Hello! It’s me again, Thomas, your friendly neighborhood fisherman! Today in King of the Catch, I will be talking about some of the best ice fishing finder I have used. I have been Ice Fishing for decades now, and this is the only activity that I could spend doing in the freezing cold for several hours. 😉
Best Ice Fishing Finder
A fish finder is crucial to your ice fishing experience as it will determine how easily you can detect your prey-the fishes! It is the device that you use to sniff out which areas the fishes prefer, whether they are in shallow or deep water, how much frequency of sound waves you need to detect them and so on.
I have curated a list of tried and tested best ice fishing finders taking into account factors like –
Here is a quick overview for best ice fishing finder:
- Editor’s Choice: Garmin Striker 4
- Best Customer Rated: Vexilar’s GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack 12Deg Ice-Ducer Combo.
- Best Value For Money: HawkEye FishTrax 1 with Virtuview Icon Display.
Garmin Striker 4
Firstly, Striker 4 is compactly designed and makes it portable, especially if you are in a small boat. Another spot-on feature it has is the GPS feature. It can detect both speed and depth and give you a rounded experience. Striker 4 also has a CHIRP Sonar transducer, which boosts the clarity of visuals on the screen.
It also has features that show water temperature and boat speed. The buttons are clearly defined. The keypad is also spacious enough for easy control and access, even when you have gloves on. It has a waterproof rating of IPX7. This means it can stay in water for up to half an hour at a depth of 1 meter.
The Striker 4 has a 3.5″ touchscreen with a full-color display. The screen allows you to see the images detected at different frequencies. The thing with frequencies is that the lower you go, the lower your sensitivity should be if you want a clear image. The highest frequency is 200 kHz and provides a clear image. The lowest frequency reading on this device is 77 kHz; on the other hand, it will give you wider coverage. The image quality is very crisp. Although it has a small screen, space is enough to display the target, the lure, and the bottom structure
Personally, I prefer using a higher frequency because of the sharp image it gives. However, if you have to use the lower frequency, the additional hardware that comes with the Garmin Striker 4, such as the cables will help you get a detailed and precise image.
The built-in GPS can not only help you with detecting fishes but also mark your fishing hotspots so that you can come back to it later. It also has the option to view the information in a flasher style reading.
- CHIRP Technology
The CHIRP technology is one of the finest techniques available to show you what lurks underneath the water. The Striker 4 is one of the affordable Fishfinders that has this technology. Sonar devices use signals to understand the underwater activity.
So, for understanding what happens at deeper levels, one needs low frequency while the high frequencies are required in order to understand what happens in shallow water bodies. Typically sonars have only one frequency limiting access to water depth and image clarity.
What makes the CHIRP sonar different is that it can alternate between signals and frequencies to help you see high-resolution images of small objects and structures at the bottom of the water body.
The Striker 4 has six modes. Each mode displays varied sections. The traditional mode shows the bottom structure and the objects. The flasher mode indicates the depths of the water bodies. It also adjusts the sonar frequencies in one display. The split-frequency mode shows the highest and lowest frequencies, that is 200 kHz and 70 kHz. It means you can see the beam cone areas that are way under your boat.
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- It is affordable despite the high-end features
- It has a dual-frequency regulation of 77/200 kHz and 50/200kHz
- The built-in GPS can accurately detect speed and depth.
- The sonar has features like ultra-scroll, flasher, and A-Scope.
- The CHIRP 2D sonar and CHIRP transducer is a game-changer.
- The compact design makes it highly portable.
- Ideal for ice fishing while in a kayak boat.
- The display has a High-resolution screen.
- The six modes of the display give varied outputs.
- It is easy to operate and is user friendly.
- It works efficiently during day or night and in all seasons.
- The Garmin Striker 4 does not display the details for latitude and longitude.
- The screen size of the device may be a problem for some.
- It doesn’t feature NMEA connectivity
- No battery provided.
- It does not work with every type of boat. It only works with kayaks and canoes.
What do other fishers have to say?
Users have said that the GPS is convenient in marking hot spots and docks. It is sensitive enough to read depth and speed. “The price is such a bonus to a device that has pro features, especially the CHIRP technology. I love it.”.
One of our readers pointed out that the connecting wire to the transducer is a little frail. But also followed up with the brilliance of the 3.5″ screen. “It is readable both in dark and bright settings. Depending on the mode selected, the screen can show up a lot of information.”
If the Garmin Striker sounds to be your kind of fishing finder, seek no more. Find it here!
Vexilar’s GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack 12Deg Ice-Ducer Combo
The Vexilar GP18 has been voted hands down as the best flasher for Ice Fishing. It has an auto zoom and bottom lock feature. It helps you keep a steady eye on what is happening down below. The Vexilar screen has an excellent display with brightness and clarity. It also has interference rejection so that neighboring sonar units do not cause any distortion.
The Vexilar offers clear readouts to enhance your fishing experience. The Vexilar also has a low power mode, which significantly reduces power consumption.
The device comes along with a charger, 12 ° transducer, 12 volts, 7AH battery, and a video with instructions.
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- It sees targets as small as 1 inch.
- It can detect fishes in shallow water. It can also do the same for fishes way below 120 feet.
- It has six depth ranges to provide better experience: 0-20, 0-30, 0-40, 0-60, 0-80 and 0-120 feet.
- It has a three-color LCD screen display.
- It has drilled holes to stack your fishing accessories.
- The storage compartment is spacious to keep large cables.
- It has the option of a Low power mode which is effective for the battery life.
- Great battery life of up to a day without charge.
- The battery compartment is partially enclosed for easy access.
- It includes a charger, 12 ° transducer, 12 volts, 7AH battery, and a video with instructions.
- It has a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- It is convenient for both shallow and deep water use.
- It can identify small targets of less than 2 ¾ inches.
- The screen display is convenient for both day and night use.
- Great interference rejection for optimal performance.
- Long-lasting battery.
- Worth the cost.
- It is not the best option for weed line fishing as compared to other options like the Vexilar FL12.
What do other fishers have to say?
Users have termed the Vexilar as worth every penny. It has been rated five out of five on ease of reading and has 4.7 stars out of five for battery life. It has enhanced the user’s fishing experience effectively that one user even said they “cannot imagine fishing without it.”
If you liked the Vexilar GGP 1812 FL18, don’t wait no more and get yourself one now!
HawkEye FishTrax 1C with Virtuview Icon Display
The HawkEye Fishtrax 1C is a price friendly, compact fish flasher. It is the best ice fishing flasher for the money. Don’t underestimate the size of it when it comes to the number of features the Fishtrax has. It has a full color, HD display. It has 100 plus sensitivity settings, which you can use to adjust the clarity—the lower the sensitivity, the more precise the visual.
The device operates in three modes, which are Fish Finder, Data, and Ice-Mode DigitalFlasher.
- Fishfinder mode: It detects the where the fish are and assesses the depth of water.
- Data mode: It shows three details on the screen, namely the temperature, battery voltage, and depth of the water level.
- Ice flasher mode: The results are shown in a circular shape indicating how hard or soft an object is.
The FishTrax 1c has a user control over the dual-beam FishTrax Intelligent Sonar. It fine-tunes the fish finder for easy adaptability. It can also adjust sensitivity of the device upto hundred levels. It can explore depths at a multi-level and has bottom tracking which is automatically in zoom.
The device also operates on two frequencies. For deeper waters, it runs on 83 kHz, while for shallow water, it works on 200 kHz. This can give you an estimate of readings anywhere from 1.5 feet to 240 feet. Since the device is not entirely waterproof, you can use a dielectric grease that keeps dirt, water and other elements away from electrical devices.
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- It has a dot matrix display with black and white dots.
- It has a Fish Depth Scale.
- The Fish Alarm is audible and an excellent addition.
- It has auto-switching dual frequencies of 83 kHz and 200 kHz.
- You can control the depth range through auto and manual control.
- You can control the levels of sensitivity through auto and manual control.
- It has a Bottom Zoom Mode for convenient viewing.
- It has a color screen.
- The device can also be used as an ice flasher during winter.
- It has a Backlit display.
- Compact and convenient to use.
- Price friendly.
- Backlit display.
- The Fishtrax is not waterproof. It is only water-resistant.
- The screen can be too small for some transitioning from a bigger screen device.
What do other fishers have to say?
“The menu is straightforward to understand. The display is easy to view despite my poor eyesight. It was three feet in front of me, and I could hear and see it well, even in the changing wind and currents.”
Another user said its battery life is durable. The person used it for a whole day, and only half the battery got consumed.
If you want to start your ice fishing journey with the budget-friendly Hawkeye Fishtrax 1, click here to purchase.
Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder – LX-7
The Marcum’s LX-7 is one of the best ice fishing finder sonar. It has been built with the features of MarCum LX Flasher and digital fishfinder technologies. This is the device that will basically hunt down fishes for you through its highly sensitive sonar technology.
Not only this, but you will also get to see what is happening down under the water in vivid detail. The Marcum LX-7 provides an interactive experience through the 8-inch LCD screen.
It has four vibrant color palettes. The screen also has a dashboard that displays the battery voltage, gain, interference rejection(IR), digital depth, and target adjust. It also gives customized window views such as vertical zoom, flasher-dial, and traditional LCD graph displays.
The device can provide you images from 300 feet deep! It is a premium option for ice fishing depth finders.
The Sonar Footprint Technology displays scan areas at 8 degrees or 20-degree transducer cone angles. It helps the user focus on the targeted fish, transducer, and lure. What’s more! You can even zoom in and out of the screen.
The LX-7 also has a target separation of ½” which is helpful for differentiating between objects underwater. The sensory data also helps you to target the object separately. The device also prevents neighboring sonar users from intruding in that area by avoiding the “footprint” area.
While using the Marcum LX-7, the only issue I had was moving between ice fishing holes. The auto-depth reading would get stuck at 1.3 feet. Later I found out that it was an issue of adjusting the sensitivity while at the bottom and turning it back up.
There can also be issues of fogging up and glare on the screen. To tackle this situation, you can use a screen protector which will not only solve glare problems but also protect your screen from damage.
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- It has an 8-inch LCD with 800 x 600 pixels.
- It has four color palettes.
- The dashboard gives the user control for the best fishing experience with features like range, target adjust.
- It provides horizontal and vertical displays such as for water column vertical.
- It has a zoom in and out feature for user convenience.
- The Sonar Footprint technology offers broad and deep coverage up to 300 feet.
- It comes with padded softbacks, USB ports, battery chargers, and rechargeable batteries.
- It also has a menu that specifies Marcum’s patented features.
- State of the art Sonar Footprint Technology.
- Multi modes of display, whether vertical or horizontal.
- User control through a comprehensive dashboard.
- It has a USB port that is convenient for upgradability.
- It offers good coverage at any depth.
- Non-interference from other sonar user’s frequencies.
- It is one of the best ice fishing sonar.
- The glare is inconvenient for when you fish in bright areas.
- It can be hard to use in shallow water bodies.
- The screen is easy to fog up.
What do other fishers have to say?
“It is a bit tricky to use in shallow waters, but otherwise, the dual-beam transducer is a great feature.”
“For times when I fish in current and deep waters, the sensitivity of the device is phenomenal. The large screen is very convenient with multiple view options. The vertical modes of the display allow me to see the water column too!.”
If the Marcum LX-7 has fascinated you, click here to purchase it.
Humminbird ICE 35 Flasher Series
The Humminbird Ice 35 Flasher is one of the best ice fishing finder that I would suggest to any ice fishing novices. It has an easy user interface and a powerful battery. It is one of the best ice fishing flasher for the money. You can detect where the fishes are under you, what size they are, and where to best place your fish lure. It also has digital readouts that make it friendly. It comes in a good looking case. The best feature that I found using the Humminbird ICE 35 Flasher series is its sensitivity. It would be great to have a single support cable, but it’s not an inconvenience as to hamper the flasher’s performance.
The dual-beam transducer comes with selectable options, and coupled with the 800 watts of power, it makes the ICE 35 Flasher a treasured fishing find. The flasher’s zoom feature and its ability to go up to 200 feet of water is a bonus. I often fish for lake trout in 120- 180 feet of water, and this flasher was the only model that went beyond 120 feet of water.
I use the Humminbird flasher by setting it up on an overturned bucket and dropping the transducer into the ice hole. Then I drop the ice jig and use the flasher to help me in deciding where to place the bait ideally. It’s effortless to use and plus points for the fishes that I have caught using this flasher!
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The Humminbird ICE 35 Flasher Series has innovative features that will rope you in.
- It has a fiber optic display with three colors. It shows the bottom of the lake and helps you target your lure to the fish accurately.
- The depth scale rings assess the depth of the water and also where the fishes are located.
- The Dual Frequency Sonar has beam options the user can select from to adjust the sonar coverage, which helps to detect the movement of fishes.
- The sensitivity of the Dual Spectrum Transducer aids in viewing the activity of the fish and your lure.
- It offers high-resolution flasher and 2D sonar views.
- Good battery life.
- Pocket-friendly price.
- The customer service is poor.
- The flasher can’t easily detect small lures.
- There are a lot of unverified sellers marketing the product with faulty parts.
What do other ice fishers have to say?
Customers that have bought the Humminbird Ice 35 last winter have mentioned that the best catches about the flasher are its reasonable price, battery life, and the brightness of the screen while fishing during the daytime.
“It’s nice to have the ability to change the transducer cone angles. Would buy it any day again.”
The user-friendly interface is also one of the factors that customers appreciate. One customer said,
“As far as battery life goes, it is excellent. After eight hours of use, it didn’t exhaust the battery much, maybe a max of 95%”.
To know more about the Humminbird ICE 35, get more information here!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I look for while buying an ice fishing finder?
It depends on factors like the kind of water bodies you usually fish in, what type of fishes you want, whether you use a boat, kayak, your rod size, and so on.
Make a checklist of the factors that revolve around your fishing habits. Then, see which devices have compatible features that might enhance your fishing experience.
Accordingly, you can then narrow down your options. You may want to check out handy rods that pair up well with any kind of lures.
How do I determine what sonar accuracy is better?
There are three factors that determine how accurate a sonar is. First is the cone angle. It can range anywhere to 6 to 90 degrees. A broader angle will give you a bigger picture but sometimes that can give less depth. For shallow water bodies, a wider angle will give you a better view.
Whereas a narrow beam will help you for deeper waters.There are also options of transducers that combine two to four beams to give the best picture.
Second, the frequency matters. Compressed High-Intensity Radar or CHIRP technology is one of the best. It helps you switch frequencies that are best for the situation.
Thirdly, the power of the device is important. It determines the frequency which in turn influences the cone angle. All three are interconnected. The minimum power you want for your device is 600 W. Anything above that will help you get clear readings and can also be used in deep areas. Y
ou need to buy batteries separately for the Garmin Striker You can use lithium batteries for the same purpose. They are light and rechargeable.
What should be my budget?
Depending on the type of fishes you want to catch, the features of the fish finder like display and GPS will be the guiding factor for your budget. If you are planning to splurge, make sure the features of the fish finder are appropriate for the type of fishes and the location you usually fish at.
I believe in the statement that if one does not know what is going on underneath him in the waters, he can never have a good catch no matter what his strategy is. It is thus important to have the best ice fishing finders in your arsenal to have a good haul day!
I listed out the fish finders according to my experience, highlighting its best feature while also mentioning its drawbacks. I hope that this has been of help to you. Let me know which are your favorites too in the comments below!
Until then, I wish you all a Happy fishing experience!
Niels Thomas is a wildlife expert and fishing fanatic that works with major fishing brands like Deeper Sonar, Abu Garcia, Berkley, PENN, BassPro and Pure Fishing. Through sharing the best fishing tips, tricks, gear reviews, locations and much more he hopes to inspire fishing fanatics to start their own journey towards becoming the King of the Catch!