Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fish Finders For Crappie Reviewed

We have reviewed and compared the best crappie fish finders. Learn how to find and identify crappie with these top-rated models.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fish Finders For Crappie Reviewed

We have reviewed and compared the best crappie fish finders. Learn how to find and identify crappie with these top-rated models.

by Andrew

by Andrew

Crappie are a favorite target of sports anglers because they are great fun to catch and taste delicious. Because they like to hide in vegetation and structure and have their own unique behavior, catching crappie is much easier done with a fish finder. The best fish finders for crappie fishing are listed below, read on for a full review.

Preview

Product

Max Depth

Mounting Options

Check Price

Hummingbird 410950-1 HELIX 7 CHIRP MSI (MEGA...

Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3

1,200 feet

Gimbal, in-dash

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar - GPS Portable...

Deeper PRO+

260 feet

Castable

ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless...

ReelSonar iBobber Wireless

135 feet

Castable

HawkEye FishTrax 1X Portable Dot Matrix Fish...

HawkEye FishTrax 1X

240 feet

Portable, bracket

Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish...

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2

1,500 feet

In-dash, gimbal

Lowrance HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder with...

Lowrance HOOK2 5

500 feet

Gimbal, in-dash, RAM

Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder...

Raymarine Dragonfly Pro

600 feet

Gimbal, in-dash, RAM


Why Use a Fish Finder When Fishing for Crappie?

Crappie aren’t quite like other fish, not even bluegill, although their appearance is a bit similar. Crappie are more of a rounded shape, and they will stack up in vertical stacks on the fish finder display reading when they school. Here’s a few other key reasons to use a crappie fish finder:

  • Read underwater structure to find where crappie are schooling.
  • Make sure you’re anchored near crappie and not similar fish like shad.
  • Watch how the crappie respond to your lures. This is especially helpful when the crappie are lethargic in wintertime and early spring.
  • Mark productive fishing spots to return on later trips.

Important Fish Finder Features for Crappie Fishing

Location & Timing

Crappie will head to shallow waters in freshwater lakes and rivers in springtime. This can have something to do with the water temperature, but it’s actually more likely because the crappie are fattening up in the pre-spawn season. During this feeding, they’ll bite at just about anything minnow-shaped.

In wintertime, crappie will be very lethargic and try to bury themselves in vegetation to hang out near feeder streams. The summer is their post-spawn period, and you’ll be able to find crappie on flats and in other places where there’s food.

Mounting Type

Fish finders can be mounted on a gimbal, which is a mount on a round joint that can be tilted for a better look at the screen. They can also be handheld for more portability, castable so that anglers can use them from the shore, or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, mounted flush in the dashboard of a boat.

Power Source

The larger fish finders meant for boats usually run off the boat battery, while fish finders for small boats might hook into the battery for a trolling motor. Portable fish finders can run on 12V batteries or, if they’re very small, they might run off standard AAA batteries.

Transducer Features

The transducer is what sends out and receives sonar signals. They can send this signal out in a narrow beam or a wide beam, and the best fish finder transducers will have a dual-beam feature that enables them to send out both. Wider cones cover more of the water, but they may not send signals powerful enough to reach the bottom in really deep water. Narrow beams send stronger signals, but they’re more directed at a specific part of the water column. Dual-beam transducers let you scope out in wide mode and target crappie in narrow beam mode.

Display Screen

Gaining useful information from the display on a fish finder will only be possible if the screen has a high level of detail. Crappie are similar in size to some other fish, and you’re going to need plenty of detail to make sure you aren’t accidentally casting out to shad instead. You can see how much detail is in the display by the resolution, which is the number of pixels. More pixels equals more detail. Make sure to get a colored display to see clean fish arcs and a backlit device that you can use in low light.

Down Imaging vs. Side Imaging

Side imaging is a mode where the sonar signals are sent out to both sides of the boat. This enables the user to see wide swathes of the water column and search out places where crappie like to hide, like vegetation and structure. Down imaging sends sonar directly underneath the boat so the user can take a closer look at a particular place.

Performance Features

Additional features that can make a crappie fish finder even more useful are GPS, SD card storage, visibility features such as brightness, and an increased scanning rate. When transducers send out a signal, there follows a period where they are 'ringing' or reloading. Low-Q transducers ring less and therefore, can send more signals for higher detail.

Displays should be visible in broad daylight and at nighttime too. Having GPS and chartplotting built-in can help you navigate, and an SD card slot enables you to store information and load new maps onto the device.

Price & Warranty

To get every feature on a crappie fish finder, you’ll likely have to pay more. But there are plenty of good fish finders for crappie that come at a much lower price. Every fish finder we reviewed for this article has a warranty, but some are longer than others, and some have certain conditions attached as well. To get the most protection for your new fishing gear, make sure you understand precisely what the warranty covers before you buy.


7 Best Fish Finders for Crappie Reviewed

1. Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3

Best Fish Finder for Crappie

Screen Size

7 Inches

Resolution

800H x 480V pixels

Max Depth

1,200 feet

Mounting Options

Gimbal, in-dash

GPS Built-In

Yes

Warranty

1-year

This unit has everything you need to clearly see crappie stacked near vegetation or underwater structure and watch your lure draw them in near-real-time. The HELIX line from Humminbird is now outfitted with a low-Q transducer, which means it sends a wider range of CHIRP sonar frequencies with more intensity overall. Stronger waves and more frequencies translate to better target separation and crisper images on the fish finder display, making it easier to discern crappie from similar, but smaller, targets like shad.

While you can already send signals plenty deep enough to use the HELIX 7 in just about any place where crappie are found, there’s also the option of upgrading to the 50 kHz transducer, which will increase the max depth to 3,500 feet. The built-in side imaging is a great way to explore new lakes and rivers in search of sunken logs or vegetation, while the down imaging mode and dual-spectrum CHIRP give you plenty of options for exploring all points of the water column.

Exploring old creek channels and feeder creeks for crappie hideouts is also a cinch thanks to the sharp contours on the HELIX 7 maps. There are 8 hours of recording time to collect data on a fishing trip for review later. With the right settings, the sonar readouts even give enough detail to see your own lures and how the crappie are responding to them.

Use the built-in GPS to find, share, and return from your favorite fishing spots as efficiently as possible. With its strong signal and crisp display, the HELIX 7 is the best fish finder for crappie fishing, whether in the shallows or deep water. If there’s any small gripe we have with the HELIX 7, it’s that the transducer cable could be longer. But even still, the device itself works amazingly well for pulling in crappie.

Pros
  • Split screen option
  • Crisp display
  • Low-Q transducer
  • 8 hours of recording time
  • Side imaging mode
Cons
  • Short transducer cable

2. Deeper PRO+

Best Castable Fish Finder for Crappie

Screen Size

N/A

Resolution

N/A

Max Depth

260 feet

Mounting Options

Castable

GPS Built-In

Yes

Warranty

5-year Limited

All too often, castable fish finders underperform compared with other fishing electronics. That’s not the case with the Deeper PRO+, which has many of the most popular fishfinder features like dual-beam scanning and temperature and depth readings. It’s also built with some convenient additional features like built-in GPS that lets the user create bathymetric maps from the shore, which just isn't possible with more expensive and cumbersome fish finders.

If you haven’t used this castable fish finder to haul crappie out of the shade line in the summertime, post-spawn period, we highly suggest it. That’s probably the greatest benefit to the Deeper Pro+. For anglers who fish from the shore or smaller watercraft that don’t have room for a larger fish finder, this is the best device to search out crappie. The only possible issue is that this fish finder will only be as effective as your cell phone, and the screen will be the size of a smartphone since it displays all its findings via an app.

Charging this device takes about 2 hours, and it should last for 6 hours of fishing. It’s also effortless to use this castable fish finder when you're having trouble finding crappie ice fishing, although the battery won't last as long in cold conditions. This is also the most portable crappie fish finder around. Just be mindful that you don’t cast this fish finder into shallow water to avoid damaging it. For added confidence, the Deeper Pro+ is covered by one of the longest warranties on the market, a whopping 5 years.

Pros
  • Maximum portability
  • Creates bathymetric maps
  • Long warranty coverage
  • Use from docks & shore
Cons
  • Depends on a smartphone

3. ReelSonar iBobber Wireless

Best Bluetooth Crappie Fish Finder

Screen Size

N/A

Resolution

N/A

Max Depth

135 feet

Mounting Options

Castable

GPS Built-In

Yes

Warranty

1-year Limited

Another castable model, the ReelSonar Wireless, is convenient to have around because it can be used from the shore, and it can also function as a regular bobber would. That means there won’t be any fussing around taking it off the line before you can continue fishing. It also has a 10-hour battery life, which is plenty for fishing all day long. Just make sure your smartphone battery can also last that long. The app it uses to display information is more similar to a portable fish finder in that it uses fish icons and doesn’t look as much like traditional sonar, but it will still help you find those crappie.

Although it might not appeal to every angler, this fish finder is also compatible with wearable tech like an iWatch or Google Watch, which means you don’t necessarily have to have a smartphone lashed to your fishing rod. Bear in mind that the iBobber doesn’t work as effectively in very shallow water, so fishing in less than about 5 feet of water may give inaccurate readings.

If you like to fish with multiple lines in the water or go ice fishing for crappie and want to be able to keep an eye on all your lines at once, you can use the strike alarm on this fish finder an alert. It also registers depth, wind, and water temperature, plus you can use it to keep an eye on the weather. It’s not as sophisticated as the Deeper Pro+, but it also requires a much smaller investment. If you like to get very technical with your fish finder, you might want a different model. But if you just want to see where the fish are, the iBobber works great.

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Less expensive
  • Functions as a bobber
  • Works with wearable tech
Cons
  • Overly simple graphics

4. HawkEye FishTrax 1X

Best Portable Fish Finder for Crappie

Screen Size

2” H x 1.6” W

Resolution

Dot Matrix

Max Depth

240 feet

Mounting Options

Portable, bracket

GPS Built-In

No

Warranty

2-year

Deceptively lo-fi, the FishTrax 1X is a very helpful tool to have with you on a fishing trip. It’s a favorite of kayakers who primarily need to see where the fish are, and it's also a great fish finder for beginner and intermediate-level anglers who aren't familiar with the more complicated features of a more robust model. Versatility is built into the design, which features a universal screw mount at the bottom and a transducer that can mount to the back of the boat or hang off the side of a kayak. The ducer is also capable of giving a side-scan reading.

Beginners who haven’t learned how to find crappie with a fish finder will enjoy the easiness of the fish icon mode, which also displays the water temperature in all parts of the water column, rather than only giving one average reading. Once you have the hang of it, you can switch to the traditional sonar mode and begin to learn how to spot crappie schools amongst other similar targets. One other nice feature is the sensitivity toggle, which can reduce clutter onscreen and help you concentrate on the crappie.

A common issue with this fish finder is the depth reading on the fish. While it does have lots of automation built-in that makes it easy to lock onto fish, some quick math will have to be used to determine where exactly in the water column the fish is.

However, for having no frills at all this fish finder is still great for detecting what type of bottom you’re dealing with and even for identifying weeds and other vegetation where crappie might be hiding. The screen is readily visible in bright sunlight, and the company states that they’ll repair damage to the device or replace it no matter what the reason for the damage is.

Pros
  • Top warranty protection
  • Great for beginners
  • Runs on AAA batteries
  • Kayak-friendly
Cons
  • Doesn’t show target depth reading

5. Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2

Best GPS Fish Finder Combo for Crappie

Screen Size

5 Inches

Resolution

800H x 480V

Max Depth

1,500 feet

Mounting Options

In-dash, gimbal

GPS Built-In

Yes

Warranty

1-year

This longtime favorite of crappie anglers can reach the depth you need to search out targets in colder water temperatures and enough display modes to see them from various angles. Not only can you divide the screen in two to see multiple modes simultaneously, but you can do so at the touch of a button. In fact, the buttons on the face of the HELIX 5 make operating it quickly really easy, no matter what feature you're trying to access. Toggle between a high-detail mode and a clutter-free mode depending on what you’re trying to see, again with just the touch of a button.

Humminbird’s well-regarded dual-beam CHIRP is built into this model as well, making the target separation and fish arcs sharp and clear. There are also tons of maps built-in and a microSD card slot to load more maps if you need to. That detailed Humminbird imaging is also built into the side-view feature on the HELIX 5. There are a few upgrading options as well. A 50 kHz transducer will increase the max depth by 1,000 feet, and there are also ducers built specifically for cold water that make this unit great for ice fishing for crappie.

While there are some technical features on this fish finder that can be hard to understand, as long as you read the manual first, you should have a pretty good idea of how they all work. It’s suitable for pontoons, kayaks, or regular fishing boats, and the built-in GPS will get you right where you need to go and help you get back to shore quickly and safely. The transducer cable might be a bit too short for boats over about 20 feet, so be prepared to buy a longer cable if you have a larger boat.

Pros
  • Detailed imaging
  • Split-screen option
  • Easy to use & navigate
  • Great mapping
Cons
  • Not for beginners
  • Limited transducer cable reach

6. Lowrance HOOK2 5

Best Depth Finder for Crappie Fishing

Screen Size

5 Inches

Resolution

800 x 480 pixels

Max Depth

500 feet

Mounting Options

Gimbal, in-dash, RAM

GPS Built-In

Yes

Warranty

1-year

If you don’t like to fuss around with settings on your fish finder every time you go out to fish for crappie, this is the model for you. It has an Autotune sonar mode that will detect the necessary settings to give you the best look under the surface. Although the maximum depth of 500 feet is less than you might find on some Humminbird fish finders, the side-scan range of up to 300 feet is one of the larger ranges available. For most crappie anglers, 500 feet is likely going to be deep enough to reach their target anyway.

This is one of the least expensive ways to get features like split-screen and built-in mapping on your boat. There are also compatible RAM mounts sold separately. The detail on display is sharp in every mode and clear enough to get critical information about fish arcs, schools, structure, vegetation, and pretty much anything else you might pick up with a fish finder. Affordability is definitely the biggest draw of the Hook2 5, but that’s mostly due to how many features it has - you wouldn’t call this a budget fish finder per se.

The depth readings are very accurate on this device, and it's a great help for locating crappie anywhere in the water column. Lowrance's TripleShot feature lets you see in almost every direction at once if you set it up correctly. This is a great all-season crappie fish finder that comes preloaded with tons of US maps and has a microSD card slot for uploading more maps for different locations.

Pros
  • Lots of built-in maps
  • Sharp images
  • AutoTune mode
  • Triple-split screen
Cons
  • Small screen size

7. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro

Best Rated for Crappie Fishing

Screen Size

7 Inches

Resolution

800 x 480 pixels

Max Depth

600 feet

Mounting Options

Gimbal, in-dash, RAM

GPS Built-In

Yes

Warranty

1-year

Everything you need to trace underwater channels and find schools of crappie wherever they are is built into the Dragonfly Pro. One of the nicest details is the split-screen, which cuts the display in two horizontally rather than vertically, which is much more common in fish finders. If you’re using the built-in downscan or sidescan, having wider screens is just easier to use. Navigating through the menus is easy, even if there is no automatic mode. What Dragonfly calls wide-spectrum sonar is pretty much the same as what you get with low-Q. It’s really sharp, and the screen can be set to give crisp and colorful images.

You can mount this thing pretty much any way you want to. They’re RAM mount compatible, and there's a flush mounting kit available as well. The CHIRP DownVision is one of the best around and a great way to scope out a new area. You can also use their dual CHIRP to take a more targeted look at a particular part of the water column once you’ve found a target school or structure.

This unit can connect to WiFi to communicate with a smartphone or tablet. That WiFi connection also helps with the GPS navigation, which can give you your saved waypoints on the view straight ahead of you. If there’s one thing wrong with this unit, it's that the screen could be brighter, but unless you're in direct sunlight, you shouldn't have any problem seeing the display.

Pros
  • Connects to WiFi
  • Horizontal split screen
  • Strong sonar signal
  • Fantastic DownVision
Cons
  • Less display brightness

Tips for Finding & Identifying Crappie on a Fish Finder

Many anglers are anxious about purchasing electronics for crappie because they don’t know how to find crappie on a fish finder. Look for these qualities in the environment and your fish arcs to locate crappie on a fish finder display:

  • Crappie school vertically, and they’re more round on sonar displays.
  • Look for vertical schooling near vegetation and weeds.
  • Fish arcs should be smaller than bass or walleye. Unless your sensitivity is up really high, you’ll see crappie in half-arcs and not the perfect curves the demo mode shows.
  • Follow old creek channels and search in feeder creeks.
  • In pre-spawn and post-spawn, look in the shallows. Look on flats in late summer.
  • On simpler depth finders with dot matrix displays, you’ll only have a 2D display, so look for those half-arcs near sunken logs and weeds.
  • Always make sure you understand your settings to find crappie most effectively.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are there any special techniques for how to find crappie while ice fishing?

When the water is really cold, crappie are going to be in the few feet of water closest to the bottom. They may bury themselves in weeds, but they’re going to be moving slowly. Finding crappie ice fishing is pretty much the same, but make sure you’re moving your jig heads and minnows extremely slowly because these fish are not going to jump at bait like they do in the warmer months.

Where is the best place to find crappie ice fishing?

If you have the benefit of any charts or already have a map of the bottom of a frozen lake, try to find sharp changes in the bottom like drop-offs or dugouts. Crappie also like to hang out in the weeds if they can. There’s an increased mortality rate when you pull crappie out of more than about 40 feet of water, which is why we prefer to stay out of water that deep.

Is side imaging worth the extra money?

There’s no better way to scan wide areas of a new lake for hazards and targets than side imaging. It’s definitely worth the money to get a good idea of what’s happening all over the lake, and it’s even better if you also have down-imaging to return to points of interest for a closer look.

Is Humminbird better than Lowrance for crappie fish finders?

Humminbird may have the upper hand when it comes to higher-end crappie fish finders, but Lowrance offers lots of very similar tech, generally for a lower price. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles but want an easy-to-use 2D sonar fish finder with you, Lowrance is a good option. Humminbird does have sharper returns on their displays, though.

What fish finding technology is best for finding crappies?

Crappie, being panfish, are smaller overall than other targets like bass and walleye. They like to hide when the temperature is low, but they will bite at almost anything pre- and post-spawn. To find them where they are in any season, no fish finder technology is more important than a low-Q transducer that shows the bottom in great enough detail to make out crappie against weeds and structure.


Conclusion

Finding crappie with fish finders is easy if you have a high-res screen, a powerful low-Q transducer, and multiple display options. The Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3 has all that plus built-in GPS to get you where you need to go, which is what makes it the best fish finder for crappie fishing.

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