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The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

Last updated May 5, 2022| Gear

Fish finders are one of the most important tools you can have with you on your next kayak or canoe fishing trip. When you’re out in a boat, it can be hard to see what’s underwater without some type of device to help you locate where fish are hiding.

A fish finder is a device that can be attached to your kayak or canoe. It will help you find the best spots to fish.

The good news is that there are many different types of portable fish finders for boats and kayaks available on the market today, but knowing exactly which one to buy and what to look for specifically can be a challenge.

That’s why we put together this list with reviews of some of the best portable fish finders for kayaks and canoes in 2022. This way, you’ll know what features and brands are worth looking at before making a purchase decision.

The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

In a Hurry? See Our Top Picks

Just click on any image below to see price, ratings and reviews on Amazon.

RICANK Portable Fish Finder - Heart for Outdoor RICANK$39.99Buy now on Amazon
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C 41JCk0c8BuL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor HawkEye$119.90 $136.25Buy now on Amazon
Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv 41wx9wqL iL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor Garmin$179.99Buy now on Amazon
Humminbird 410940-1 41wToUa+svL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor Humminbird$603.02Buy now on Amazon

If you’re interested in learning what to look for when buying a (new) fish finder for your kayak or canoe, make sure to read our buying guide below as well.

9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

Now, let’s dive into the main part of our article; our top recommendations for fish finders. As you’ll see below, prices vary quite a bit but there are some great deals to be had for relatively little money.

1. Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

41wx9wqL iL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

Let’s start with one of the most popular brands of marine technology: Garmin.

The Garmin Striker Plus 4 is a great portable fish finder for kayaks, canoes and any other type of fishing vessel.

This unit has all the bells and whistles you might expect from Garmin, including GPS, sonar (with both dual-beam transducer and Garmin Chirp technology), great HD mapping software and a bright 4” display.

Although one of the more expensive options on this list, you definitely get a lot of value for your money.

It’s also available in larger screen sizes, 5″, 7″ and 9″.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Great quality
  • Beautiful bright color display
  • Automatic night mode for low light or nighttime use

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Power cable can be affected by saltwater

$179.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 11 hours ago

2. LUCKY Fish Finder Wired & Wireless Portable Fishing Sonar

51wVWfzR9fL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

The LUCKY Fish Finder is a battery-powered sonar that is both portable and affordable. When paired with the waterproof cable, anglers can access depths of 328 feet (100m) or they can use wireless readings to reach 147 feet (45m).

The fully rotatable transducer offers excellent fishfinding coverage from 45° beam angle in 200 KHz (Cable)/ 90° beam angle in 125 kHz (Wireless).

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Convenient size
  • Very accurate
  • WiFi technology instead of Bluetooth

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Does not come with car/wall charger (USB cable only)
  • Maybe somewhat complicated to use

$165.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 11 hours ago

3. LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Handheld Kayak Fish Finders Wired

51XTwgHYhjL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

This portable wired fish finder is another great option offered by LUCKY.

It’s affordable and offers plenty of features that you may need, including depth detection up to 328 ft, rechargeable battery, underwater contours display, adjustable sensitivity, depth alarm, fish alarm, and much more.

The LUCKY wired fish finder has a 2.4″ display.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Affordable, excellent value for money
  • Very easy to use
  • Made specifically for kayaks
  • Great customer support

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Accuracy can vary

$82.89

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 11 hours ago

4. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder

51Trj4HZEmL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

A little bit different than the other items on this list, is the ReelSonar Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder. This portable fish finder is actually just a sonar that connects via Bluetooth to your phone.

It’s an affordable option for those who prefer the larger and more detailed screen of their smartphone instead of a smaller and lower-resolution fish finder display.

Simply connect the fish finder to your IOS or Android device, install the app, and go fishing!

The ReelSonar features a built-in LED beacon, rechargeable battery with 10+ hours of battery life, Bluetooth Smart sync up to a distance of 100′, GPS tagging, fish and strike alarms, and many more features.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Compatible with IOS + Android devices
  • Compatible with Google and Apple Watches
  • Fish and strike alarm

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • You will need a waterproof cover to safely use your phone on the water
  • Device is always on; battery life can be an issue

$89.95 $99.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-10%
Last update: 11 hours ago

5. RICANK Portable Fish Finder

- Heart for Outdoor

A little basic fish finder that’s very affordable and can be a good option for those just looking for something easy, compact and cheap.

Overall, the over 500 Amazon reviews are all positive and describe the product as an affordable basic option that does exactly as advertised: find fish!

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Very inexpensive
  • Fish alarm
  • Selectable sensitivity
  • Works as advertised

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Limited features
  • Low-resolution screen

$39.99

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 11 hours ago

6. Humminbird 410940-1 HELIX 7 CHIRP MDI GPS G3 Fish Finder

41wToUa+svL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

The Humminbird is by far the most advanced, and expensive, fish finder on this list.

Although not specifically designed for kayaks or canoes, it can be a great option for those of us who want a more advanced fish finder, with a larger screen and overall better specifications.

The Humminbird 410940-1 offers a beautiful 7″ color TFT and MEGA Down Imaging which gets unprecedented underwater clarity with coverage down to 125 feet below your boat.

This fish finder also uses Humminbird’s Low Q CHIRP transducer, Dual Spectrum CHIRP, which offers two ways to search: wide mode for maximum coverage and narrow mode for maximum detail.

All in all an amazing fish finder, if you’re willing to spend a little more.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Beautiful 7″ large screen
  • Great features
  • Very clear image

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • No built-in battery, will need an external power supply
  • Expensive
  • Not specifically built for kayaks/canoes.

$603.02

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 11 hours ago

7. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

41JCk0c8BuL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

The HawkEye FishTrax 1 is for beginner anglers looking for affordability and ease of use. It has a VirtuView ICON LCD that depicts sonar data in a series of icons, which provides valuable fishing data in an easy-to-understand readout. The FishTrax 1 also includes 5-level adjustable sensitivity, an audible fish alarm and a backlit display for easy nighttime viewing.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Very portable
  • Highly accurate
  • Easy to use

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Small screen

$119.90 $136.25

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-12%
Last update: 11 hours ago

8. Venterior Portable Rechargeable Fish Finder Wireless Sonar

41WvHqtvCRL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

Another great option is the Venterior portable fish finder. It uses a wireless sonar to detect fish up to 131 feet deep. The fish finder can detect and display water depth, water temperature, fish size (small/medium/big), fish depth and bottom contour.

The Venterior has a clear color TFT LCD screen that you can toggle between a light and dark background, which enables you to read the screen in bright sunlight or at night.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Clear color display
  • 20 levels of sensitivity setting
  • Fish alarm
  • Great value for price
  • Easy to use
  • Very accurate

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Screen not very water resistant

$82.79

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Last update: 11 hours ago

9. Deeper START Smart Fish Finder – Castable Wi-Fi fish finder

41lz3iSia0L. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor

Another smartphone-connected option is this Deeper START Smart Fish Finder. One of its main advantages over other wireless fish finders is that it uses WiFi technology, which greatly enhances the range and reliability of the wireless transmission.

It is very easy to use; the fish finder displays fish location and size, water depth, bottom contour and vegetation using the Fish Deeper app (free app available for IOS and Android).

The fish finder can cast out to 165ft and scan down to 165ft with 40° sonar beam for accuracy and coverage. Every scan is also automatically saved with time and location.

What we like about this fish finder:

  • Affordable
  • Great app
  • WiFi instead of Bluetooth
  • IOS and Android

What we don’t like about this fish finder:

  • Batter life
  • Can give some frequent false positives

$99.95 $143.19

Buy now on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
-30%
Last update: 11 hours ago

How to Find the Right Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks

Having the best portable fish finder for kayaks and canoes is a must if you want to maximize your chances of catching fish. In order to get started, it’s important that you consider several different factors, including the following.

Price

One of the most important aspects to consider when buying a fish finder for your kayak or canoe is how much you are willing to spend. The good news is that there are quite a few different options available, which means you should be able to find a portable fish finder within your budget – no matter how small that might be.

Mounting Options

Next, you’ll want to consider how you’d like to install your fish finder on your kayak or canoe. This depends on a variety of factors such as the size and weight of your vessel(s) as well as what type of model you are looking for.

Each portable fish finder will come with a variety of different mounting options depending on the model you choose to buy. For example, some fish finders are designed to attach directly to your fishing rod, while others feature suction cup mounts or even permanent mounts for your kayak.

71ScMlGlQVL - Heart for Outdoor

Photo by Justin O. on Amazon (review)

Type of Fish Finder

As for the type of fish finder you’ll need, this largely depends on what type of fishing you plan to do. For example, if you’re looking to catch larger fish in deep water, you’ll likely want a fish finder that’s capable of providing accurate depths and distances. To be able to scan greater depths, it’s important to look for a fish finder with a down-imaging sensor. For most fishers, however, a side-imaging unit often works just fine.

However, if you’re looking to catch smaller fish in shallow waters, you might be better off with a fish finder that is packed with sonar capabilities and features such as high-speed processing and instant depth readings.

Also, keep in mind that fish finders are typically measured in terms of how much area they can scan and provide readings for. This will vary on the type of water you’re fishing in and what you plan to catch.

GPS Capabilities

A GPS fish finder is capable of allowing you to mark several fishing spots as “hot spots” and then return to those areas in the future. This is especially useful if you’re fishing on a large body of water such as an ocean or lake, where it can be difficult to remember all the best fishing spots.

Also, a built-in GPS will help you stay on track and not get lost when kayak fishing – which is great for any fisher who enjoys spending a lot of time on the water. In addition, having GPS capabilities will allow your fish finder to mark where you’ve casted out your line or dropped an anchor, as well as help you save several different locations that can be referred to in the future.

Display Size and Resolution

The next thing to consider when buying a fish finder is the display screen. In general, larger and higher resolution screens are ideal for use in kayaks and canoes because they are easier to read than smaller screens. On the other hand, smaller screens may be easier to carry or store.

It’s also important to remember that fish finders will use different types of LCD screens that vary in size and resolution. For example, many fish finders feature a 5-inch screen with 640 x 640 pixel resolution – which is good for kayaks and canoes because it provides plenty of space, great resolution and is large enough to be easily visible from a distance.

We would recommend against the very small screen sizes (240 x 160 pixels and smaller) as these fish finders can be hard to read and cannot offer you all the information you need on a single screen page.

Weatherproofing

Most portable fish finders can withstand exposure to rain and other wet weather conditions due to their water-resistant construction. However, it’s also important to check the IPX rating of the models you’re considering buying – with anything above 6 being capable of resisting water and moisture damage.

It’s important to note that most fish finders are weatherproof, but this doesn’t mean they are waterproof! They will withstand rain and splashes, but they are not designed for underwater use.

The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

Size & Weight

Last but not least, you should consider the size and weight of your fish finder before making a purchase. Since many portable models are smaller in size than their full-size counterparts, they often weigh less as well. This means you’ll be able to install your fish finder on your kayak or canoe with ease – without having to worry about unbalancing or damaging your vessel.

Typically, portable fish finders will measure anywhere between 6 and 10 inches in length – depending on the screen size. On the other hand, most models are designed to be small enough to hold in one hand or carry with you while kayak fishing.

Transducer

A fish finder’s transducer is a sonar that lets you locate and display the precise location of any fish in the water nearby. The transducer works by sending out an electronic pulse and recording the time it takes for it to bounce back off of objects or fish in the water underneath you.

Sonar Type

When it comes to sonar technology, you will often find two types of sonar; 3D sonar, which is the most modern technology, and conventional sonar.

3D sonar will offer a more detailed and clearer view of the fish below you kayak, but it uses a shorter beam which makes for a smaller coverage of the water area.

A conventional sonar, on the other hand, can scan larger areas of water at a time, but offers a more grainy ‘older style’ image of the area.

Frequency Type

Lastly, there’s the more technical aspect of frequency type and frequencies your fish finder uses.

The most common frequencies are 50, 83, 192 and 200 kHz.

The ideal frequency for you will depend on the type of fishing you are planning to do and the type of waters you will be in.

If you’re fishing mostly in shallow waters, a higher frequency fish finder will be better for you. High frequencies can transport more detailed information, but they are less useful for deeper waters.

Hence, when fishing in deeper areas, lower frequencies are the better option for you. These frequencies can more easily penetrate deeper water bodies to carry a clear image of the water and fish back to your fish finder.

Lastly, there are also dual-frequency fish finders, which offer the best of both worlds. These types of fish finders are often a little more expensive than their single-frequency counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kayak Fish Finders

Finally, let’s look at some frequently asked questions about kayak fish finders.

What is a Fish Finder?

A fish finder is an electronic tool used to detect the presence and location of fish underwater. This portable device for kayaks can be attached to your vessel(s) or handheld, depending on what you’re fishing for and where you plan to go.

Can a Fish Finder Be Used on a Kayak?

Yes, and in fact, many of the most popular fish finders are small enough to be mounted on a kayak. Just like any other fish finder, kayak fish finders are designed to attach to your boat. Some come with mounts that can be attached directly to your kayak or canoe, while others must be secured to an external device or need some DIYing to mount them on your specific type of kayak or canoe.

The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

How Accurate of a Fish Finder Should I Get for Kayaking?

All fish finders are accurate in that they will show you where there is something directly under your kayak, but if you want to know exact measurements like how deep a spot in the water is, your best choice would be a higher-quality fish finder. These are usually the most expensive but will give you more accurate readings.

What’s the Difference Between Side Imaging and Down Imaging?

These terms refer to how sonar signals are transmitted from the fish finder to the device you are viewing on your kayak or canoe. Side imaging emits signals off to the side of your kayak, as if you were holding a panoramic camera. Down imaging emits them straight down, with a device hanging below your kayak or canoe.

How do Fish Finders Work?

There are a few different types of fish finders available including down-imaging, side-imaging and dual-frequency. Each type works by using a transmitter to send signals into the water, which then bounce off of any fish or object in their path. The fish finder detects these signals and provides you with a reading on the water’s depth and any fish that might be swimming below you.

What is a Fish Finder Transducer?

A fish finder transducer is what transmits the sonar signals into the water. It can either be built-in or wired, depending on your specific model. Some units also include more than one transducer.

How do I Mount my Fish Finder?

There are several different ways you can mount your portable fish finder depending on what type you own and where you plan to go. Some models come with a flasher that can be attached to the side of your kayak, while others include a removable transducer that can be attached to your fishing rod. Other models offer mounting systems that are designed specifically for kayaks, which may help reduce the risk of theft or damage while you’re out on the water.

How Much Does a Fish Finder for a Kayak Cost?

This varies depending on what type of fish finder model you’re looking for, as well as what features it includes. Prices for portable fish finders range from $50 all the way up to $500+. You should be able to easily find an affordable model within your budget – no matter what your budget is.

The 9 Best Portable Fish Finders for Kayaks and Canoes in 2022

Conclusion

A portable fish finder is a great way to see what’s under the surface of the water. Portable fish finders can be mounted onto your kayak or canoe, but you’ll want to make sure that whatever model you get has features like waterproofing, sufficient depth readings and side-imaging capabilities.

When looking for a portable fish finder, consider how much money you’re willing to spend on quality as well as how often you plan on using it because prices vary widely depending on these factors.

You should also think about whether or not size matters – some people prefer smaller models that fit inside their pockets while others need larger ones with more powerful sonar signals that they can use when fishing from shoreline areas.

With any fish finder, be sure to get the mounting system you need so that it’s easy to attach it to your kayak or canoe. Depending on what type of fish finder you get, there are several different ways to mount it so make sure to read the product information before purchasing.

Finally to conclude this article, let’s again look at some of our top picks when it comes to the best kayak fish finders;

RICANK Portable Fish Finder - Heart for Outdoor RICANK$39.99Buy now on Amazon
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C 41JCk0c8BuL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor HawkEye$119.90 $136.25Buy now on Amazon
Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv 41wx9wqL iL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor Garmin$179.99Buy now on Amazon
Humminbird 410940-1 41wToUa+svL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor Humminbird$603.02Buy now on Amazon

Happy fishing!

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