The Best Portable Fish Finders For Kayaks

fish finders for kayaks

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

The process of paddling out into the water in a fishing kayak can be challenging in itself, so you should do everything in your power to ensure that you locate fish once you have made it out onto the water. You will likely achieve the success you seek with one of the top portable fish finders for kayaks on the market. When looking for fish, having technologies like down imaging and mapping available at your disposal is helpful. It is not dishonest to use the equipment available to you, even though more seasoned fishermen may argue that using a fish finder constitutes unethical behavior.

A fish finder is an excellent choice for those who are seeking a wonderful present to give to someone in your life who fishes from a kayak. You will need to locate one compatible with their steady fishing kayak and can be installed without exerting excessive work. Still, thankfully, we have many possibilities available for you to choose from right now. Remember that these fish finders' pricing, style, and longevity might differ relatively a little. If you (or the person you are buying for) are just getting started with kayaking, there is no shame in purchasing a model that is on the more affordable side.

However, if you are an experienced fisherman, you won't benefit from purchasing one of the lesser versions for your kayak fishing arsenal. Therefore, it can be beneficial for you to shell out a little bit of extra money for a device that will come in handy while you're on the road.

Fish Finder Accessories For Kayaks That Are Most Portable

  • Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv
  • Raymarine Element 7 HV
  • Elite FS 9 from Lowrance
  • Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv
  • Hook Reveal 7 from Lowrance.
  • Helix 5 from Humminbird
  • Hook Reveal 5 from Lowrance
  • Garmin Striker 4
  • Venterior Rechargeable Fish Finder
  • HawkEye FishTrax 1C
  • Deeper Chirp 2
  • Hook 2 for the Lowrance
  • Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 DI
  • A portable fish finder manufactured by LUCKY
  • Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro (Professional)

Kayak Fish Finder Buying Guide

Before you check through the fish finders listed below, it is in your best interest to give some thought to just what you want to discover in this kayak fishing gear. Because every fisher is a little bit unique, it is up to you to decide which of these considerations will carry the most significant weight for you in the decision-making process.

How Do You Plan To Mount It?

Visualizing what your fish finder will look like when attached to your kayak is the most logical place to start after you've decided to do so. Locate a fish finder that is compatible with the mounting system that is already on your kayak. While you can get creative with a mount you make yourself, the most straightforward course of action is to find a fish finder that is compatible with the mounting system already on your kayak.

Some lightweight fishing kayaks are equipped with gear tracks that allow appropriate mounting hardware to slip in and lock into position. Some of them will already have holes or hard points connected to the deck of the kayak so that mounting accessories may be attached to them.

Still, others may need a mount of some type, perhaps one with adhesive pads or suction cups, that can be attached directly to your plastic kayak. The last mounting method, which is also the most labor-intensive, involves drilling into the body of your kayak, fastening the fish finder, and then ensuring that it is resealed.

There are alternatives for each of them, and which one you choose will depend on your preferences. If you are good with installing your fish finder wherever the existing mounting points or gear tracks are positioned on your kayak, that will be the easiest way to go about things.

If, on the other hand, you are adamant about installing your fish finder in a location that does not presently have any mounting points or gear tracks available, you may be in for a bit more work than you bargained for to get your fish finder installed in the location that you want it to be.

How Deep Do You Plan To Fish?

If you expect to fish in waters of varying depths, you should consider whether you want a fish finder with side imaging or down imaging capabilities. Let's speak a little bit more about the two different forms of imaging and the benefits and drawbacks.

Deep water fishing is often best accomplished with equipment that has down imaging. Sonar waves are emitted and directed downward by the transducers included inside the imaging fish finders, and this allows for more accurate imaging of whatever is swimming at greater depths.

Fish finders that depend primarily on side imaging, on the other hand, are an excellent choice for anglers who will be fishing in waters that are shallower (aka blue-gill and bass fishing). The advantage of these devices is that they can broadcast sonar waves to the sides of your kayak to provide a more expansive field of vision.

How Long Do You Plan To Remain Here?

Another factor that will be important to take into account is how long you generally spend fishing or hunting for food. Because the battery life of any electronic fishing device is limited, you will need to be sure that the fish finder you choose can remain switched on for the whole of your fishing trips.

On our list, you will discover some products with their internal rechargeable batteries. Other products either depend on smaller batteries or need to be connected to a marine battery with a deep cycle and 12 volts. To make things as straightforward as possible, the more time you spend outside will directly correlate to the amount of battery life you need.

Units powered by bigger batteries will have a longer lifespan, but you will need to bring that battery with you on your kayak, which will take up more room and may also slow you down. Suppose you can locate a device with a battery that can be recharged. In that case, you may be able to conserve both space and weight by carrying along a water-resistant portable battery bank to use as a backup power source if the battery supply is depleted.

How Many Miles Do You Go On Your Adventures?

In continuation with the previous point, you should also consider the average distance covered throughout your kayak fishing excursions. Those who go on tours lasting several days or cover a lot of territory in a fishing kayak equipped with a trolling motor would be well served to consider purchasing a fish finder with GPS capabilities. This would be an excellent investment.

You can maneuver and inspect the water underneath your boat with this help. You won't need to find room on the deck of your kayak to place a fish finder and a separate kayak GPS device if you have this accessory since it combines both of those functions into a single unit, which will save you space.

Fish Finder For Portable Kayaks - User Reviews

1. Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv

"Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv with GT56UHD
4.7/5
100%
Easy to install
100%
Touch Screen
98%
Accuracy
90%
Easy to use
86%
Value for money

Because Garmin is one of the most trusted brands in GPS devices and fish finders in the modern era, this isn't the only Garmin model you'll find on our list of recommendations to consider purchasing. The ECHOMAP model, on the other hand, is designed specifically for fishing in lakes and has Sidevü scanning and vibrant sonar color palettes.

It has preloaded lake maps that include more than 18,000 lakes, each with one-foot contours for outstanding detail, and it comes standard with the product. In addition, it has a touchscreen display that is seven inches in size and offers crisp pictures and a collection that is so bright that you can see it even in direct sunlight.

In addition, the transducer included with this Garmin fish finder has a range of 20 percent larger than earlier versions. In conclusion, this model is held in place by a ball mount, and its overall measurements are 13 inches by 8 inches by 8 inches.

2. Raymarine Element 7 HV

The Raymarine Element 7 HV fish detector not only has a gorgeous display that measures seven inches, but it also has a dedicated keypad that makes operation much more straightforward. It is made for those who don't like that touchscreen displays may be challenging at times, especially when their hands are drenched with fish juices.

It has a three-dimensional sonar that can offer precise pictures of underwater ledges, shelves, and contour shifts. You won't need to squint your eyes to figure out what you see on the lake bottom, thanks to the high-resolution pictures provided by the CHIRP technology that operates at 1.2 megahertz in this device.

This fish detector works well when mounted on a fishing kayak and when installed on a fishing boat, and both applications are equally practical. It provides continuous rendering in 3D and has a quad-core CPU that can instantly redraw charts for improved accuracy.

3. Lowrance Elite FS 9 Transceiver

Lowrance's Elite FS 9 Fish Finder has a nine-inch, multi-touch display capable of displaying high-resolution images. These visuals even adapt to the presence of your lure thanks to ActiveTarget Live Sonar, which demonstrates how fish swim around buildings and react to your bait by showing how fish swim around structures.

The CHIRP technology, SideScan, and DownScan with FishReveal are all supported by this unit's three-in-one sonar, which also provides functional imaging capabilities. This indicates that it may be used for fishing in deep and shallow water with equal success.

In addition, the Lowrance Elite comes preloaded with contour maps for more than 8,900 lakes throughout the United States. Thanks to the contours drawn on every foot on these maps, you won't have to worry about getting lost in uncharted regions.

4. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv

Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv, Easy-to-Use 7-inch Color Fishfinder
4.7/5
100%
Portability
98%
Easy to read
92%
Easy to install
92%
Easy to use
88%
Accuracy
86%
Value for money

This fish detector from Garmin has a display that is seven inches in size and contains color imaging that will assist you in differentiating between fish and other objects that are found underwater. In addition to that, you will have the ability to make use of the built-in quick-draw contour mapping.

This fish finder is equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS, making it ideal for anglers looking for offshore fishing spots or wanting to cover a lot of territory over multiple-day fishing expeditions. You will be able to see the speed of your kayak, mark waypoints, and build new routes with the assistance of this GPS.

The Garmin Striker is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to connect your smartphone to the fish finder and additional access capabilities. You will have control over the display, be able to get alerts and be able to transfer waypoints when you use the associated app, which will allow you to organize future fishing excursions more effectively.

5. A Lowrance Hook Reveal For Number 7

Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Inch Fish Finders with Transducer
4.3/5
90%
Tech Support
84%
Easy to install
82%
Easy to read
76%
Accuracy
74%
Easy to use
68%
Value for money

The FishReveal function of the Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 fish detector, which makes it simpler to locate and recognize fish swimming underneath your kayak, is where the fish finder got its name. Fish will almost seem to be glowing on your monitor when you combine the target-separating capabilities of CHIRP Sonar technology with high-resolution down imaging. This will give the impression that the fish are swimming toward you.

Even if you haven't yet purchased a good rod and reel for offshore kayak fishing, you should still consider buying this device because of its Down Imaging features since it is an excellent option for offshore kayak fishing. In addition, it includes inland maps for more than 4,000 lakes in the United States.

In addition, an auto-tuning sonar and a Tripleshot Transducer are included in the construction of the Hook Reveal 7. The capabilities of wide-angle, high-resolution images, side and down imaging, automated sonar changes according to circumstances, and a host of other advantages are included among the benefits of these characteristics.

6. Humminbird Helix 5 (figuratively)

The Humminbird Helix 5 fish finder comes with its portable carrying case, so you won't have to worry about it being damaged when you move it from your car to your kayak. This eliminates the need for you to worry about losing it or leaving it behind. It is not practical to permanently attach your fish finder to your kayak because most kayaks are carried by cars.

You also don't want just to place it in the storage hatch of your kayak if it doesn't have sufficient protection. When removed from its carrying case, the Helix 5 packs a powerful punch with its CHIRP digital sonar, making it possible to see individual fish in great detail. Its dual-beam technology offers more great information and a wider coverage area.

The Helix 5 comes with a range of built-in base maps, which give you a more excellent grasp of the curves and geography of the underwater environment. In addition, the SwitchFire technology allows you to modify how you examine your sonar data.

7. Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 (Lowrance Hook 5)

Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Inch Fish Finders
4.4/5
86%
Tech Support
84%
Accuracy
84%
Easy to install
76%
Easy to use
70%
Value for money

The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 fish detector is equipped with the company's FishReveal technology and down imaging, both of which improve the device's ability to deliver clarity while fishing in deep water. More than 4,000 interior lakes will have their contour maps available to anglers thanks to this new initiative.

Additionally, the built-in maps enable users to make their contour maps and allow bespoke GPS plotting using Genesis Live. Because of the increased level of information in these maps, you will no longer waste time wondering if the objects you see are fish or some other kind of underwater impediment.

In addition, the Hook Reveal 5 comes with a display that is five inches in size and offers excellent readability in any illumination. You will also be able to take advantage of auto-tuning sonar and the wide-angle visibility that comes with this unit's split-shot transducer, just as you were able to do with the Hook Reveal 7.

8. Garmin Striker 4

Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
4.7/5
96%
Light weight
92%
Easy to install
92%
Portability
90%
Accuracy
90%
Easy to use
84%
Tech Support

The ClearVü scanning sonar that comes standard on the Garmin Striker 4 provides a more distinct picture of what's going on in the water around your boat. This sonar has a higher frequency, which allows it to produce more detailed images of fish and other obstacles that are underwater.

This fish finder's keypad interface allows for a more user-friendly and straightforward experience compared to more pricey touchscreen alternatives. It has a waterproof grade of IPX7 and comes in varieties with screens of three and a half inches, five inches, and seven inches, respectively.

The highest depth at which the Striker 4 may be used in freshwater is 1,600 feet, while the maximum depth at which it can be used in saltwater is 750 feet. It also has a built-in flasher, making it perfect for jigging or fishing in cold water from a kayak (and even ice fishing!).

9. Venterior Rechargeable Fish Finder

One of the fish finders on our list that is both portable and rechargeable, the Venterior, is one of the more reasonably priced options. It has a more detailed LCD and can provide good pictures to a maximum depth of 131 feet.

A wealth of information is made available to kayak anglers, such as the water's depth and temperature, the size and depth of the fish, and the contours of the bottom where you are fishing. In addition, it already has a wireless sensor that you can connect directly to your fishing line, so you won't have to worry about mounting a transducer on your kayak.

With this type, you won't need to drill holes in your kayak or use any other mounting method to attach a transducer. It may be used for trolling and stationary kayak fishing, and it gives information that is helpful in lakes, rivers, ponds, and even coastal areas.

10. HawkEye FishTrax 1C

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display, Black/Red, 2" H x 1.6" W Screen Size
4.1/5
100%
Value for money
92%
Portability
86%
Battery life
84%
Accuracy
82%
Easy to use
82%
Giftable

The Hawkeye fish finder is another handheld portable variant that can deliver reliable readings at a depth of up to 240 feet. It is a little device, and the compact color LCD panel has excellent readability and glare-free viewing experience, regardless of the ambient illumination.

This fish finder's built-in sonar sensor may be used in several ways, giving you more flexibility. If you are looking for a way to conserve space on your kayak, you may either tow it along behind you while paddling, place it on the deck, or float it in the water in front of you.

Indications are also included in the FishTrax 1C fish detector, and these indicators provide information on the depth at which fish may be found below you. Trolling kayaks can benefit from having HD images of the bottom landscape, and having an audible fish alarm ensures that you won't miss any opportunities to catch fish even if you become distracted while paddling or otherwise maneuvering your kayak.

11. Deeper Chirp 2

The Deeper Chirp 2 is a fish detector that stands out from the crowd compared to the other options on our list. You won't need to bother putting anything on your kayak's deck since it does not come with its display. And instead, it will cast its data straight to your smartphone.

The transducer can be thrown as far as 394 feet from your kayak, allowing you to enjoy a broad field of vision over regions you have been fishing in the past or will be fishing shortly. It is also capable of precise scanning at depths of up to 330 feet, allowing it to be used for fishing inland and along the shore.

The battery in the Deeper fish finder can be charged quickly and has an average life of 15 hours of use before needing to be recharged. If you use the device in a mode that saves power, you may be able to prolong the amount of time that the battery will last to 20 hours. When the device is put into a wall outlet, the internal battery will recharge in only two hours.

12. Lowrance Hook 2 

Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder
4.3/5
84%
Easy to install
76%
Easy to read
70%
Value for money
68%
Easy to use
66%
Accuracy

Because this particular fish finder comes with an all-weather pack, you don't have to worry about the elements when you pack it away after your fishing adventures. The Lowrance Hook 2 is another attractive choice for kayakers. If you choose this model, you won't be disappointed.

However, when you are using it, it provides a high-quality and crisp picture display thanks to the built-in CHIRP sonar coverage. Additionally, it is designed with choices for side imaging and down imaging, which enables it to cater to fishing settings in the deep sea and shallow water.

The Hook 2 is a device that runs on batteries and comes with a choice of five different screen sizes (all measured in inches): 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12. In addition to that, it has an auto-tuning sonar as well as a broadband sounder.

13. Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 DI

Humminbird 410160-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 DI (Down Imaging) Fish Finder, Black
4.6/5
96%
Easy to install
88%
Easy to use
86%
Value for money
86%
Accuracy
70%
Tech Support

This fish finder from Humminbird comes with a color, thin-film transistor (TFT) display with a 4.3-inch screen and is available at a low price. Regardless of where you decide to install it on your kayak, the tilt and swivel mount it comes with makes it very simple to modify the device's viewing angle.

Along with built-in dual-beam sonar, it has down imaging for fishing in deep water and is equipped with this feature. You can adjust the beam width of this sonar system to provide coverage that is either narrow and in-depth or shallow and spread out over a larger region.

In addition to making it simple to discriminate between fish and other underwater objects, the PIRANHAMAX fish detector reveals the distinct contours of the ground below you clearly and concisely.

14. Portable Fish Finder Made By LUCKY

LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Handheld Kayak Fish Finders
4.2/5
88%
Easy to read
86%
Battery life
86%
Easy to use
80%
Accuracy
78%
Value for money

This is another fish detector that can be carried about in the palm of your hand and does not need to be mounted directly to the deck of your kayak. It has a color display that is 2.4 inches in size and delivers precise data on the water's depth and temperature, the size and depth of fish, and the ocean floor's topography.

The Lucky fish finder can operate at depths of up to 328 feet and comes with good wiring to allow you to position the transducer up to 26 feet away from your kayak. In addition, it has a beam angle of 45 degrees and transmits at a frequency of 200 kHz in all directions.

15. Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Professional

You will be able to navigate uncharted waters with the assistance of the built-in GPs on the combination unit that is the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro fish finder. The CHIRP sonar provides apparent imaging even when used in adverse conditions, and the seven-inch display is exceptionally bright.

In addition to the more traditional sonar, this fish detector from Raymarine has the company's unique DownVision technology. This translates to improved accuracy and more precise imaging when fishing in deep water or offshore and when adventuring in shallow water or inland.

The push-button interface eliminates some of the complications associated with touchscreen displays, and the device comes with various mounting options, allowing you to personalize how it is installed.

A Few Parting Thoughts

A portable fish finder is an excellent accessory to add to the gear of any kayak fisherman, regardless of whether you want to purchase it for yourself, a friend, or a family member. They will prevent you from casting in vain and assist you in identifying underwater objects to avoid snags and other difficulties associated with the sport of fishing. 

We hope that you have found this collection of portable fish finders for kayaks helpful and that at least one or two of them have captured your attention. As usual, we hope that all of our readers have exciting and risk-free experiences, and in this particular instance, we wish everyone the best of luck the next time you try to set your hook and cry "fish on!"