Best Kayak Fish Finder for Easy Fishing

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Fishing is a great way to destress from your daily work routine and enjoy the outdoors. But there is nothing worse than spending hours trolling in the lake, and to return from fishing without even a tale to tell. Getting a reliable fish finder helps you to identify the best fishing spot, making your time fishing worthwhile.

Most fish finders can tell you the water depth, so you know what kind of bait and the weight of the lures to use. It will show you what your eyes cannot see, whether the fishes are at home or away. This technology can allow you to explore new ground. It helps you to easily locate your previous fishing spots with a fish finder. 

If you just want to skip and get the best Fish Finders for Kayaks, we recommend Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 as our top choice. 


Table of Contents


Portable or fixed

Buying a portable or fixed fish finder depends on the type of fishing you plan on doing. Portable ones usually work well for those who casually fish with rented boats or those usually inflatable kayaks. It is also usually built to be more compact. This works well if you tend to travel a lot for fishing in different destinations.

Fixed fish finders provide more security. It is permanently attached to your boat so that it does not get lost. Usually fixed fish finders are the favorite choice for boat owners. It is usually built with a higher resolution and wider screen for ease of use.


Depending on your fishing needs, a lower wattage fish finder is sufficient for shallow waters. In deep waters, then a higher powered fish finder would be able to manage deeper readings. With a higher wattage, sonar waves are converted much faster. You get your readings much quicker and more accurately.

Most mid-range finders available on the market are dual-frequency. At 50 kHz, for every 100 watts of power, your transducer can show readings up to 400 feet. Among all the kayak depth finders, this one will show the depth readings up to 100 feet for every 100 watts of power at 200 kHz. 

Water resistance

water resistant

Even though fish finders are used close to water, not all of them are built water resistant. To check its water resistance, look at its IPX (International Protection Rating). It gives you a clearer picture of how water resistant the item is.

IPX-0 = No protection

IPX-1 = Protected against condensation or dripping water falling vertically

IPX-2 = Protected against spraying water when tilted up to 15 degrees vertically

IPX-3 = Protected against spraying water when tilted up to 60 degrees vertically

IPX-4 = Protected against splashing water from any angle

IPX-5 = Protected against low pressure water stream from any angle

IPX-6 = Protected against high pressure water stream from any angle

IPX-7 = Protected against water immersion. Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth up to 1 meter.

IPX-8 = Protected against water submersion in under water conditions.

So having a device with IPX rating of 7 and above means the device does not easily damage if you accidentally drop it into water. Nevertheless, you are concerned, you can get yourself a waterproof backpack to store your device.


Having a fish finder with GPS functionality helps to navigate to multiple fishing spots. You can map out your waypoint and organize your fishing itenary for the entire day. This saves time from fishing in circles. However, if you just intend to fish at the bank, then having a GPS functionality may not be useful.


Depending on your budget, having color displays offers you the ability to better see what is going on in the water. If you are tight on a budget, then start with a black and white display. Once you get the hang of it, you can upgrade to a color display.

Whether it is sunlight, or cloudy days, better readability is affected by the number of pixels on the screen. The higher the pixels, the more detailed your image is. It is recommended to have at least 240 x 160 pixels for sharper and crisps images.Screen sizes is also another factor that affects the clarity of your display. The bigger the screen, the more information can be displayed on your screen e.g. data, number and echos.


Beams and cone angles

Transducers are a part of every fish finder. It sends out and receives sonar waves. The signals bounce off from the objects below and get picked up by the transducer. These signals are then translated to images that you can understand.

The cone angle reflects the width of the beam that is sent from your boat to the water. Cone angles range from 6 to 60 degrees cone. Having 16 to 20 degrees is sufficient for a beginner. Some transducers have multiple beams, which enables you to cover more areas, like large lakes.


The higher the frequency, the more incredible the details you can see on your screen. This is because higher frequency sends more sonar waves out of your transducer.

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Garmin Striker 4 is water resistant with a water rating of IPX7, so it will survive even though you accidentally drench your in water. It comes with a waypoint map, to help indicate a reference point so that you know where you are and where you are going.

It reads the water depth when moving, with a maximum depth 1600 feet in freshwater. This depth capability is more than enough, as the deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal at 1632 feet. 

It has Chirp Sonar technology, which enables it to send continuous frequencies. You will be amazed with the amount of detail you see. You see a crisper image of fish ‘humps’, which makes it easier to distinguish one fish from another.

Its built-in GPS comes in handy for marking hot spots and the dock you used to enter in the water so you do not get lost trying to get back. It also tells you your speed that you are going, which is very valuable for trip planning. Its sonar history rewind allows you to reverse back through sonar images to mark waypoints that you may have missed.




  • Affordable
  • Multiple features
  • High accuracy
  • Built in GPS
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Additional battery needed

The sonar has a depth range from 3ft to 328ft. This helps to keep your boat out of trouble in shallow waters especially if you have a fiberglass hull which is not meant to take any pounding.

It is so nice to be able to see what is under the boat and to tell how deep the water is. With a 45° cone angle with 200Khz, this unit is able to contour the bottom to find sandbars, rocky spots, and deep structures that fishes shelter. 

This unit works great for beginners. It has multi functions enabling it to be used for shore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing or sea fishing. A portable sonar transducer is useful when shore fishing. Just cast the transducer as far as you can and verify if there are fishes there worth waiting for.

It has 5 sensitivity options, battery save mode, backlight mode, fish and fish school alarm. Its backlight mode makes reading more visible during night fishing or when there are poor lighting conditions. Its battery saver mode can be activated, when you are not using it to conserve the power of your device. Its fish school alarm is super cool as it gives you alerts when fish and fish schools are passing by. 


  • Accurate depth reading
  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • 5 sensitivity options


  • Not waterproof
  • Battery power can be improved

ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth is super lightweight, and easily fits into your pocket. It makes use of the phone app which is Apple compatible and Android compatible. The application is able to show if there are fish nearby, making this info accessible at the tips of your hands.

It makes a great Christmas gift, as the perfect add on to your fishing gear as most of us have a smart phone in hand. The fish finder phone app is easy to install and the unit pairs easily with the iBobber device. The application is easy to navigate allowing ease of use. It is affordable especially for a kayaker on a budget.

It makes a great camping gear for shore fishing, when fishing with a boat is not an option. You can cast out the transducer using your fishing pole. One of the interesting features of this fish finder is its Trip log functionality. It allows you to map waterbeds, mark spots, log water temps and depth, add lures, species, and photos in the trip log. So you can come back to the same fishing spot to fish and tweak your baits for better results.

It is relatively accurate at providing depth detail. It is able to map the water bed for holes in streams and rivers that are 3 feet deep or more. Its built in green flashing light works great for night fishing. Its strobe light is a great tool to locate your bobber.




  • Portable (view from your own phone)
  • Lightweight
  • Fish and bait alarm
  • App is easy to setup
  • Accurate depth readings
  • Short battery life

Whether you are fishing in the freshwater lakes, coastal waters or the ice, Humminbird’s 2D sonar gives you the edge you needed when on the water looking for the big ones. Its CHIRP functionality is able to clearly target individual fish in a school.

Its imaging sonar shows stunningly clear structures and bottom contour readout using its high frequency beams. You can visualize the sandbars and rocky spots at the bottom of the water. Its Side Imaging features are designed to make your time on the water productive. It scans the left and right of your boat location. Fishes have completely no chance to hide.

This fish finder for kayak can be especially dangerous when fishing in the fog. It is hard to see the bank, oncoming boats or water hazards. Humminbird Helix 5 comes with precise GPS chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography. You will be able to maneuver to a safe location until the fog has dissipated. In low visibility zones, its 800H X 480V 5″ high resolution screen makes it easy to view in direct sunlight or at night.

It has a SD card slot to keep your favorite maps or waypoints so that you do not have to worry about it in future. In terms of sturdiness, you will not need to be afraid of getting this unit damaged or wet, as it is very waterproof. It is designed with thick and heavy plastic, making it robust. 



  • Sturdy
  • Waterproof
  • Card reader
  • CHIRP Sonar & Imaging
  • Less affordable

If you are tight on budget, this is the unit for you. There are no fancy features in this unit. But it has the essential features of a kayak depth finder and fish finding capabilities. It uses high frequency sonar of 200 kHZ to detect the approximate location of the fish school. You can then operate the boat directly above the targeted fish school.

It is a single beam transducer with 45 degrees angle beam. It is practical in shallow waters at 3 feet to 328 feet. It is only able to show you targets in motion, but not the size of the fish. But you can adjust the sensitivity setting to show all big and small fishes. Low sensitivity settings only display only the large fishes.

The transducer is attached with a 25 feet cord, which is useful if you are fishing off the dock, or on a bridge. Just toss the transducer into water and the display unit will show you the water depth and approximate fish depth if fish schools are passing by. It is super portable and easy to operate as it only requires AAA batteries, which is super convenient to obtain. 



  • AAA batteries
  • Great for shallow waters
  • Affordable
  • Receiver not waterproof
  • Unable to detect fish less than 10 cm or motionless fish


All the top 5 Best Kayak Fish Finders we have reviewed are generally equally outstanding. But considering the balance between its accuracy, multiple features, GPS capability, ease of installation, Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 has the winning edge.

We find this gem is reasonably affordable without compromising its essential features. Thus, it is not surprising that it has consistently the best reviews and comes out as one of the most popular choices among the fishing community.

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are Jules and Ken. We are outdoor lovers, travellers and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gears, camping equipment, kayaking to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

What's Next

If you are looking for a kayak for beginners, you can check out the best SOT (Sit On Top) Kayaks.

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