screen. The real-time information given from the flasher takes out the guesswork.

This is a strong tool, and could be a perfect choice for the seasoned veteran looking to get an edge. Just like the other Striker model, this unit also comes with a GPS but not with a map, so you can mark where to go, but it can be difficult to pinpoint without any reference like a map. 

What we liked

  • Comes with a portable kit
  • Clear and bright LCD Screen 
  • CHIRP sonar transducer
  • Built-in flasher
  • Available in 3 display sizes
  • Works in low temps 

What we didn't like

  • GPS has no maps
  • Transducer needs to be under ice to work

5. Lowrance Elite All Season Portable Pack

Lowrance Elite All Season Portable Pack

Another great option and a trusted name for fish finders is Lowrance. Their all-season angler portable fish finder is a high speed and low drag, getting the job done regardless of the temperature. Get an accurate depth reading before cutting a hole in the ice with technology allowing you to see your jig and fish below the ice in near-real time, putting you right where you need to be so you get the hook up with the fish of a lifetime.

The price, of course, reflects the features and power this unit has on board. Some customers have reported that for some reason one of the modes can give back false readings in murky water, but that is generally not a problem for ice fishing. Also, it’s been noticed that the temperature readings seem to be slightly off. All in all, this fish finder is a powerful unit that gives you an accurate understanding of what is going on below the ice.

What we liked

  • Highly Portable 
  • LCD Screen with full color display 
  • Real-time information for accurate jigging 
  • Advanced depth reading technology gives a great picture of life below the surface

What we didn't like

  • Not the best temperature readings 
  • Not great in murky waters 

6. Deeper Smart Sonar

Deeper Smart Sonar

Let’s take a leap into the 21st century and get our hands on some really fun and amazing technology—this unit by Deeper has the ability to broadcast the information it receives to your smart phone or tablet. No more squinting to try and figure out what is on the screen with its full color image right there in HD on your screen. You will be able to see those fish returns and read the temps and depths. The fine-tuned sonar works well even through thick ice. The flasher will allow you to jig properly, however, the latency from the broadcast is a bit high, so it’s not exactly real time.

The unit is easy to use and has an Ice Mode setting that helps penetrate through and get those deep readings even through the thickest, frosty ice. Be able to get out there and on the fish faster with this great gadget. You can sit by the heater in the warming tent while also staying up-to-date with your phone app linked to the unit. 

What we liked

  • Broadcast to phone or tablet 
  • Ice Mode for penetration through ice
  • Easy-to-read display with fish returns 
  • Flasher for near-real time display of below the water 

What we didn't like

  • Readings are not exactly real time, which can be a problem for jigging

7. Vexilar Ice Flasher

Vexilar Ice Flasher

If you are looking for one of the best flashers out there and really a flasher only, then this fish finder by Vexilar can be a perfect choice for you. It has a simple and easy-to-use design as well as a rugged exterior that is designed to take a pounding. With a battery life lasting nearly an entire weekend on one charge, you can even loan this out to your friends without worry. The display is simple and easy to use, so the time spent monitoring it will be almost as fun as catching the fish. It is hard to find anything wrong with this unit, it is truly a must-have for all ice anglers.

The one downside is not having a super futuristic display with lots of colorful readings and cute pictures. It’s pretty bare-bones, but what it does is powerful. This ice flasher is for the purist and will increase your daily harvest for sure. 

What we liked

  • Powerful unit with accurate readings 
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Long battery life
  • Rugged and durable 

What we didn't like

  • Simple interface, not as visually appealing 
  • Just a flasher 

8. Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+

I mentioned Deeper’s Smart radar before and while it’s a great unit, the Pro model gives you those same features with added advantages and advances in technology. This powerful sonar will give you the ability to mark anything up to 0.5in-sized bodies in a water up to the depth of 260ft, giving you a clear advantage over mother nature. With the ice fishing mode being able to penetrate ice up and including 4+ feet in some cases. The added bonus of course is broadcasting to your tablet or smart phone without needing a signal or Wi-Fi connection.

A flasher would be nice, but being able to keep an eye on the conditions below the water from the comfort of a shack is also pretty nice. If you prefer to be right with your rod working it in the hole, then this fish finder may not be for you. 

What we liked

  • Simple to use
  • Works in 4+ feet of ice 
  • Sees targets .5 inches in water 260ft deep
  • Monitors remotely where it’s warm 

What we didn't like

  • Not as real-time as a flasher would be

9. Hummingbird Helix

Hummingbird Helix

Hummingbird is about as top of the line as you can get with fish finders—they have decades of experience and reputation, and it shows with their Helix model. Being able to see the screen can be challenging, and the no-glare LCD screen makes it really easy on the eyes. The marks are accurate and clear, it penetrates well deep below the surface to give you some of the most accurate readings out there. You will love this unit as it will get you on the fish and will also save you a lot of headaches.

The battery life of this fish finder will keep you out fishing longer, and well into the night. It is easy to set up and operate, which is pretty standard with Hummingbird models. This unit will get you on level with professional anglers. 

What we liked

  • Easy-to-read display 
  • Glare-resistant screen for easy readings even in direct sunlight 
  • Accurate read of the surface below 
  • Easy to set up and use 

What we didn't like

  • Couldn’t find anything wrong with this one!

10. Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing System

Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing System

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the future. The Marcum LX-7 is the top standard when it comes to ice fishing. With its crystal clear 8-inch LCD display, this fish finder is so big you will wish it played movies. See what you want and where you want, with user-defined settings allowing you to change what is being displayed for you. Take out the guesswork and see marks with pinpoint accuracy. With a half inch target separation, this bad boy can pinpoint fish within close proximity to each other, letting you know what exactly is going on below you and the ice.

I have already mentioned how important flashers are—well, this puppy will give you an accurate, real-time picture of the entire water column below you. So now you know where the fish are without any question in your mind. This unit is what other fish finders wish they were. If I really had to find something wrong, I would say the case could use a little work, however, it’s only nitpicking—this unit is top of the line. 

What we liked

  • 8-inch full color LCD display
  • User-defined view settings
  • Flasher produces most accurate display of water below 
  • See fish with a half inch separation

What we didn't like

  • The case is not the best

Final Thoughts

As you could see, there is a lot out there to get lost in the world of fish finders. For ice fishing, you need specific tools for a specific job. I tried to include an array of options for everyone's budget from simple units that will get you started down to something right out of Starfleet’s inventory for intergalactic space exploration.

I hope this article has given you a good idea and has set you well on your way. So good luck out there, find those fish, and tight lines!

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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