I think its fair to say that if you know where the fish are, you can fish with absolute confidence.
To do that you’ll need a way to see what’s under the water.
I’m going to tell you how to do this today.
In this article, you are going to find the best ice fishing fish finder in 2020.
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
The key to successful fishing is having as much information as you can. The Lucky portable fish finder enables you to do exactly that. When you deploy this fish finder you will know practically everything about the water under your feet.
And I mean everything…
This fish finder will map and display the contours of the bottom so you can easily identify which areas may hold fish. But it doesn’t stop there. You won’t need to guess, as it also picks up the fish too and displays them along with the depth that they are at. This is a great piece of technology.
Aside from telling you the depth of the bottom it also accurately depicts what the bottom is made from, so you’ll be able to avoid sinking your bait into thick mud or weeds.
Sounds good? Well, there’s more.
Water temperature can dictate which method you are going to use, the fish finder is accurate to within 0.1 of a degree, giving you all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision.
It couldn’t be easier to deploy. Tie in onto a strong chord or line and place it in the water.
It’s that simple.
The fish finder is easy to deploy.
It is easy to charge using standard cables.
It is highly visible, so you will always know where it is.
The only thing I didn’t like was that I have to use a separate display unit.
For the money this fish finder represents really great value. It has features that you would commonly associate with products that are 10x the price.
If you haven’t got the energy to interpret a sonar display, then you are going to need another solution. This is it. This underwater fishing camera literally allows you to see the fish in high definition.
Wait, what? How?
By using a crystal-clear HD portable screen you will see everything that the camera points towards. Bottom features, relief, and yes of course the fish! It even works in low light conditions with 8 super bright LED lights. LED’s use very little power so the advertised 8-hour battery life is going to be pretty accurate.
How do I stop it getting lost in the water?
It’s not an issue. First, the camera is attached with a super strong rear mounted cord. Second, it has a substantial metal fin, with an additional notch, allowing you to secure your line and maneuver the camera with ease.
The screen is 100% waterproof so you can use it in any weather. And a USB charging port means you can top it up on the go.
It is the closest thing to getting into the water yourself.
I liked the HD screen, it gives razor sharp images.
The cable. It isn’t wireless and can only go to 15m depth. This could be an issue if you need to fish deeper.
It’s a camera. If the water is cloudy, you aren’t going to be able to use it effectively.
Provided the water is clear enough this would be a decent purchase. The downside comes when you fish in anything other than optimum conditions, as you are effectively blind.
I bet you’ve heard of Deeper PRO before? Well if not, now you have! This is definitely a contender for the best fish finder for ice fishing and open water. It’s almost like it was purpose built.
Why do I say that?
It’s easy and effective and comes laden with features. You won’t need a separate screen or even any wires. This great quality fish finder attaches to a line and then streams its data straight to any mobile phone or tablet, via Wi-Fi!
It’s more than just a fish finder…
With this tennis ball sized fish finder, you can map the bottom to give you a bird’s eye view of the terrain. It’s like an interactive map with fish in it! With a scan rate of 15 per second, the data it provides is instantaneous and accurate to within about 0.5 of an inch! It doesn’t get better than that.
Is it good for open water too?
Yes indeed. The weight of the device makes it ideal for casting, so regardless of where you fish you can see exactly what you are casting into.
Perhaps the best fish finder in its class. It does everything.
I love that you can save data, so you can build up a detailed picture of several venues.
It is smart enough to distinguish between different bottom consistencies.
Because the display screen is your phone, you have to handle the rod one handed.
Well, it’s been a success for a reason. And it does yield results. This is right up there as the best fish finder for ice fishing without shadow of a doubt. Don’t just take our word for it, see it in action.
If you aren’t in the market for a premium fish finder, then this represents a really great compromise, balancing features and budget. To be honest, it isn’t that much different than more expensive models.
Enough about cost, what does it do?
Everything! It assesses depth, water temperature and displays the fish on your portable device. The only downside is that it connects via Bluetooth so its range is limited when compared to more expensive fish finders such as the deeper PRO+.
It is really easy to use. Download the free app, sync it to the device and then drop it into the hole. The displayed data is easy to understand and simple. It also features a strike and fish alarm so will catch your attention if you are about to hook into a monster.
It is secured to your line or cord by two anchor points which are easily being enough to hold a strong snap swivel. We wouldn’t recommend casting it with any force however.
For the features you get it offers excellent value.
It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Bluetooth, which at times can be downright unreliable.
The anchor points won’t support a cast if using in open water.
If only this fish finder didn’t rely on Bluetooth connectivity, it would have been perfect. That said it is much more affordable than some other ice fishing fish finders, with pretty much all of the same features.
This fishing camera is a quality piece of tackle. Again, it is wired, but that ensures great picture quality and no connectivity issues, which is a plus.
It’s dark, that means you can’t use it. Right?
Actually, it has infrared lights and pickups mounted within the camera so it will actually work in pretty much pitch-black conditions. The other thing we like about this is that you don’t have a glaring spotlight which can often frighten the fish.
And even more features…
The monitor is backlit, so you don’t need daylight, or in fact any light to see it. If you are sat in bright daylight the front cover doubles as a sun visor on the screen, reducing glare, ideal for those crystal blue days that we all love fishing in.
The underside of the camera features two anchor mounts that allow you to attach lead weights to the rear of the camera in order to change the angle in which it sits beneath the surface.
Infrared technology means the camera is discreet in the water, so you won’t spook the fish.
The screen is visible in any light conditions, from bright daylight through to utter darkness.
Again, its wired, limiting the depth to which you can see.
It still won’t work in cloudy water.
A camera is always going to be slightly limited. It would appear that cables and wires are just something to accept. It is a good tradeoff however, as when conditions are right, this will help you find fish.
A 7-inch monitor and handy travel case is the reason why this fish finder is in my list. It’s a self-contained solution. Open the case, plug the camera in and watch the results.
What so good about the case?
If you drop your screen or it gets bumped in your bag that would normally render your fish finder useless. With this tough reinforced and fully waterproof case that isn’t going to happen.
This camera is also capable of night and day vision, using 12 infrared sensors you will be presented with a monochrome image when fishing at night.
It’s not the same as our other fish finders, here’s why…
The optional cable with the camera can extend as for as 50 meters. Removing one of the ‘cons’ that we found in our other offerings. With that length you get much more flexibility and can use it in deeper waters.
An extra long cable gives the ultimate versatility in a range of fishing scenarios.
The carry case allows for portability and easy storage.
The screen wasn’t the highest resolution, but that said it is larger than average.
So it’s a little bulky. So what? You gain in convenience in that it comes with its own custom built and waterproof container, which you will need if you are out on the ice.
The extra long cable allows you to get right down to where you need to see.
This could be the best ice fishing fish finder for the money. It is a really affordable solution for those on a budget, and represents an ideal introductory model?
But there’s a cost…
It is a really basic model. The display is LCD, much like calculators and old-fashioned Nintendo game boys. But for such a low price point it does do the job, displaying fish returns and depths down to 100 meters.
Why spend more?
Well, I’ll be honest, it isn’t wireless for a start. And the cable won’t win any awards for length, but the fish finder doesn’t need to go all the way down to the bottom to provide meaningful data. It is a deep and dirty solution, but at the end of the day a fish finder won’t catch the fish for you, it just makes it slightly easier.
The hand held device is made of strong yellow plastic with rubber grip grooves on either side, giving a good grip even if you are wearing ice fishing gloves, it feels really solid in the hand.
The most affordable fish finder you’ll get.
Easy to understand and clear displays.
It is very basic, the LCD screen gives limited information
It is a tethered cable system, limiting you somewhat in what you can do with the sensor.
Have you ever heard the saying “you get what you pay for”? Consider this a real-life example. It’s not bad for the money, if you decide you’d rather spend your hard-earned cash on better tackle then this could be a great solution.
Buyers Guide to Ice Fishing Fish Finders
If this is your first time purchasing an ice fishing fish finder then it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There are a lot of things that you probably want to consider, before you buy.
There’s so much technology.
Yes, I know. But I’m now going to run through the features that you might need.
Look for these features:
Do I Need a Fish Finder?
Ice fishing is the ideal place to deploy a fish finder. Aside from a flat sheet of ice it can be difficult to know what’s in the water.
The best bit about ice fishing is that you don’t need to cast out to reach a feature. If you can identify it by using a sonar fish finder or camera, then you can fish directly on top of it.
If you are ice fishing then a fish finder is a good investment.
A Portable Fish Finder
Only you know how portable a fish finder needs to be.
The majority of my suggestions will fit in your fishing bag or even a pocket. If you are having to walk a long way on the ice then you will want a fish finder that is easy to carry… Along with some ice fishing boots of course.
A fish finder that is easy to charge
If your fish finder runs out of power, well you’ve paid $200 to carry little more than a stone in your pocket. The best ice fishing fish finder will allow you to charge it easily and on the go.
Look for features like phone connectors or USB charging.
Fish Finders with a Good Scan Rate
It’s easy to get bogged down with technical terms, but I’m going to make it easy:
Look at is like this.
The better the scan rate, the more accurate your picture is. The more accurate your picture is, the greater chance you have of catching fish.
All makes sense? Let’s continue…
An Easy to Read Fish Finder
I mean this in two ways. The first is that you have got to be able to see the screen. If sunshine, darkness or any other factor (such as screen size) gets in your way of being able to see the screen, then it all becomes a little pointless using a fish finder in the first place.
Look for features such as backlit LED displays, HD screens and larger than average screens to help you.
What’s the second thing?
Data is only valuable if you understand it. So regardless of how complex the information actually is, you will need it to be displayed in an easy to understand way.
Features are great, features that you can’t understand? Not so much.
An Accurate Fish Finder
If you are paying money for technology then it must help you. If the information is inaccurate or unreliable then it’s no good.
One really nice feature you’ll find on fish finders is GPS. By using an accurate position, you can ensure consistency, which as you’ll already know is a key to catching more fish.
Ok let’s address some common questions:
How to use a fish finder for ice fishing?
It is actually really simple.
Make a hole in the ice and drop your fish finder in. Unlike using a fish finder in open water, you are going to be limited to how much you can move it around.
All you really need is a snapshot of the bottom, and the fish finder does not need to be left in the water for a long period of time. The best fish finders for ice fishing will have a wide beam so you can map more of the bottom in one go.
If you want to map a larger area, drill a few holes and move around.
Can you use a regular fish finder for ice fishing?
Yes, you can. It is actually a cheaper and easier way than buying an ice fishing fish flasher. They aren’t quite as insulated from the cold, but as we have said above you really don’t need to leave the fish finder in the water for a large amount of time.
Most are rated down to lower temperatures. Once you have had a glimpse as to what’s underneath the ice you will have a much better picture of what method you will use.
What is the best ice fishing fish finder?
It is down to personal preference. If you want a quality product packed with features then the Deeper Pro+ is a worthy investment. It is slightly more expensive, but that’s for a reason. You are purchasing quality.
It has so many features and is so easy to use that you’ll make it a regular feature in your ice fishing gear list.
What is an ice flasher?
Ice flashers are generally more expensive than fish finders. They are adapted versions of depth finders that are normally seen on boats.
They are generally not too mobile and require a fair bit of ‘setting up’ and calibrating with each new day. They are highly accurate, but if you are not careful you can spend the day playing with your flasher instead of actually fishing.
If you are anything other than an ice fishing professional a regular fish finder will do the job just as well, if not better.
Can I use an underwater camera for ice fishing?
Yes, you can! One of the benefits of ice fishing is that the water is generally protected from surface disturbances such as wind and rain. As a result, the water can often be beautifully clear, which makes an underwater camera perfect as a fish finder.
So, there we have it. Hopefully, I have managed to put you in the picture with regards to fish finders for ice fishing. As with all things fishing, fish finders don’t guarantee success, but they do make it much more likely.
Have you used something that you consider to be the best ice fishing fish finder in 2020 and want to share it?
Leave a comment below, as I love hearing from you guys and getting one or two tips.