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The Best Phone Fish Finder of 2021 (Buyer’s Guide)

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Smartphones have changed the way we live, but did you know they could change the way you fish? Well, unsurprisingly they can.

Nowadays you can buy mountable fish finders that connect to smartphones, using your phone as a display creating the most portable fish finder around.

You can carry the portable fish finder around in your pocket, connect it to your phone, throw it on a rod, cast it out, and see exactly what fish or fish holding structures sit beneath the water’s surface.

No matter whether you’re ice fishing, shore fishing or boat fishing, the best phone fish finder will give you the fish finding information you need to be more successful on the water.

Join me as we take a look at some of the best fish finders that you can use with your phone.

The Best Phone Fish Finders From The Review

Top Pick

ReelSonar iBobber Fish Finder

A small floating transducer unit that you can cast out and connect to via the app and the iBobber bluetooth hotspot.

ReelSonar iBobber Fish Finder

The best portable fish finder that connects to your mobile device is the iBobber.

You can use the iBobber from the bank, a fishing boat, a kayak, and even on the ice and it’ll show you all the data you need to target more fish effectively.

Not only does it find fish but you can get weather updates, create fishing trip logs, and it’ll even create maps of your fishing points within the app.

Best Fish Finder For An Android Phone

Lowrance FishHunter 3D fish finder

A castable transducer that you connect to your phone via the wireless hotspot and app to create a portable fish finder you can take and use anywhere.

Lowrance FishHunter 3D fish finder

The best portable fish finder for an android device is the Lowrance FishHunter 3D. This device gives you an incredible amount of data directly to the FishHunter app on your mobile and you can cast it out from the bank, use it on boats, and even troll with it.

Function

It will show how deep it is, the bottom type, where fish are, their size, how deep they are, and where to cast based on their position relative to the where you mounted it.

If this wasn’t enough you can choose a 3D sounder screen display in the app, and you can build your own 3D shaded maps with the help of the built in GPS using the app too.

Best Fish Finder For A Boat

Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder

Not as portable as some of the others and consists of a transducer with a mounting that you attach to your boat transom or trolling motor.

Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder

The best portable fish finders for boat or sea fishing use is the Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder.

These portable fish finders mount to your transom or trolling motor and then connect to your tablet or mobile to give you accurate sonar readings down to 240ft of any fish, how deep they are, their size, bottom contours, type, and more.

Navionics

You can even use it in conjunction with the Navionics app giving you a good fish finder chartplotter combo using your mobile that’ll save your fishing spots too.

Our Best Phone Fish Finders

Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder

A transducer that is about the size of a tennis ball making it a portable fish finder you can keep anywhere.

Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder

The Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder consists of a transducer that is about the size of a tennis ball making it a portable fish finder you can keep anywhere.

This portable fish finder unit creates its own wireless network with a range of 165ft that you connect your smartphone to.

Once connected, you can view all the sound waves’ readings on your smartphone with depth readings of up to 165ft, more than enough for lake and inshore fishing.

Sonar

On the sonar readings you’ll see fish, their depth, their size (small, medium, or large), the overall depth, and it’ll even tell you the bottom type and what vegetation is down there.

Using all this fish finding info you can work it if there are any snags, what species are around, and what depth you should be fishing your lures at.

It’s cone angle of 40° at a single beam and 15° or 55° at dual beam.

Portable Fish Finder

The portable fish finder will save all your sonar readings in the app too so you can go back and review it all at a later date and work on new tactics.

It’ll also save the location of the sounder data so you can find your good fishing sites on another day.

You can choose to cast it out from the bank on a rod and wind it back in making it perfect for shore fishing, or have it dangling behind your boat. It only works in temperatures down to 32°F so it’s not suitable for ice angling unfortunately.

This entry level fish finder has a battery that lasts up to 6 hours but once it dies you’ll have to recharge it as there is no option to swap in a fresh battery which might limit your fishing time a bit.

Overall this is a quality, affordable, small fish finder unit for a smartphone but it can have trouble working on choppy days as it thinks it’s out of the water and won’t take any sonar reading.

Specs

  • Power: Internal rechargeable battery
  • Frequency: 120 kHz
  • Sounder: Single Beam
  • Flasher: No
  • GPS: Yes
  • Charts: No
  • How deep?: 165ft
  • Range: 165ft
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Battery Life: 6 hours

Pros

  • Differentiates between small, medium and large fishes
  • Shows you the bottom type and vegetation
  • Use the GPS to mark hotspots
  • Good lasting battery
  • Castable for use from the shore
  • Large connection range of 165ft
  • Holds its connection well
  • Sonar history is saved in the app
  • Easy to use and affordable

Cons

  • Doesn’t work so well in choppy water
  • Once the battery is finished you have to stop using it and recharge
  • Doesn’t work in temperatures below 32°F
  • Position is not that accurate as it uses your smartphone

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar comes as a single ball that acts as the transducer and creates its own wifi signal for you to connect your smartphone to.

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder

The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is an upgraded version of the Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder above.

It comes as a single ball that acts as the transducer and creates a wifi hotspot for you to connect your smartphone to, just like the Deeper start fish finder unit.

This portable fish finder has a connection range of 330ft and gives sonar readings of up to 260ft water depth. It also has a built-in GPS.

Sonar

The sound waves’ readings from it are pretty accurate as it uses a dual beam sonar that sends out two beams of different frequencies to give you more detail and more coverage.

You can cast the unit out from the bank on a fishing line, drop it in an ice hole, or pull it behind your boat.

As soon as it hits the water, you’ll start seeing sonar readings that show you how deep it is, the bottom type, and any vegetation or fish nearby or fish holding structures.

Alarms

You can also use this portable fish finder to set fish alarms and remind you no to go too shallow or deep so you never miss a trick.

This portable fish finder also comes with a flasher mode for vertical and ice fishing. It’ll show you how deep it is, where your bait is and where any fishes are sitting so you can move your bait into their path and see if they eat it, and if not, change your tactics. They might even attract fish.

Find Finder

While using the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar app on your smartphone, it’ll save your location and sounder data so you can review it, and with the map function, it’ll even make maps of the underwater terrain of your fishing sites.

Battery

The only downsides to this portable fish finder is that once the battery dies you’ll have to stop fishing and charge it to use it again.

Also, if the chart port cover gets damaged, water will seep in and ruin the connection and you won’t be able to charge it, so look after it.

Specs

  • Power: Internal rechargeable battery
  • Frequency: 90 & 290 kHz
  • Sounder: Dual Beam
  • Flasher: Yes
  • Global Positioning: Yes
  • Charts: Self maps
  • How deep?: 260ft
  • Range: 330ft
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Battery Life: 6 hours

Pros

  • Good depth readings to 260ft
  • Solid connection with a big range
  • Makes maps of your fishing spots using the sonar readings
  • Perfect for shore, boat, and ice angling
  • Uses an accurate internal positioning system for marking good spots
  • Good battery of 6 hours
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Save and review your sounder history in the app
  • Flasher mode is perfect for vertical and ice fishing
  • Shows you fish, the bottom, bottom type, and you can set a fish alarm on the sonar readings

Cons

  • When the battery dies, you have to stop fishing and charge it
  • If the charging port cover gets damaged and waterlogged it wont charge anymore

Best Fish Finder For An Android Phone

Lowrance FishHunter 3D

A castable fish finder with transducer that you connect to your phone via the wireless hotspot and app to create a device you can take and use anywhere.

Lowrance FishHunter 3D

The Lowrance FishHunter 3D is also a castable fish finder with a transducer that you connect to your phone via the wireless hotspot and app to create a device you can take and use anywhere.

Setup

The transducer creates its own wireless so you don’t need any data signal to make it work, and it has a solid connection that holds as long as your smartphone and transducer are within 200ft of each other.

Once connected, attach the transducer unit to some line and drop it in an ice fishing hole, cast it from the bank if you’re shore fishing, or have it bobbing behind your boat.

Operation

As soon as the unit is in the water, you’ll start seeing sonar readings.

The dual beam sonar readings will show you fish, their size, how deep they are sitting, the bottom type and more.

It will only take depth readings to a maximum of 160ft, which is more than enough for lakes, rivers, and inshore angling.

The unit will even let you know where to cast in relation to the unit, letting you know if your target is sitting left, right, infront, or behind the castable fish finder.

Flasher

There is also a flasher built in for vertical and ice fishing. It’s no replacement for a proper ice flashing unit but it’ll do in a pinch.

Who knew you could have all these fish finding features using a smartphone.

In the app, you can choose to see your sonar readings in 3D, 2D or as Fish ID or your smartphones display.

The app will also save your location and sounder data so you can review which fishing spot worked and why.

Map

Within the map function, you can also use all your sounder data to create 3D maps of your fishing sites with water shading based on how deep it is.

There are a couple of issues with this portable depth finder though. It doesn’t always hold the connection well to your smartphone, which can get a bit frustrating, and the location data can be a little inaccurate.

Specs

  • Power: Internal battery
  • Frequency: 381kHz, 475kHz
  • Sounder: Dual Beam
  • Flasher: Yes
  • Global Positioning: Yes
  • Charts: Self mapping
  • How deep?: 160ft
  • Range: 200ft
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Battery Life: n/a

Pros

  • Comes with an LED light for visibility
  • Works for trolling, ice fishing and from the shore
  • Builds maps for you with water shading
  • View the sonar readings in 3D
  • Tells you where to cast in relation to the finder
  • In-buit flasher is perfect for ice and vertical fish adventures
  • Accurate sonar readings

Cons

  • Global positioning data is a bit inaccurate
  • Connection often doesn’t hold

Best Fish Finder For A Boat

Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder

Not as portable as some of the others and consists of a transducer with a mounting that you attach to your boat hull or transom or trolling motor.

Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder

The Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder is not as portable as some of the others and consists of a transducer with a mounting that you attach to your boat transom or trolling motor. Maybe even when you’re on a fishing kayak.

You can’t attach it to a fishing line and cast it out like some of the best portable fish finders and you’ll need a battery to connect it to your boat too.

Wireless Hotspot

Once mounted the unit creates its own wireless hotspot for you to connect your smartphone to and through the app you start to see the sonar sensor readings.

It’ll give you readings as deep as 240ft with fishes icons to target or using a traditional sounder view with arcs.

App

Within the app you’ll be able to see how deep it is, where the fishes are sitting, what size they are and spot any fishy areas like sunken trees where fishes are likely to hang out.

The transducer uses a dual beam sonar with multiple frequencies to give you accurate readings and you can also set shallow water alarms, and low battery alarms too, so you never miss a trick. It comes with a dual beam cone angle of 20° or 40°.

Connectivity

You can also connect as many smartphones as you like to the unit so everyone can see the sonar readings without having to shout or stare at the same screen.

Navionics

There is no map function with this finder with this finder but can you use it in conjunction with the Navionics charts app giving you sonar readings against charts on one screen.

By using the Navionics app, you can see your position, plan routes, see bottom contours, and save fishing hotspots all from your smartphone.

Specs

  • Power: 12-volt battery
  • Frequency: 83/200 kHz
  • Sounder: Dual Beam
  • Flasher: No
  • GPS: Yes with Navionics
  • Charts: Works with Navionics
  • How deep?: 240ft
  • Range: 300ft
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Battery Life: NA

Pros

  • Accurate and clear sounder images
  • Works with Navionics for charts and sounder readings on one screen
  • Goes quite deep and has a solid wifi range
  • Lets you know water temperature
  • Comes with fish, low battery, and shallow water alarms
  • Strong, stable wifi connection
  • Easy to use and install
  • Fish icons or traditional sounder view
  • Shows fishes size and how deep they are

Cons

  • Not castable or portable
  • Requires mounting to a boat with a 12 Volt power supply

Top Pick

ReelSonar iBobber Fish Finder

A floating ball-like transducer unit that you can cast out and connect to via the app and the iBobber bluetooth hotspot.

ReelSonar iBobber Fish Finder

The Reel Sonar iBobber Fish Finder works like most of the other fish finders in the review with a floating ball-like transducer unit that you can cast out and connect to via the app and the iBobber bluetooth hotspot.

Once your smartphone is connected, you can choose to pull the iBobber behind your small boat, kayak, canoe, or cast it out when bank fishing.

Once it’s in the water, open the app and you’ll start to see accurate sonar readings of what is under it.

Function

The ibobber will show you if any fishes are down there, fish depth, how deep the water is and the bottom type.

You can then use all this fish finding data to plan your tactics accordingly.

The iBobber doesn’t just work as a finder, it’s also a bobber.

It comes with two snap swivel attachment points, so you can attach the line from your rod to one and your bait to the other, and watch as fishes swim by the unit and eat or refuse your bait.

App

The iBobber app also takes things to the next level.

It takes all your fish finding data and position to create bathymetric maps of the underwater terrain with and structure like fallen trees included.

This means you’ll have all the data about your fishing spots saved in one place for you to refer to another day,

The app will also give you weather reports so you can stay up to date with any impending conditions, and you can even create a trip log that incorporates the weather reports.

Trip Log

The trip log within the app is a great way to keep track of your fish finding success and remember patterns that occur year after year.

You can fill out the date, time, where, water temp, conditions, type of fishing, lure, number and species of fishes caught, fish size, and use your smartphone camera to take pictures and save them in the app.

Size

The iBobber is the smallest wireless portable fish finder in the world, has a battery power of 10 hours so you can go all day, and it even has an LED beacon on the top so you can use it when night angling.

The only negative to the iBobber fish finder is that the connection can be unstable at times, but this is rare.

Specs

  • Power: Internal battery
  • Frequency: Na
  • Sounder: Single beam
  • Flasher: No
  • GPS: Yes
  • Charts: Self mapping
  • How deep?: 135ft
  • Range: 100ft
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Battery Life: 10 hours plus

Pros

  • Simple, easy to use, affordable
  • Works as a bobber and a fish finder
  • LED beacon for night angling
  • Portable and good for shore, ice fishing and boat angling
  • Long lasting battery of over 10 hours
  • Maps the waterbed, structure, and your global position
  • Comes with fish and shallow waters alarms
  • Trip log feature for remembering catches, spots and data
  • Lets you know the weather reports for where you’re fishing
  • Fish are tagged with depth markers
  • Determines two fish sizes, over or under 15 inches

Cons

  • The connection can be a little tricky

What is a phone portable fish finder?

Smartphone on a Boat Placed Near Sail Rope
Smartphone on a Boat Placed Near Sail Rope

This type of fish finder uses smartphones and tablets with an app to act as the screen for a fish finder.

So instead of receiving a screen and a transducer, you get a transducer that connects to smartphones via wireless or Bluetooth.

How do smartphone fish finders work?

These portable fish finders have a transducer that creates a wireless hotspot to connect to smartphones with the transducer and beam all the sound waves’ data across the connection.

The data is then turned into a sounder image on the app letting you see what’s beneath the water depth.

TIP

Some of them are castable fish finders you can cast out from the shoreline, tow them behind small boats or kayaks, and even drop them in an ice hole.

Are fish finders that connect to smartphones any good?

You’d think that this kind of portable or castable fish finders would lack accuracy due to their simplicity but they are actually pretty good at giving you accurate readings.

They are not as accurate as a regular fish finder as they don’t have the battery power to compete with them since they aren’t connected to a power supply. They might not have enough juice compared to an Elite 9 Ti, but phone fish finders have a different use case.

Advantages of a smartphone fish finder

There are three major advantages to this kind of fish finder; affordability, castability, and portability.

  • These portable fish finders are some of the most affordable portable units on the market costing less than a hundred bucks in some cases.
  • They are so small that you can carry them in your pocket and take them anywhere. They can fit in a portable carrying case or have a portable transducer
  • These are the best fish finders on the market that, unlike any other, you can cast out from the shoreline when saltwater fishing.

Things to consider when looking for the best fish finder for smartphones

Fisherman Holding a Rod and a Phone
the fisherman is fishing on the lake in summer with phone

Where and how will you be using the fish finder?

In order to ensure you pick the best portable fish finder for you, you need to think about how and where you’ll be using it.

If you fish from the bank or beach then you’ll want a fish finder you can cast out.

TIP

If you’re into kayak fishing or only fish from boats, you might want one you can mount and will work at trolling speeds.

Range

You also need to be sure the fish finder can reach the bottom with it’s readings so it can get a return signal and tell you how deep it is.

Some fish finder for small vessel or kayak can read up to 160ft and others over 250ft, and it’s critical that you pick the best fishfinder for small boat that matches how deep your spots are.

Connection Range

The wireless connection range on every fish finder differs and varies from 150 to 250ft.

If you plan on casting the sonar device out from the shoreline, make sure it has a large enough connection range to match how far you cast your bait out.

Here’s a phone fish finder in action…

Lowrance Fish Hunter 3D review in action at the lake

Phones, Finders and Battery Lifespan

A fish finder that connects to smartphones has a limited battery and will need recharging.

The last thing you want is to have to stop fishing and recharge the fish finder, so check how long the battery lasts and if it matches your fishing hours.

Battery

The battery on most of them lasts between 4 and 10 hours, and 4 hours is a big difference.

Always try and go for a unit that has a decent battery life possible so you are inconvenienced by having to recharge in the middle of you fishing trips.

TIP

It’s also wise to carry a battery pack or solar charger so you can keep your phone battery topped up while you’re fishing as it’s likely to run out over the course of a day.

Finders and an App

Man on a Dock Using a Smartphone
Man on a Dock Using a Smartphone

Having a good app is as important as having a good transducer, as it’s the interface you’re going to be interacting with while you’re using the portable units and it’s the app that makes each fish finder stand out.

A good app makes use of device features and accessories like a fish alarm, the camera or screen to improve the adventure experience and help, well, find fish.

Data Storage

A good app will let you save your data so you can review it later, create maps for you, have multiple sounder views, give you weather updates, link to your camera for catch reports and more.

NOTE

Make sure you read up on what the app can do and ensure it gives you the features you want.

Screen Size

The screen size comes down to how big a screen your mobile or tablet has.

A large screen does make it easier to see the sonar waves’ data but carrying a tablet around as you fish around a lake is a bit cumbersome, and your mobile might therefore be better in terms of portability. 

NOTE

If you’re angling from boats most of the time, it might be worth investing in a stand for a tablet so you can use a larger screen without having to worry about holding your tablet while you fish.

Sounding Out

Thanks a lot for reading about my fish finder reviews on what works with your mobile or tablet. If you’re in the market for ice fishing tackle to go with it check out our reviews on the site.

They are by far the most affordable and portable fish finders on the market, and even give shoreline fisherman a chance to see what’s out there.

If you haven’t quite decided which of the units in the review is the right one for you here are my best portable fish finders to help you decide.

Top Pick

For anyone looking for accuracy, easy of use, and extra features, the best portable fish finder is the iBobber fish finder.

This fish finder lasts for 10 hours off one charge, is easy to connect to all smartphones and has the most useful app.

The app shows you great sounder data, gives you weather updates, saves your position, and even makes maps of the water bed and structure for you. 

Best Fish Finder For A Boat

If you want the best portable fish finder for boats or kayak fishing, then the Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder is the one for you.

The fish finder mounts to your vessel, and connects over wifi to give you reading of everything under your vessel from fish to structure and debris.

You can also use the unit with the Navionics App to give you a chartplotter fish finder all in one.

Happy Fishing!

Thanks again for reading my best phone fish finder reviews. I hope you found a new fish finder for your smartphones.

If ever you think that phone fish finders are not for you, here’s a link to the PiranhaMax 4 Di Review. It’s a dedicated fish finder for small boats that has lots of features that will surely help in increasing your fishing success.

Please share it around with your buddies or anyone looking for the best portable fish finders that work with smartphones, and feel free to check out some of our other articles.

We cover everything you might need for angling, from delicious recipes to cook catch in to the best fly rods for steelhead.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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