Best Fish Finders for Catfish

Our Pick

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Humminbird Ice Helix G2

The Best Fish Finders for Catfish


Among all the fish finders below, this is the best one overall. The Humminbird ICE Series is made exclusively for ice fishing. The level of detail gone into the making of this product is unprecedented.  

Catfish fishing is a growing trend in the United States. From amateur anglers to professional fishermen, people with various proficiency levels are interested in catching this ray-finned fish. But getting hold of catfish is not as easy as it may appear.

If you are one of those anglers who have been out fishing without any training or experience, you would know how disappointing it is to return home empty-handed. Without the proper gear, you will find it difficult to get a single bite from catfish. 

This is where a fish finder comes into the picture. Depending on your budget, needs, and level of expertise, you can go for a fish finder equipped with 2D sonar to the latest CHIRP Sonar.  

This post is intended to help you find the best fish finder for catfish. In the latter part of this post, I have also answered a few frequently asked questions that may turn out to be helpful to you.

Best Fish Finder for Catfish of 2020

1. Humminbird ICE Helix G2

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Fishing in the Northern part of America is a lot different than doing the same elsewhere. If you are an angler based in the north-western part of the nation, you would know what I am talking about. The temperature can go from 60 to 30 Fahrenheit within days. Anglers have very little time to regroup and come with a new strategy to catch their favorite freshwater fish. 

Humminbird, a US-based fishing equipment manufacturer, realized this need and came up with an ingenious solution. The Humminbird ICE Helix G2 is the best fish finder for catfish. The entire ICE series is designed to help freshwater fishermen find the best spot for fishing. This next-generation device comes with features that you won't find anywhere else.

With such advanced weaponry in your hand, you can leave other fishermen behind and go for the gold. This fish finder is equipped with a powerful bottom-tracking called CHIRP Sonar. This device releases electromagnetic waves into the water at varying frequencies. It can help you locate the deepest lying game fish without making a sound. 

Depending on the type of water you are in and the quality of images you wish to see, you can change the frequency from low to high. Low CHIRP is suitable for deep waters. At high CHIRP, you can expect to see HD quality images at shallow depths. Further, this fish finder also lets you choose from a variety of views. You can also find out the lure and fish history.  

Find out precisely what is making the catfish bite the bait and what's turning it off. On top of that, you can also see the fish and lure clearly in both flasher and 2D sonar views. 

Humminbird ICE Helix G2 is Suitable For:

Humminbird ICE Helix G2 works best for ice fishermen who find it challenging to pick up catfish on their regular fish finder device. This product is designed to be used in extremely low temperatures. Also, the manufacturer has made sure that the sonar signals won't clutter your screen. Even in adverse weather conditions, you can expect to receive clear images in flasher or 2D modes.

Pros

  • View even the deepest lying catfish clearly and concisely
  • Comes with an advanced bottom-tracking CHIRP sonar
  • The display is large enough for viewing catfish activity in both deep and shallow waters
  • Easy to use for beginners

Cons

  • The user interface needs some improvement
  • Ice fishermen would benefit with more in-depth chart data
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This product is from an Oklahoma-based company named Lowrance. They are world-leading manufacturers of GPS navigation systems and digital mapping systems. HOOK2 5 is its flagship product in the fish finder category. It is designed for beginner fishermen who do not want to go through the hassle of learning how to use a fish finder.

Catfish finding is a complex and intricate activity. It is not easy to locate catfish with a traditional flasher. You need something more sophisticated. This is where things might go south. With advanced features, fishermen need a fish finder that does not have a complex user-interface. This is where HOOK2 5 from Lowrance comes into the picture. 

This product comes with phone-like menus. When you are out there with your fishing equipment, you want your focus to be entirely on finding your favorite catfish. The auto-tuning sonar gets to work immediately upon switching on the device. It does not need a lot of optimizing or adjusting. Just like Humminbird ICE Helix G2, this fish finder comes with a CHIRP Sonar. 

Furthermore, the setup is straightforward and won't eat away your precious leisure time. You need to mount the single transducer on the transom of the boat. A transom is a flat part at the rear end of a square-ended boat. The transducer sends electromagnetic waves (at multiple frequencies) into the water. The reflected waves help the fish finder form an image of what's underneath the boat.

Lowrance HOOK2 5 is Suitable For:

This product suits best for fishing enthusiasts who wish to catch catfish in their free time. The single transducer is designed for a small tug boat or a pontoon. For down imaging to work, the fishing vessel must have a flat rear end where the single transducer can be attached. The same settings work for side imaging. 

Once this fish finder arrives at your doorstep, you will realize that you really don't need to spend a lot of money to get the superior features.

Pros

  • Down imaging and side imaging is possible without disturbing the default setup
  • Works in both deep water and shallow water
  • Equipped with a CHIRP Sonar
  • The sonar works on its own. You don't need to optimize or adjust the settings

Cons

  • The transducer bracket is made from plastic
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Are you planning to catch catfish in shallow water? Shallow water is seldom clean. Most often, you will be traversing through dirty and murky water. You need such fish finders that are capable of locating catfish amid all the noise and clutter that come along with fishing in muddy water. Humminbird 410230-1 fits the bill. It is another fish finder from the Humminbird G2 series. 

The Humminbird Imaging Technology makes it possible for a single transducer to perform both down imaging and side imaging. The catfish have nowhere to hide. The moment you see a catfish or maybe a school of catfish, you can spring into action by dropping in the line with sufficient lure to attract them. This fish finder is also equipped with CHIRP Sonar.

The multiple frequency scanning CHIRP Sonar brings back views that reveal structure, cover, and contours with crystal clarity. Furthermore, just like the fish finder from Lowrance HOOK2 5, this device too works right out of the box. It is equipped with a built-in base map created with the freshwater data from LakeMaster and NOAA. 

Next time you are out fishing, simply turn on this device and wait for the catfish to reveal the exact location—no need to waste your energy in needless tasks.

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is Suitable For:

Humminbird HELIX 5 G2 works best for fishermen who wish to catch catfish in muddy shallow waters. Although, this fish finder is equipped with all the advanced features needed to catch catfish in freshwater lakes, coastal waters, or the ice. 

Depending on factors like the type of fish you are catching, water temperature, and the depth of the water, you can change the view with the SwichFire feature. It lets you choose between Max Mode and Clear Mode. The combination of 2D Sonar and the CHIRP Sonar makes this product the best fish finder for catfish. 

Pros

  • Recommended for fishing in muddy waters
  • The combination of 2D Sonar and CHIRP Sonar makes this device versatile
  • The high-frequency beams perform both down imaging and side imaging

Cons

  • The plastic mount vibrates when the boat is moving at high speed
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If you have ever done shore fishing as a kid and wondered how the bottom of the sea/river/lake looked like, this ingenious product from Deeper PRO+ will blow your mind completely. It is basically a circular ball-shaped 2D Sonar that can be wirelessly cast in the water. It will help you easily determine the depth, bottom contour, and water temperature.

You see, shore fishing used to be all about waiting on the sides unless you notice activity. However, with this tool in your arsenal, you don't have to let nature decide your fate and wait for hours to even find fish. Attach the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonal to the fishing line, sync it with a handheld device such as a smartphone or a tablet, and create bathymetric maps while sitting comfortably on the shore. 

You will also be glad to know that the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar connects with a handheld device via GPS. No need to worry about cellular signal strength. The creators of this fish finder know that cellular signal is more likely to be weak in secluded fishing spots. For uninterrupted access to the sonar, it is advised to turn off the mobile data. 

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is Suitable For:

The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar suits best for shore fishermen. However, once you find the catfish's exact location, you can move closer via a small boat. Keep in mind that this device is an extension of the fishing line. It can only reach so far as the fishing line goes. Hence, do not expect to catch catfish hiding in deeper water. 

Pros

  • The sonar connects seamlessly to Deeper Pro's well-designed app
  • It is a lightweight and handy fish finder, and it can fit in your backpack
  • Get free access to Lakebook
  • Will improve your shore fishing game almost instantly

Cons

  • It does not help you locate catfish lying in deeper water
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Most fishermen, when they come across a small-sized portable fish finding device, simply move on to think it is useless or inefficient. I don't blame them. Most portable fish finders are not worth your time. However, you must check out this portable fish finder from RICANK. It can detect water depth, the location of the fish, type of fish, type of bottom, and fish size.

It comes with a phone-like handheld device, a cable with sonar attached to it, AAA batteries, and an instruction manual. It is so small that it can easily fit in your back or side pocket. So how does this portable fish finder work? This device can be used for offshore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing, and river fishing.

The easiest way to find catfish with the RICANK Portable Fish Finder is by tossing the sonar into the water while standing at the shore or in a small boat. Within a couple of seconds, the sonar will begin sending signals back to the handheld device. On the screen, you can view all the necessary information for catching the catfish.

RICANK Portable Fish Finder is Suitable For:

Shore fishermen looking for the best fish finder for catfish can stop their search. The RICANK Portable Fish Finder is more accurate in determining the depth of the water or ice than similar products from the industry-leader Garmin. Furthermore, for pontoon fishing, the manufacturer has also provided a durable and sturdy mount. 

Pros

  • This portable device works perfectly in low light conditions
  • Easy to use
  • It is lightweight, and it can easily fit in the back or side pocket
  • The beeper goes off the moment the sonar detects any activity underneath the water

Cons

  • This device doesn't show fish taking the bait
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Ordinarily, the job or the purpose of a fish finder is to assist you on your fishing expedition. It reveals all the hidden details that would help you come up with the best strategy for finding the fish. Having said that, when you are out there in the sea, you would also benefit vastly if the same fish finder helped you get back to the base safely. 

GPS navigation systems from Garmin are quite popular among long-distance runners and cyclists. The reason being, they are highly accurate, user friendly, and affordable for everyone. Garmin Striker 4 is a fish finder equipped with CHIRP Sonar and the GPS navigation system. It also comes with a protective cover for the handheld device.

The CHIRP Sonar shoots high/medium/low-frequency electromagnetic waves into the water to locate even the deepest lying fish. Garmin Striker 4 is the best fish finder in the portable category. The package includes a phone-like handheld device, a CHIRP Sonar, connecting cable, a mounter, and AAA batteries.

Garmin Striker 4 is Suitable For:

Garmin Striker 4 is a portable fish finder for small pontoon and tug boats. It is ideal for fishing but can also be used for navigational purposes. Simply mount the CHIRP Sonar on the flat rear end of the boar permanently. Before heading out in the sea, you can mark the hot spots, so you know where to stop. You will never get lost trying to get back to the base.

Pros

  • Equipped with an excellent GPS navigation system
  • Lightweight and easily mountable
  • Comes with an original Garmin protective cover

Cons

  • The screen is not bright enough to be clearly visible in the sun
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The wireless bluetooth-enabled smart fish finder from ReelSonar is fully portable. Just like Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar, this device connects with the smartphone via bluetooth. iBobber Wireless Fish Finder is a versatile device that works for all types of fishing anglers and styles. It comes with a mobile app that shows you the exact location of the catfish. 

The mobile fishing sonar is so small that it can fit within a palm. With the mobile app, a fisherman can mark hot spots, map the underwater structure, measure and save the temperature of the water, and save screenshots of the reports. You can also share your fishing exploits on social media platforms and catfish fishing forums.

Furthermore, the iBobber portable fish finder and app makes an excellent gift for a family member or a friend who is interested in catfish fishing. You can help them save a lot of money by gifting this fish finder. Also, this fish finder is equipped with the latest in sonar and mobile phone technology. It is highly unlikely that your loved one would already have in their arsenal.

ReelSonar iBobber Wireless Fish Finder is Suitable For:

As I mentioned earlier, this portable fish finder suits best for all types of fishing styles. You can take this small device with you the next time you are about head out to shore fishing, dock and pier fishing, kayak fishing, or ice fishing. 

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • The Android/iOS mobile app is excellent
  • Suits all types of fishing styles
  • It is affordable and makes an excellent gift for your loved ones

Cons

  • The app becomes unresponsive when you receive a phone call

Conclusion

In the above post, you learned how a fish finder can up your catfish fishing game and also learned about the best fish finder for catfish. A modern fish finder can transform a grainy image into crystal clear picture-like. There are several other reasons you should choose a modern fish finder over the traditional flasher or sounder. 

From the products mentioned in this post, I would pick Humminbird 410970-1 Ice Helix 5 for ice fishing. The Humminbird ICE Series is made exclusively for ice fishing. The level of detail gone into the making of this product is unprecedented.  

Furthermore, Lowrance HOOK2 5 makes an excellent all-round fish finder. It is equipped with all the latest technological solutions. Also, it comes preloaded with US inland mapping that features 4,000 lakes with 1-foot contours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Easiest Fish Finder to Use?

Lowrance HOOK2 5 is the easiest fish finder to use. The auto-tuning sonar gets to work the moment you turn on the device. You don't have to fiddle with the settings or adjustments. As the manufacturer states on the product package, "just turn it on and fish."

Moreover, the device also comes with a high-detail U.S. map. The map contains in-depth information about more than 3000 lakes. When you are out there in the water, all by yourself, this map acts as a trusty guide to help you navigate through the waters.

What are Catfish Attracted to?

Just placing a lure in the presence of a catfish will not entice it to bite it. Catfish indeed have a powerful sense of smell. There are certain smells that they cannot resist. You can up your catfish fishing game just by knowing what smells they are attracted to.

A catfish is strongly attracted to anything meaty or cheesy. Canned dog food makes the best bait for catfish as it is loaded with the smell of cheese, bacon, meat, and spice. If you are not able to get them to bite on canned dog food, try rubbing some raw garlic on it.

How Deep Should You Fish for Catfish?

The fastest way to catch catfish is by suspending the lure or a jig as close to them as possible. A fish finder device helps you determine the exact depth of the fish. Generally, the freshwater catfish do not go deeper than 20-25 feet. 

Still, it would not be fair to make a judgment without viewing the fish finder screen. Also, catfish are known to change their position depending on the temperature of the water, availability of food, and time of the day.

What is the Best Time of Day to Fish for Catfish?

Ideally, if you know the water body well, you can catch catfish at any time of the day. However, the ideal time to catch catfish is from midnight to early in the morning. The next best slot is from 4 am to 10 am. Catfish are sensitive to heat and radiation coming from the sun, and they stay hidden during the daytime. They are totally oblivious at night or early in the morning.

We've also listed best fish finder under $400. We hope this list will help you to find out the best one.

Last Updated on October 9th, 2020

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