Most fish finder manufacturers have released at least a few ice fish finders over the years. Each model has its own specifics and includes more or less features and accessories. But nonetheless, all of them offer the circular flasher sonar type, whether it’s LED or LCD-based, and they’re equipped with the proper technology and accessories for fishing on ice and at low temperatures.
On this page, we’re going to put into view the best ice fish fishing finders available in 2021. Evidently, some are older than others, but all of them have benefited so far from an overwhelmingly positive feedback from anglers all over the world. They all have an almost clean 5-star rating on all retailers.
- 1 Top 10 Ice Fishing Fish Finders
- 2 Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Ice Bundle
- 3 Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice Fishing Fish Finder
- 4 Humminbird ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N All-Season
- 5 Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Panoptix Ice Fishing Bundle
- 6 Garmin Striker 4 Portable
- 7 Vexilar FL-18 GP1812 Ice Fishing Flasher
- 8 Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73cv Ice Bundle
- 9 Lowrance HOOK2 Ice Fishing All-Season Pack
- 10 Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- 11 MarCum LX-7 Ice Fishing Fish Finder
- 12 Short Buying Guide for Ice Fishing Fish Finders
- 13 Final Word
Top 10 Ice Fishing Fish Finders
- CHIRP sonar
- CHIRP/ClearVü sonar
- Dual Spectrum CHIRP
- CHIRP Sonar
- Single Beam sonar
- CHIRP Sonar
- Single beam sonar
- Dual beam sonar
- Dual beam sonar
Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Ice Bundle
The Hook Reveal series includes several Lowrance fish finders released in 2020. The Hook Reveal 5 is available as an “ice machine”, including the portable ice fishing kit and the Lowrance ice transducer. For reference, this is the Lowrance part number 000-15541-001.
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Ice Bundle includes the Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot head unit. This being said, the unit itself is capable of standard CHIRP sonar and DownScan sonar. It supports multiple frequencies, including 50/83/200 kHz for standard CHIRP, and 455/800 kHz for DownScan.
Although the Hook Reveal 5 unit is DownScan capable, this ice bundle does not come with the SplitShot transducer. It only includes the standard Lowrance ice transducer. Therefore, you won’t be able to use DownScan with the fish finder right out of the box. In order to use DownScan, you will have to opt for the SplitShot transducer.
The unit offers the full range of standard sonar settings. The list includes Fish ID, A-Scope, Bottom Lock, Split-Zoom, Depth Alarm Fish Alarm, Sonar Recording, Sonar Autotuning, etc. Of course, it has a Circular Flasher view for ice fishing which you can use in split-screen with the 2D view. It also has the FishReveal feature which gives you the possibility to blend the 2D CHIRP sonar with the DownScan sonar in order to view the fish arches next to structure for a better assessment. However, this feature is only available if you will be using a SplitShot transducer.
Although the Hook Reveal 5 unit included with this Lowrance ice bundle is a SplitShot unit, the SplitShot transducer is not included. The package comes with the Lowrance ice transducer part number 000-14088-001. This is pretty much a standard, conical ice transducer featuring 8 ft. (2.4 m) of cable and a foam floater. In case you’re wondering, it does not have an internal temperature sensor.
Needless to say, this ice transducer does not support DownScan sonar, only standard sonar. It uses a conical beam with a coverage of 20° @ 200 kHz. Its depth range is 500 ft. (152 m). However, you can always opt for a 50 kHz transducer or a SplitShot transducer.
The Hook Reveal 5 unit is pre-loaded with the U.S. C-MAP basemap for the inland waters. It covers more than 4,000 U.S. lakes with 1-foot contours. However, it provides basic detail. But on the other hand, the unit supports premium charts from C-MAP and Navionics, including Navionics Gold, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+, C-MAP Insight Pro, and C-MAP Lake Insight.
As opposed to the older Hook2-5 unit, this one has the Genesis Live feature. This application is similar to the Quickdraw Contours available with most Garmin fish finders. It uses the GPS and the CHIRP sonar to reveal and draw the depth contours on the map. This way, you can create your own custom maps.
Of course, standard internal GPS is also available with this Lowrance unit. It supports corrections from GLONASS, WAAS, MSAS, and EGNOS. It also has GPS speed, can save waypoints, tracks, and routes.
Control Unit Features
The Hook Reveal 5 unit features a 5-inch SolarMAX LCD display with a pixel resolution of 800H x 480V. It is IPX7 waterproof which means it can survive incidental water exposure. It does not have touchscreen technology. Its interface is pretty easy to use, highly customizable, and provides split-screen possibilities.
Similar to the older Hook2 units, the Hook Reveal 5 model does not have networking features. It lacks Ethernet or NMEA ports, so it won’t support external GPS, Radar, or auto-pilot units. It also does not have wireless connectivity.
Although the Hook Reveal 5 unit is not networkable, it does have a microSD card slot. It’s actually important to mention here that in order to record depth contours and create custom maps with the Genesis Live application, you will need a blank data card inserted into the unit. The fish finder cannot save the maps in its memory.
The portable kit included with this Lowrance ice fish finder consists of several elements. First of all, you get the portable bag which is made of durable nylon material. It has several extra pockets which can be very handy. The pack includes the standard mount bracket for the unit which allows you to also install it on a boat. However, it also includes a wider base for extra stability when used on ice. The two small tackleboxes are also included.
The pack also includes a battery, a charger for it, and the foam floater for the ice transducer. The battery should last for at least 10 hours of fishing.
Pros & Cons
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Ice Bundle includes the Hook Reveal 5 unit, the Lowrance ice transducer, and the portable ice fishing kit. It’s not a very expensive ice fish finder and also offers the basic range of navigation features. Although it’s an ice machine, it can also be installed and used on a boat especially if paired with a SplitShot transducer.
Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice Fishing Fish Finder
The Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice (010-01872-20) is one of the Garmin ice fishing fish finders released in 2018, but it still hasn’t been discontinued yet, and so far it has benefited from great feedback from users. The included unit offers 2D CHIRP and ClearVü sonar possibilities, and also has basic GPS.
First of all, the head unit of this fish finder has two types of sonar, these being 2D traditional CHIRP sonar and ClearVü sonar for structure scanning. However, the ice bundle only includes the ice transducer, so in order to use ClearVü, you will have to opt for a ClearVü capable transducer as well. The unit does not support SideVü or Panoptix sonar.
In terms of sonar frequencies, the unit supports 50/77/200 kHz for 2D sonar, and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü.
Since the unit is included with an ice fishing fish finder bundle, the most important feature to cover here is its digital Circular Flasher. This sonar view shows the sonar information on a circular depth scale. The current depth is displayed in the center, but you can also have other readings on the flasher page, such as water temperature, clock, or battery voltage.
The segments displayed on the outer ring of the flasher indicate different strengths of the sonar return. For example, the bottom, or basically any strong signal is displayed red, while the weaker signals such as small fish or your jig, appear as thin green lines. Evidently, you will be able to see your jig as a thin green line descending from the right side of the ring.
Of course, this fish finder unit also offers the possibility to view the 2D standard sonar imaging. It also offers various other features, such as Fish Symbols, Bottom Lock, A-Scope, Auto Gain, and more.
The transducer included with this Garmin ice fishing fish finder bundle is the GT8HW-IF. This transducer is equipped with 8 ft (2.4 m) of cable, a foam floater for stability, and has a 4-pin connector. It does not integrate a temperature sensor. However, the unit can show temperature.
The GT8HW-IF transducer offers High Wide CHIRP possibilities. It casts a conical beam with a variable coverage between 24° and 16°. It uses the 150-240 kHz channel and offers a maximum depth capability up to 800 ft. (244 m).
As we’ve mentioned above, this transducer does not offer ClearVü capabilities. Therefore, if you want to use Cv with your Striker Plus 5 fish finder unit, you will have to opt for a GT20 or GT22 transducer.
The Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice fish finder unit is not a chartplotter, so it does not have built-in charts, and does not support any charts from Garmin. However, it does have a basic GPS plotter. It also has waypoint creation and trackplotting functions.
Although it doesn’t support charts, this fish finder unit does have the Quickdraw Contours feature. This allows you to scan the lake where you’re fishing and draw the depth contours on the GPS plotter. A Depth Range Shading function is available as well. This function specifies the upper and lower limits of a depth range, and also lets you color code that depth range. You can actually color-code up to 10 depths for a quick view.
Control Unit Features
The unit features a 5-inch color LCD display with LED backlight and has a pixel resolution of 800 x 480. It is IPX7 waterproof. This essentially means that the unit can withstand incidental water exposure.
The unit does not have touchscreen technology; it is keypad operated. However, it has a very easy to use interface. Also, the unit does not offer networking possibilities and does not have a microSD card reader.
The included portable ice fishing kit features a carrying bag with a mount, battery, and charger. The carrying bag is made of synthetic mesh material featuring two side pockets. The mount is made of heavy-duty ABS material with a handle at the top for the easy handling of the fish finder unit. It also has a grommet for cable management.
The included battery is a 12Ah type that should be able to power your fish finder unit with no problem for at least 12 hours. A charger for the battery is included, along with the necessary power cables.
Pros & Cons
The Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice 010-01872-20 is an ice fish finder pack that includes the Striker Plus 5cv head unit, the carrying case with various accessories such as battery and charger, and the Garmin standard ice transducer. The unit also offers basic navigation features such as a GPS plotter and the Quickdraw Contours application.
Humminbird ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N All-Season
The ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N All-Seasons (411210-1) is a pretty complete year-round fish finder kit. It includes an ice transducer and a transom transducer, while the fish finder unit also offers the full range of navigation features.
First of all, the unit included with this Humminbird ice fishing fish finder is the HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N. Therefore, it does not support Down Imaging or Side Imaging sonar. It only has Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar. It supports the 50/83/200 kHz base frequencies.
Since it’s an ice fish finder, it has an advanced digital circular flasher with 1024 segments for a more detailed view of your jig and the fish attacking it. Along with the sonar segments, the flasher also provides plenty of other readings, including Gain, Depth, Range, the diameter of the sonar beam based on depth, Battery Status, Zoom Range, and more.
Among other features, we can also count 6 interference rejection settings (up from 5 that the older G2 version has) for keeping competing sonar signals from cluttering the display of your fish finder unit and for delivering a clear view of what’s under the ice. Adjustable sonar zoom is also available.
The Humminbird ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N All-Season includes two transducers, the Xi 9 1521 and the XNT 9 HW T. The Xi 9 1521 is a single-beam ice transducer. It uses a conical beam with a variable coverage between 15° and 21° and offers a maximum depth capability of 400 ft. (122 m). It has 8 ft. (2.4 m) of cable and a stability floater. It does not have an internal temperature sensor.
The XNT 9 HWT is a regular transducer for mounting on a boat. It comes with a transom mount, it has 20 ft. (6 m) of cable, and has an internal temperature sensor. It’s a High CHIRP transducer and backs the unit’s Full Mode (150-220 kHz), Wide Mode (140-200 kHz), and Narrow Mode (180-240 kHz). For narrow mode, the beam has a coverage of 25°, while for the other two, the coverage is maximum 42°. For Full Mode it is adjustable. The maximum depth capability of this transducer is 1,200 ft. (365 m).
The HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N fish finder offers a fairly decent range of navigation features as well. First of all, it has a 10 Hz interanl GPS receiver so it can show your position, calculate the speed of your boat, and offers the possibility to plot your track, create routes, and save waypoints. It is pre-loaded with the Humminbird Basemap platform. These charts cover more than 10,000 U.S. lakes with 1 depth contours and fairly decent detail for the US coastal waters, showing buoys, depth markers, marinas, navigation aids, and more. Of course, the unit is also compatible with charts such as Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+, LakeMaster, and SmartStrike fishing charts.
The AutoChart Live Ice feature is also available with the Humminbird ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N. This is a depth contour recording feature that uses the 2D sonar and GPS data to reveal and draw the depth contours of your lake. It’s also an AC Live version adapted for ice fishing, but can also be used on a boat.
Although it’s a G3N fish finder unit and has extra networking features, the ICE HELIX 411210-1 does not support Radar and AIS units. It does, however, support GPS heading sensors and i-Pilot Link.
Control Unit Features
The included HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N fish finder unit features a 256-color LCD display, with LED backlight and pixel matrix of 800 x 480. The unit is also IPX7 waterproof. Its interface is keypad operated; it does not have touchscreen technology.
As opposed to the older units, this one has a Jig Charge Mode. This gives you the possibility to quickly charge any glow-painted lure.
This fish finder unit is networkable. It offers Ethernet connectivity so it can be interlinked with other units for data transfer, or communicate with various other boat instruments such as external GPS or heading sensors. It also has Bluetooth connectivity. The Bluetooth connection allows you to sync your unit with your smartphone via the Humminbird FishSmart App for software updates, chart downloads from your ChartSelect account, or other data transfer. Plus, you can opt for a Bluetooth RC2 wireless remote control for your unit.
A microSD card slot is also available. Therefore, you can update the unit’s software via microSD card, use different charts from Navionics or LakeMaster, or use a data card for waypoint backups, sonar recording, etc.
The All-Seasons kit includes quite a few accessories. First of all, you get the portable bag which is made of a durable synthetic mesh material. It features two zippers at the front and two side pockets that can come in pretty handy.
Since it’s a portable fish finder, you get a 9 Amp Hour battery, a charger for it, and all the necessary connectors.
We’ve already mentioned that the XNT 9 HW T features a transom mount, but a suction cup mount is also included. Plus, you also get the classic Gimbal (tilt-swivel) mount for the unit.
Pros & Cons
The Humminbird ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N is a pretty complete ice fishing fish finder bundle. It includes the ice transducer and the 2D transducer for boat. The included fish finder unit offers 2D sonar possibilities along with a 1024-segment digital flasher, GPS and the Humminbird Basemaps. Needless to say, the carrying case, battery, mount, and several other accessories are included with it. It’s not one of the most affordable ice fishing bundles, but definitely offers excellent value for the price.
Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Panoptix Ice Fishing Bundle
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Panoptix Ice Fishing Bundle (010-01893-21) is currently one of the best and most inclusive ice fishing fish finders that you can get at the moment. It’s not one of the most affordable fish finders but does come with the Panoptix PS22 transducer which is definitely worth the extra buck. The unit is also a chartplotter and offers a wide array of navigation features.
The included Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv unit is capable of three types of sonar. These are standard 2D CHIRP, ClearVü, and LiveVü. The standard CHIRP sonar offers the traditional sonar view. The ClearVü sonar offers photo-like clarity sonar imaging right under the transducer, while the LiveVü sonar, as its name suggests, offers a real-time sonar feed offering the possibility to see the movement of your lures and the fish attacking them.
Due to the included Panoptix transducer type, the system offers the possibility of using LiveVü Down, and LiveVü Forward. LiveVü down offers a real-time sonar feed directly under the transducer. LiveVü Forward allows you to scan the surroundings; so basically you won’t have to cut multiple ice holes, as the LiveVü sonar gives you the possibility to view all the fish in a range of a few hundred feet from that particular ice hole.
The fish finder unit supports multiple frequencies, including 50/77/200 kHz for standard CHIRP sonar, and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü. It also supports 417 kHz for LiveVü. Of course, since this is a “cv” unit, it does not support SideVü sonar.
It’s also important to mention that the unit itself also has a standard digital ice flasher feature which can be used in split-screen with the 2D standard sonar view.
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Panoptix Ice Fishing Bundle (010-01893-21) includes two transducers. Needless to say, the most important one is the Panoptix PS22-TR. This transducer uses an oval sonar beam with a coverage of 120°x20° with a range of 300 ft. (91 m). It is equipped with a special barrel mount that allows you to adjust its angle. Therefore, you can scan with it directly under the ice hole via LiveVü Down, or all around the ice hole via LiveVü Forward.
Of course, this Garmin ice fishing fish finder also includes the classic GT10HN-IF ice transducer. This transducer uses a standard conical High Narrow CHIRP beam. It operates in a CHIRP range of 130-300 kHz and has a variable coverage of 8°-16°. Its maximum depth capability is 800 ft. (244 m).
It’s important to mention here that none of these two transducers offers the possibility to use ClearVü. So, in order to use this type of sonar, you will need a different transducer, like the GT20 or GT22.
This Garmin ice fishing fish finder kit includes the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv head unit which is also a chartplotter. Therefore, it has built-in GPS and charts. It has a 5 Hz GPS receiver so it can provide position updates 5 times per second. It also offers waypoint creation, route creation, and trackplotting functions.
In terms of charts, this fish finder unit has the LakeVü g3 platform. These charts cover more than 17,000 U.S. lakes, rivers, and reservoirs in high detail with up to 1-foot depth contours. The Shallow Water Shading feature is available with these charts. Plus, they show fishing areas, boat ramps, camping grounds, marinas, general roads, interstates and other points of interest.
Of course, the unit also has the Quickdraw Contours function. This uses the GPS data and 2D sonar data to reveal and draw the depth contours of your lake on the map. Thus, you can create your own personalized fishing maps.
Control Unit Features
The included ECHOMAP Plus 73cv unit features a 7-inch color display, with a pixel resolution of 800 x 400. It has LED backlight and a waterproof rating of IPX7. It has built-in touchscreen technology but also has a side keypad, and a very easy to use, and customizable interface.
The unit has built-in WiFi. Thus, you can connect it to a WiFi hotspot and download charts or updates. Or, you can sync it with your smartphone via the ActiveCaptain app to pre-plan a fishing trip, access the Quickdraw Community and even get smart notifications from your phone.
This fish finder unit is also networkable. It has NMEA 0183 ports, supports NMEA 2000 and has a microSD card slot. Therefore, you can mount it on a boat and connect it to an already existing boat grid. It supports AIS data, but does not support Radar.
This Garmin ice fishing fish finder comes with a portable kit that includes a carrying bag with mount, battery, and charger. The carrying bag is made of synthetic mesh material featuring two side pockets. The mount is made of heavy-duty ABS material with a handle at the top for the easy handling of the fish finder unit. It also has a grommet for cable management.
The included battery is a 12Ah type that should be able to power your fish finder unit with no problem for at least 12 hours. A charger for the battery is included, along with the necessary power cables.
Of course, the portable kit includes a floater for the GT10HN-IF ice transducer. The Panoptix PS22 comes with its own special transducer.
Pros & Cons
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Panoptix Ice Bundle is a complete ice fishing fish finder, including the Panoptix PS22 & GT10HN-IF transducers, and the ice fishing portable kit. The fish finder unit has internal GPS, the LakeVü G3 charts, Quickdraw Contours, and a wide array of other fish finding and navigation features. It’s not one of the most affordable ice fishing systems but definitely has much more to offer than the classic ice flashers.
Garmin Striker 4 Portable
The Striker 4 is one of the models released by Garmin in 2017, but it’s still available in 2021, and still remains one of the best Garmin fish finders at the moment. This particular version includes the portable kit with the standard transom transducer, but you can always opt for the ice transducer version, or just for the ice transducer.
The Garmin Striker 4 only offers traditional CHIRP sonar. It does not have DownVü or SideVü. It supports three base frequencies, these being 50/77/200 kHz.
The unit itself offers quite a few standard sonar functions. The list includes Fish Symbol ID, A-Scope, Auto Gain, UltraScroll, fish and depth alarm, etc. Evidently, one of the most important functions for ice fishing is the Circular Flasher mode. This sonar view puts the sonar data in a circular depth scale format. The current depth is displayed in the center, but you can also have other readings on the flasher page, such as water temperature, clock, or battery voltage.
The Garmin Striker 4 Portable includes the standard dual-beam transducer which supports 77/200 kHz. It’s a plastic transducer with a transom mount, 20 ft. (6 m) of cable, and an internal temperature sensor. Its connector is a 4-pin type.
The transducer beams offer a coverage of 15° @ 200 kHz and 45° @ 77 kHz. With the included transducer, this Garmin fish finder should be able to scan depths up to 1,600 ft. (487 m) for freshwater, and 750 ft. (228 m) for saltwater.
The Garmin Striker 4 fish finder does not support charts. It also does not have the Quickdraw Contours feature like the newer Plus or UHD models. It is equipped with a basic GPS plotter which allows you to mark waypoints to return to. Via the GPS system, it can calculate the speed of your boat. It can also show the latitude and longitude coordinates for your waypoints or your location.
Since the unit does not support charts, the navigation background of the plotter is a blank sheet. However, you can mark waypoints on it and record your trail. It can store up to 5,000 waypoints.
Control Unit Features
The unit features a color display, 3.5″ in diagonal, with a pixel resolution of 480V x 320H and LED backlight. It is IPX7 waterproof rated. It’s operated via keypad and does not have touchscreen technology.
Since it’s one of the most basic Garmin fish finders, it does not have networking features (no Ethernet ports, no NMEA. It also does not have wireless connectivity like the ECHOMAP models and lacks the microSD card slot. It includes a standard tilt-swivel mount.
The portable kit that comes with the Striker 4 includes quite a few elements. First of all, you get the carrying bag with base and handle, a rechargeable (12 Ah) battery, and a charger for it. The carrying bag is made of synthetic mesh material featuring two side pockets. The mount is made of heavy-duty ABS material with a handle at the top for the easy handling of the unit. It also has a grommet for cable management.
The portable kit also includes several mounts for the transducer. There’s a suction cup mount which can be quite handy if you’re renting a boat, or simply don’t want to drill any holes in the hull or your boat. There’s an in-hull mounting kit for kayak. And finally, you’ll also get a foam floater in case you want to use the included transducer for ice fishing and not opt for the GT8HW-IF transducer.
Pros & Cons
The Garmin Striker 4 Portable is an ice fishing fish finder pack which includes the Striker Plus 4cv unit, the standard 77/200 kHz transducer, and the carrying case with the battery, charger, and multiple mounts for the transducer. The fish finder unit also has a basic GPS plotter but does not support any charts. It’s an excellent ice fishing kit, and also a year-round fish finder as it can be mounted on a boat, with a transom or in-hull transducer.
Vexilar FL-18 GP1812 Ice Fishing Flasher
Although the Vexilar FL-18 fish finder has been around for at least a few years, it’s still available today, and still remains one of the highest-rated ice fish finders. It’s an ice fishing flasher, so it’s exclusively a fish finder; it does not have GPS or any other navigation functions. To be more specific, this is the Vexilar part number GP1812.
The Vexilar FL-18 is a single frequency fish finder. It operates at 200 kHz. It features a 3-color LED-based circular flasher display. It should be read counterclockwise from the top, 0 position. The 0 signal is marked red, your jig should appear as a thin green line moving down from the top right quadrant when dropped, or vice-versa when recovered.
The bottom and/or other hard returns are represented by thick red lines, while fish should appear orange (larger) or green (smaller) depending on their size, if they’re caught by the transducer beam. The sonar detects and displays the activity in the transducer beam in real-time. In other words, if a fish attacks the lure, you will see a green or orange segment moving towards the thin green segment which represents the lure.
The fish finder unit offers three notable functions. These are Power & Range Control, Mode Control, and Gain Control. To begin with, Gain Control regulates the amount of signal provided by the display. Mode Control offers two modes itself: Auto Zoom and Bottom Lock. And finally, the Power & Range Control function allows you to select the desired range; the available ranges are x1, x2, x3, x4, and x10.
The Vexilar FL-18 ice fishing fish finder comes with a standard ice transducer. Its part number is TB0080. It is also known as the Vexilar 12-degree Ice-Ducer. As its name suggests, it uses a 12° beam angle. The beam has a conical shape and offers a maximum depth capability of 300 ft. (91 m).
The transducer has 7 ft (2.1 m) of cable. It comes with a foam stabilizer to keep it in the required vertical position when dropped in the ice hole. It is important to mention that this transducer does not integrate a temperature sensor and the unit cannot indicate the water temperature.
Vexilar makes available several portable kits for their ice fishing fish finders. The FL-18 model comes with the Blue Box kit. This consists of a carrying case for the unit made of durable ABS plastic. It has a handle at the top, a special slot for the transducer, and several other small slots into which you can store fishing tackle if necessary.
The unit’s portable kit also includes a 12-volt 7 Amp battery and a charger for it. The battery should last between at least 16 hours or even more if you’re using the Low Power mode. Also, if charged properly every time, it should last for many years of use.
Finally, the mount for the fish finder unit is included as well. This is a basic U-type, swivel mount which attaches directly to the blue carrying case by two screws.
Pros & Cons
The Vexilar FL-18 GP1812 is a basic ice fishing flasher featuring a 3-color LED display with 525 segments. It includes the ice transducer, battery, charger, and the Blue Box carrying case. It’s an excellent unit for fishing at depths up to 300 ft.
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73cv Ice Bundle
The ECHOMAP UHD 73cv Ice Bundle is one of the Garmin fish finders released in the second part of 2020. As the title suggests, the bundle includes the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv fish finder and chartplotter unit, but comes with the GT10HN-IF ice transducer and the portable kit for ice fishing.
The unit offers standard CHIRP sonar and ClearVü sonar, with the UHD mode for ClearVü. However, with the included ice transducer, you won’t be able to use the ClearVü sonar. In order to use Cv, you’ll need either the GT24UHD transducer, or a transducer that supports ClearVü. The unit also supports Panoptix sonar and can be paired with Panoptix transducers such as the PS22-TR.
This Garmin fish finder supports multiple frequencies including 50/77/83/200 kHz for standard CHIRP and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü. Of course, since it’s a UHD unit, if you will also opt for the Cv transducer, you will be able to use the unit’s UHD Cv mode.
The included GT10HN-IF transducer is a standard ice fishing model. It uses a single CHIRP frequency in an interval of 130-300 kHz. It casts a conical beam with a variable coverage of 8°-16°. Its maximum depth range is 800 ft. (244 m).
The transducer is plastic-made, featuring 8 ft. (2.4 m) of cable with an 8-pin connector. It does not have an internal temperature sensor. It comes with the foam floater accessory for ice fishing.
Unlike the Striker units, the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv supports charts and has built-in GPS. It comes pre-loaded with the LakeVü g3 maps that cover more than 18,000 US lakes and offer features like Depth Range Shading and Shallow Water Shading. The unit also has Auto Guidance and the Quickdraw Contours features for custom bathymetric mapping.
The SailAssist page is available with this Garmin fish finder as well. It offers functions such as laylines, enhanced wind rose, heading and course-over-ground lines, time to burn before the start, and the race times. Also, the unit supports AIS data, DSC data, and is ActiveCaptain compatible.
The unit can also save up to 5,000 waypoints in its memory, 100 routes, and 50 tracks. Each track can have up to 50,000 points. Plus, it has Auto Guidance which is a feature that offers the possibility for planning safe routes, showing you the general path and nearby obstacles at a safe depth.
Control Unit Features
The Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73cv unit features a 7-inch display with a pixel resolution of 800H x 480V. It’s interface combines button navigation with touchscreen navigation. The unit is also IPX7 waterproof.
Unlike the Striker models, the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv has networking features such as NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000. Its also has WiFi and is compatible with the Garmin ActiveCaptain app. If you install this app on your phone, you can easily download or upload charts, back-up the data in your chartplotter, pre-fish a lake and pre-plan a trip, and more. The unit also has a microSD card slot, so you can upgrade its chart base if you want to either LakeVü g3 Ultra or BlueChart g3 Vision.
This Garmin ice fish finder comes with the same portable kit as the last year’s ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Ice. This ice fishing kit includes the carrying case and the tilt-swivel mount for the unit. The case is made of synthetic mesh material and has two side pockets. The mount is made of thermoplastic material and has a grommet for cable storage.
Of course, the portable kit includes a battery and a charger for the unit. Plus, a foam floater for the ice transducer is included.
The Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73cv Ice Bundle includes the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv unit which is a networkable unit with built-in WiFi, GPS, and pre-loaded with the LakeVü g3 maps. The system includes the ice transducer GT10HN-IF. The ClearVü transducer is not included, though. Since it’s an ice bundle, the fish finder comes with the portable case, battery, and charger.
Lowrance HOOK2 Ice Fishing All-Season Pack
As its name suggests, the Lowrance HOOK2 Ice Fishing All-Seasons Pack (000-14178-001) is a portable ice fishing fish finder that can be used year-round, either on ice or on a boat. Along with the fish finder unit, the portable pack comes with quite a bunch of accessories, including two transducers, battery, charger, tackleboxes, and more.
First of all, the kit includes the HOOK2-4x fish finder unit, the version that does not have a GPS plotter; it is only a fish finder. It is capable of only one frequency, this being 200 kHz. That’s why it does not have a split-screen mode. But on the other hand, it has a multi-segment flasher function that can be used for ice fishing.
The unit offers Automated Sonar Settings. This feature allows you to spend more time fishing and less time tuning the unit. It actively adjusts the sonar settings as the fishing conditions change. In all, it’s a plug-and-fish depth finder.
The unit offers several useful sonar functions, such as Fish ID, Circular Flasher, Shallow Alarm, Bottom Range, etc.
The Lowrance HOOK2 Ice Fishing All-Season Pack includes two transducers, one is for ice fishing, the other is a skimmer-type for use on a boat.
The ice transducer is the part number 000-14088-001. It features 8 ft. (2.4 m) of cable, and a foam floater. This transducer casts a conical beam with a coverage of 20°. Also, its maximum specified depth capability is 500 ft. (152 m).
The boat transducer is pretty much the Lowrance Bullet skimmer. It’s also a single-beam transducer, operating at 200 kHz. Its beam is conical, with a coverage of 40°, and a similar 500 ft. (152 m) depth capability. This transducer has 20 ft. (6 m) of cable.
The pack includes two mounts for the skimmer transducer. One is a transom mount to be fixed on a boat’s hull via screws. The other is a suction cup mount, for improved portability.
Control Unit Features
The Lowrance HOOK2-4x unit has a 4.3-inch display with a pixel resolution of 480H x 272V. It’s a SolarMAX type display designed for a super-bright imaging and great visibility in direct sunlight.
The fish finder unit does not have touchscreen technology; it’s keypad operated, the navigation through the menus and the usage of its functions is done exclusively via the keypad on the right side. It also does not offer NMEA integration, nor does it have an SD/microSD card reader.
As we’ve mentioned above, the unit does not have a split-screen mode. Therefore, you can either use the flasher sonar, or the regular 2D sonar.
Lowrance HOOK2 Ice Fishing All-Season Pack includes a generous set of accessories. First of all, it includes a portable bag made of durable synthetic material. The bag has multiple pockets that can come in very handy.
In terms of mounts, the pack includes a larger one for ice fishing, and the standard tilt-and-swivel one that allows you to mount the unit on a boat. As opposed to other ice fishing packs that we’ve covered here, the Lowrance one includes two small tackleboxes.
Finally, the pack includes 12V – 7 Ah type a battery and the charger for it. If fully charged, the battery should last for at least 10-12 hours of fishing.
Pros & Cons
The Lowrance HOOK2 Ice Fishing All-Season Pack includes the HOOK2-4x (no GPS) units, an ice transducer and a skimmer transducer, the carrying case, mounts, battery, and charger, plus two extra tackleboxes. It’s a pretty complete year-round fishing pack, that offers standard (basic) sonar capabilities. It’s also one of the most affordable portable ice fish finder kits available at the moment.
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
The Deeper PRO+ is one of the most compact ice fishing fish finders available at the moment. It’s a wireless fish finder that uses your iOS or Android smartphone as a receiver unit to deliver the sonar data. It’s castable from the shore and can be used as a year-round fish finder. Also, the PRO+ model has built-in GPS.
As we’ve mentioned above, the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar system does not include a head unit like a standard ice fishing fish finder. It connects to your smartphone (iOS or Android) via WiFi. Actually, the Deeper sonar creates its own WiFi hotspot to which you connect your smartphone.
Of course, in order to use this fish finder, you will have to download the Fish Deeper app from the App Store or Google Play. The app is free. This is a multi-purpose app. Not only that it works as a sonar app, it also offers most features of a standard fish finder and also allows you to create bathymetric maps.
In terms of sonar, the Deeper app offers a standard 2D sonar view, but also a Circular Flasher view. Therefore, you can use your Deeper PRO+ like any other ice fishing fish finder. The flasher view shows depth, water temperature, and the side segments that represent the bottom, fish, vegetation, and other suspended targets. Evidently, if your lure is caught in the beam of the 2D flasher, it will show on the outer ring. Also, the Circular Flasher view can be used in split-screen with the 2D sonar view.
Among other sonar features and functions, we can mention Display Sensitivity, Fish Icons, Color Palette, Sonar Feed Storage (or Sonar Recording), and more.
Needless to say, the Deeper PRO+ gadget has a built-in transducer. It is a dual-beam transducer that can use a wide beam for more coverage and a narrow beam for more focus and target clarity. The wide beam has a coverage of 55°, while the narrow beam is 15°. Both beams have a conical shape.
It’s also important to mention here that the Deeper PRO+ sonar has a WiFi range of 330 ft. (100 m), so that’s plenty of coverage whether you cast it from your boat or drop it down from a bridge. Also, the depth capability of the built-in transducer is 260 ft. (80 m).
The Deeper PRO+ Smart fish finder also has a built-in GPS receiver. So, first of all, this allows your GPS-enabled mobile device to show your current location and other GPS-specific data.
Second of all, it enables the device to map your favorite fishing spots by creating bathymetric, depth contour maps even while fishing onshore. Actually, it’s the only fish finder and GPS combo that allows you to create your own custom bathymetric maps from the shore, without the usage of a boat.
All bathymetric maps can be archived and accessed at any time to improve fishing location efficiency. This allows users to examine the bottom conditions of the entire fishing location to determine the best opportunity for an optimum fish bite. Onshore GPS Mode is operating in the same manner as the Boat Mode, but instead of using your smartphones’ GPS (as it is done when operating Boat Mode) the Onshore GPS Mode uses the internal GPS receiver installed into the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ device.
Deeper PRO+ Construction and Accessories
The whole device is encased in a spherical shell made of durable ABS plastic. The sonar sensors are on the outside, so the beams won’t be impaired in any way. The case has three connection points on the outside into which you can screw the attachment bolts, depending on how you will deploy the gadget (from boat, drop-down from a bridge, or cast from shore with a fishing rod).
Two attachment bolts are included with the device. You’ll only need only one for its use, but the second can come in very handy as a spare.
The top cover of the spherical case can be removed to allow access to the internal connector. This is a micro USB port. A micro USB / USB cable is included with the device. Therefore, you can charge it via cable from a PC or connect it to your smartphone adapter.
Among other accessories included with the Deeper PRO+ fish finder, we can mention a portable bag. This bag is well-padded to protect the device from scratches, especially it outer metallic sonar sensors. It has two tightening strings to keep the device well sealed inside, and an attachment hook to connect it to your belt or tackle bag.
Pros & Cons
The Deeper PRO+ is one of the most compact fish finder systems. It connects to your smart device by creating a WiFi hotspot and offers 2D sonar, circular flasher ice fishing sonar, GPS, bathymetric map creation, and many other features. It’s a highly portable and versatile device, can be used year-round, from a boat, from the shore, from a bridge, and on ice.
MarCum LX-7 Ice Fishing Fish Finder
The MarCum LX-7 is a dedicated ice fishing fish finder. It is a bit expensive, though, considering that it doesn’t have any navigation features, and only offers 2D / Flasher sonar possibilities, without structure scanning sonar like the Garmin ECHOMAP 7cv unit. But nonetheless, it still is one of the best ice fish finders available at the moment.
The MarCum LX-7 ice fishing fish finder offers dual beam sonar possibilities, but the only specified operating frequency for it is 200 kHz. Therefore, it is not certain whether both beams use the 200 kHz channel, or only 8° one.
In terms of standard sonar features, this fish finder unit pretty much the complete range. First of all, it offers the 2D traditional sonar graph view and the circular sonar mode for ice fishing. They can both be used in split-screen format, along with the vertical zoom display or vertical water column display.
The unit’s circular flasher mode and vertical readings have a pretty neat interface compared to other ice fishing fish finders. The unit makes available a 12-step patented interference rejection for keeping competing sonar signals from cluttering the display of your unit and for delivering a clear view of what’s under the ice.
Among other sonar functions, we can mention Automatic Bottom Lock, Selectable Zoom for 5 ft. (1.5 m), 10 ft. (3 m), 20 ft. (6 m), and 40 ft. (12 m), Dynamic Depth / Range, Sonar Footprint Display, Adjustable Scroll, and Adjust Image Magnifier.
The MarCum LX-7 ice fishing fish finder includes a standard ice transducer with an outer urethane shell and a conical shape, with 8 ft. (2.4 m) of cable.
The transducer is dual-beam capable. It can cast two conical beams with a coverage of 20°, and respectively 8°. Of course, the system cannot use both beams simultaneously, only one at the time. Its maximum depth can reach 300 ft. (91.4 m).
Control Unit Features
The MarCum LX-7 ice fishing fish finder features an 8-inch LCD display with 4 color palette options and a pixel matrix of 800H x 600V. It also has adjustable LED backlight with a night-vision mode.
The unit does not have networking possibilities. It does not support NMEA networks and does not have Ethernet ports. It also doesn’t support external GPS, AIS units, or other boating instruments. However, it does have a micro USB port on the back so you can connect it to a PC via micro USB / USB cable, in order to upgrade its internal software.
First of all, the MarCum LX-7 ice fishing fish finder includes a large portable bag, made of durable nylon material. Needless to say, the bag features a carrying handle and side pockets.
The kit includes a portable mount for the unit featuring an extension arm for the transducer. The mount also has a special slot for storing the transducer, while its rear part can accommodate the unit’s battery.
A 12V / 9 Amp battery is included with the unit, along with the charger for it. Plus, the kit also includes a snow shield faceplate.
Pros & Cons
The MarCum LX-7 is a sonar-only ice fishing fish finder. It includes a portable case, the LX-7 unit, the ice transducer, a battery and a charger for it. The unit makes available an advanced digital ice fishing flasher and the standard 2D CHIRP sonar view, along with a multitude of other features, such as Adjustable Zoom, Interference Rejection, Depth Range, Adjustable Scroll, etc. It’s not exactly one of the most affordable ice fish finders, but definitely offers excellent value for the price.
Short Buying Guide for Ice Fishing Fish Finders
Ice fish finders come in different shapes and sizes, each one offering a specific set of features and accessories. Evidently, not all of them may fit your needs and your budget. So, especially if you’re buying your first ice fish finder, it’s very important to know what you’re paying for.
Therefore, in the next section of this page, we’re going to point out some of the most important aspects with regards to ice fishing fish finders, in order to help you make the right choice.
When it comes to fish finders, the three major brand names that you should look for first are Humminbird, Garmin, and Lowrance. They’re currently the top fish finder brands, and they offer fish finders and chartplotters of all kinds, for all budgets and needs.
However, in terms of ice fish finders, two other notable brands are Vexilar and MarCum. Our selection of best ice fish finders for 2021 already covers at least one model from each. But just in case you want to dig more, these are pretty much the best brands to look for.
Types of Sonar
All ice fishing fish finders typically have the standard sonar type which relies on at least one frequency. However, the more expensive models also have built-in structure scanning sonar which provides photo-like imaging which you can use in parallel with the 2D sonar. This way, you can interpret better the underwater environment and the placement of the fish in relation to structure.
Structure scanning sonar is typically available in two forms: down scanning and side-scanning. For the down scanning sonar, the transducer casts one sonar beam directly down. For side-scanning sonar, the transducer typically casts two beams, one on each side.
Each fish finder brand has specific terms for their structure scanning sonar. For example, Garmin calls it “ClearVü” and “SideVü”, Humminbird calls it “Down Imaging” and “Side Imaging”, while Lowrance calls it “DownScan” and SideScan”.
In the past few years, newer and more performant technologies have been developed. For example, Garmin has the LiveVü sonar, and already offers ice fishing fish finders with Panoptix LiveVü transducers. These are considerably more expensive, but do offer a live sonar feed. You can actually see the fish attacking your lures.
CHIRP sonar technology is also an important aspect to look for. Usually, the fish finders that have CHIRP sonar offer a better target separation and fish detection. That’s because the sonar echo covers an entire range of frequencies, not only one frequency.
So, as a small conclusion here, the more types of sonar a unit has, the more expensive it will be. However, in most cases, you can rely with no problem only on the classic 2D single-beam sonar, so other sonar technologies may simply be overkill.
For ice fishing, it’s not that important that your fish finder supports multiple sonar frequencies. However, if it does, it’s a plus. That’s because it will allow you to alternate different sonar beamwidths for more coverage, or more focus, and greater depth scanning. Of course, the more frequencies supported, the higher the price of that particular unit.
Most ice fishing fish finders use the 200 kHz channel which should be enough for ice fishing on a lake. Most transducers that use this frequency channel, should be able to provide a depth capability of at least 200 ft. (61 m) which is more than enough for lake fishing. But in case you’ll ever want to mount your unit on a boat and use it off-shore in blue waters, 50 kHz capabilities or at least 83 kHz capabilities can be a plus.
Another pretty important aspect to mention here regards the dual-frequency capability. Some units allow you to use two frequencies simultaneously and observe the returns in split-screen. Therefore, you can use both a narrow beam and a wide beam at the same time which can be quite a plus.
In terms of display, there are two types of ice fishing fish finders, the ones with an optic fiber or LED flasher-type display, and the ones with an LCD display. The flasher-type units are typically fish finders only. They are dedicated ice fish finder systems and don’t offer many other features.
Conversely, the units that have an LCD display, not only that make available a virtual circular flasher, they also allow you to use this flasher view in split-screen with the standard 2D view. Also, many of them offer many other 2D sonar features and functions, as well as navigation features.
Included Transducer and Transducer Compatibility
First of all, whenever you purchase a fish finder, it’s pretty important to opt for one that comes with its own transducer. This way, you can be sure that you have a usable fish finder out of the box. Also, you won’t experience any incompatibility issues. The transducer provided with a certain head unit is always compatible with that particular unit.
Most ice fish finder bundles include at least one basic ice transducer. But just in case, before purchasing one, always double-check if the transducer is included.
Transducer compatibility should be the second on the list here. It’s quite a plus that a certain unit included with an ice fishing fish finder pack is compatible with multiple transducers. For example, the Garmin ECHOMAP units that we’ve pointed out above, support several transducer models. Therefore, not only that you can use them on ice, with a different transducer, you can also use them on a kayak or boat, for summer lake fishing, or off-shore fishing.
Navigation features are not exactly a necessity for ice fishing fish finders and ice fishing in general. That’s because in most cases you’ll know exactly where you are, and won’t cover more than a mile, even if you move a lot on the ice. Also, a unit that has GPS and a pre-loaded chart base typically costs at least $100 more than a similar one without. However, if you plan to use your fish finder year-round and on your boat, navigation features can come in handy.
Similar to navigation features, these aren’t necessary for ice fishing fish finders. But once more, if you will ever want to use your unit on a boat, Ethernet, NMEA support and wireless connectivity are a plus. Of course, these increase the overall price of the unit.
As we’ve mentioned above, each ice fishing bundle includes a certain amount of accessories. Needless to say, the most important ones are the battery for the fish finder unit, the charger for the battery, the portable case or bag, and the ice fishing mount for the unit which should have a flat bottom. Always make sure that your ice fish finder includes these. Any other accessories like tackleboxes, extra transducers, and transducer mounts, unit covers, adapter cables etc, are also welcome, but not entirely necessary.
The ice fishing fish finders that we’ve covered here are some of the best available in 2021, at least for the moment. Our top 10 covers models for all budgets and needs. They’re all portable, they include all the necessary accessories and features for ice fishing. Each one comes with at least one transducer, portable case, and battery. They all offer excellent value for the price, and so far, they’ve gathered the best user feedback.