Best Fish Finder for Pontoon Boat Fishing – Top 6 Picks

If you want to have a memorable pontoon boat fishing trip, a fish finder is a must. There are many fish finders to choose from. To help narrow your search, we’ve collected 6 of the best fish finders in the market.

So what is the best fish finder for pontoon boat fishing? Here are our top 6 picks:

  1. Lowrance HD-12 Live – Click here to see it on Amazon Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Lowrance HOOK2 Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS
  4. Ray Marine Dragonfly 7
  5. Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy Max
  6. Garmin Echo 551dv

A fish finder simply helps anglers locate fish underwater by using sonar. The fish finder emits pulses of sound underwater and can then detect the fish when these pulses are reflected back.

Many fish finders show blurry images or are unreliable. The ones on our list show clear images and are the best on the market from what we’ve tested.

Read on to learn more about our best fish finders to use on a pontoon boat, including each feature.

Also, for an excellent fish finder for pontoon boat fishing, take a look at our top pick, the Lowrance HD-12 Live:

HDS-12 Live – 12-inch Fish Finder
HOOK2 Fish Finder
The Lowrance HD Live series of fish finders are a popular brand in the professional fishing world. This is an incredible feature-packed fish finder with three different types of sonar to find fish. 12-inch SolarMax display with LED backlightLike the HD Live series, the HOOK2 features CHIRP sonar, as well as DownScan and SideScan Sonar. It also has Autotuning sonar technology on it’s 7 or 9-inch display, and a GPS plotter that allows you to easily navigate and find your favorite fishing spots again.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Best Fish Finder for Pontoon Boat Fishing – Our Top 6 Picks

1. Lowrance HD-12 Live

The Lowrance HD Live series of fish finders are a popular brand in the professional fishing world. This brand has some of the best fish finders for pontoon boat fishing, including my favorite, the Lowrance HD-12 Live.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

This device allows you to use three different types of sonar to find fish. Aside from the DownScan and SideScan Imaging, it also provides CHIRP sonar.

CHIRP stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse and was developed by the military for deepwater use. It uses a burst of different sonar frequencies to create images that are much more detailed than regular sonar.

The Lowrance HD-12 Fish Finder also has what they call LiveSight real-time sonar and Active Imaging. This provides you with live views of both the fish and your bait. You can actually see the fish react to spotting your bait in the water, allowing you to figure out what works best for certain fish in specific waters.

Another piece of technology that this fish finder provides is the C-MAP Genesis Live, which allows you to map fishing spots in real-time. It uses digital depth to provide you with high-definition maps that feature ½-foot contours.

You can then save these maps on a microSD card, allowing you to return to prime fishing spots easily once you have identified them.

All units have a 12-inch SolarMax display with LED backlight and 1280H x 800V pixel matrix. With these specs, you’re promised angle visibility of up to 80 degrees.

2. Lowrance HOOK2

Another excellent Lowrance fish finder is the HOOK2 Fish Finder. You can’t go wrong with Lowrance for your pontoon boat fishing trips. It is available in 7-inch and 9-inch size.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

As mentioned, the display on this fish finder is big at 9 inches. It is fully colored with an LED Backlight and an 800Hx480V pixel matrix.

Like the HD Live series, the HOOK2 features CHIRP sonar and a DownScan and SideScan Sonar. It also has Autotuning sonar technology which means that it will automatically adjust the sonar settings when the water conditions change. There is also a temperature sensor.

Lowrance provides its TripleShot transducer with the HOOK2. If you are using the CHIRP sonar, it has a depth capability of 500 ft, while the DownScan and SideScan can reach 300ft.

This would also be perhaps the best fish finder for pontoon boat lake fishing as it comes preloaded with maps of around 4,000 lakes all over the United States. 

There is also a GPS plotter that allows you to easily navigate and find your favorite fishing spots again. You can enter up to 3,000 waypoints into its memory and save up to 100 routes with up to 50 waypoints a route.

3. Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS

The Humminbird line of fish finders has been popular among fishers for some time now. The Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS is their latest edition, and it is an excellent fish finder for your pontoon boat.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

This is the fish finder I have on my pontoon boat. It has been my favorite toy/tool as it looks great, and gives a ton of info at my fingertips.

The sonar in this unit gives you a 360-degree view of what is going on underneath the surface – including the currents, plant life, and of course the fish.

This particular model has a glare-free, 10.1-inch screen, with side imaging and a 1024 x 600-pixel display. The high-quality widescreen color display has an intuitive reflex interface making it beautiful and easy to use.

The software on this device is upgradable and all upgrades are provided for free. If an update is available you can quickly download and install it either with a USB or an SD card. It is easy to save the data from one trip so that you can locate good fishing spots again when you return in the future.

4. Ray Marine Dragonfly 7

The latest fish finder from the Ray Marine Dragonfly line uses their CHIRP vision sonar to locate fish and other underwater objects.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It displays the images on a clear 7-inch monitor. The monitor screen uses LED technology and has a high resolution of 640 x 480 pixels to produce images in full color.

This fish finder comes with a Ray Marine CPT-60 transom mount transducer. This makes it easy and convenient to mount it on your boat. It also comes with a bracket and power cable.

The Ray Marine Dragonfly 7 has built-in sonar GPS and a trackback feature that allows you to store waypoints and return to them in the future. There is also a micro SD slot that allows you to insert map cards to further assist your navigation, even in unfamiliar waters.

5. Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy Max

The Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy Max is very portable. It’s an all-in-one solution featuring a 3.5-inch monitor mounted on a 24” pole with a transducer already attached.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

You basically mount the Fishin’ Buddy anywhere on your boat, and as long as the transducer is in the water, the fish finder will send out its sonar waves and help you identify fish, as well as underwater structures.

It uses a dual-beam sonar, which means you can choose to use either a narrow or a wide beam to control the fish finder’s coverage area. The sonar sends back information that is displayed on the clear screen.

Some of the information you can receive using this fish finder is the depth and bottom of the floating area and the water temperature. Of course, it also shows you where the fish are and even has a fish alarm feature.

6. Garmin Echo 551dv

The Garmin Echo 551dv sports a 5-inch VGA display with a pixel resolution of 480×640. It provides clear images and has a zoom and Ultrascroll feature that allows you to clearly see and follow fish. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It also has a split-screen function that lets you view images both vertically and horizontally.

This fish finder comes with a transducer already included. The Garmin Echo 551dv uses a 77/200 kHz dual beam transducer that can reach a depth of about 2300 feet.

It also has DownVu capabilities and provides great target separation and bottom tracking features. There is an adjustable depth feature that can indicate the depths of the objects detected on the monitor.  

There is a temperature sensor on the transducer and a temperature graph function that allows you to monitor and observe the different variations of water temperature while looking for a fishing spot.

This can be useful if you target a specific species of fish that is known to prefer waters of certain temperatures.

Another handy feature of this fish finder is the Bottom Lock function. When you choose the bottom lock, you can set a specific distance span from the bottom, and the sonar will focus on maintaining that distance.

This is a good function to have if you’re looking for bottom-feeding fish and can also help you locate structures where fish may be hiding.

How to Choose the Best Fish Finder for Your Pontoon Boat

To choose the best fish finder for pontoon boat fishing, here are a few things you need to look out for.  

First, make sure that you choose a fish finder that already comes with a transducer. The transducer is a sensor and is the part that actually gets placed into the water. It is the part that sends out the sonar waves and receives the reflected pulses.

Another factor to consider is that you need to check out what type of sonar it uses. Most fish finders use either down-scan or side-scan sonar but you can also get models that use a mix of these two.

The type of sonar you need will depend on the type of waters where you intend to do most of your fishing. If you normally do deep water fishing, down-scan sonars are the best.

Side-sonars are better for shallow waters less than 75 feet deep. Combination sonar technology works equally well in deep or shallow waters, but they will cost more.

Conclusion – Best Fish Finder for Pontoon Boat Fishing

In summary, what is the best fish finder for pontoon boat fishing? Here are our top 6 picks:

  1. Lowrance HD-12 Live – Click here to see it on Amazon Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Lowrance HOOK2 Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Humminbird Helix 10 SI GPS
  4. Ray Marine Dragonfly 7
  5. Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy Max
  6. Garmin Echo 551dv

For a more affordable fish finder, my favorite is the Lowrance HOOK2. But if you have a bigger budget, I recommend going with the Humminbird Helix or the Lowrance HD-12 Live. Any fish finder on this list, however, will be an excellent addition for your pontoon boat fishing trips.