Lowrance FishHunter 3D
Ice fishing season is almost upon us, but there’s still time to hop in a kayak and do a little small boat fishing—or to just cast from the shore.
Here’s a device that can help you do all three—the Lowrance FishHunter 3D. This unit is about the size of a tennis ball, making it extremely portable. It connects to your phone via Wi-Fi, so you won’t need a control head. Best of all, it’s incredibly inexpensive—the kind of fish finder a teenager could buy after mowing a few lawns or babysitting a few kids.
With a great app, a compact unit, and a surprising number of useful features, Lowrance has outdone itself with this marvel of a castable fish finder.
- Very affordable
- Easy to set up
- Comes with a great app
- Surprisingly feature-dense
- No CHIRP
- Requires a phone
- Imaging is somewhat weak
- No preloaded/purchasable parts
|Max Depth||160 ft.|
|Frequency||381kHz, 475kHz and 675 kHz|
|Memory Card Slots||N/A|
- Incredibly portable
Display and Interface
Let’s start with the display. This is a castable device, so the display is as good as your phone or tablet’s screen. You’ll find the app looks better on, say, an iPad than it does on a Samsung S8. Not a lot of information to cover on this point—your mileage will vary depending on the device you use to connect to the FishHunter 3D.
Fortunately, we can say quite a few things about the interface. Everything takes place on the FishHunter app, which you’ll have to download to connect your FishHunter 3D to your device. On the app, you’ll see that there are four main screens:
Aside from the main menu, there’s also a top and side menu that you can access by pressing a small icon on your screen. These menus allow you to modify a number of different settings, drop pins, change your sonar settings, and more.
We love how easy these menus are to access. They’re also relatively small menus, which makes it easy to find the option you’re looking for. Despite how easy the menus are to navigate, the unit has a surprising number of different features.
Overall, we like how the app is laid out and how simple it is to access most of the features. This is, of course, a fish finder, so the interface will take some getting used to—it might take you a few moments, for example, to find the particular sonar display you want. All in all, though, the interface gets high marks from us.
We like to divide this section of our reviews into two parts. In the first part, we talk about the transducer and overall sonar capabilities of the fish finder. In the second section, we talk about the sonar display options available.
We’re going to do the same thing with this FishHunter 3D review—but the first part will be a little different. That’s because the FishHunter 3D is the transducer—the castable unit that you put in the water in order to send and receive sonar signals
For a castable unit, the transducer is surprisingly powerful. There are three different frequencies that you can choose from, capping out at 675 kHz, which gives you pretty tremendous accuracy and target separation. By offering these three frequencies, Lowrance ensures that you can use the FishHunter in both shallow and deep water. Whether you’re casting from shore or you’re kayaking in a deep lake (up to 160 feet), you’ll be well served by the unit’s sonar.
So far, we’ve been talking about a single transducer—but that’s not entirely accurate. The Lowrance FishHunter 3D actually has five transducers, each of which can emit at any of the three frequencies. That allows for some pretty impressive coverage—and it leads nicely into our next topic.
The FishHunter 3D comes with a wide variety of different sonar views. The first one we want to talk about is the “Directional Casting” view, unique to the FishHunter series. This view takes advantage of the five transducer setup to tell you exactly where fish are in relation to the unit. You’ll see five overlapping circles on your screen—up, down, left, right, and center. When a fish comes within range of your FishHunter, one of the circles will turn red and display the depth of that fish. The circle that turns red tells you where the fish is located in relation to the unit.
Not interested in Lowrance’s new-fangled penta-circular fish finder tech? Worry not! The unit also has a number of other sonar modes, including:
- Traditional (RAW) sonar
- Traditional sonar with fish icons
- Flasher mode (for ice fishing)
You’ll also find the FishHunter 3D has most of the sonar features you’d expect from a high-quality fish finder. These features include:
- Shallow water mode
- Adjustable sensitivity
- Adjustable power
- Adjustable surface filter
- Depth selection
- Auto range
- And more
There are a lot of good things to be said about the FishHunter 3D’s sonar—but we do have one (pretty major) problem with the unit. The sonar provided is traditional only—no CHIRP. Given the price of the unit, the lack of CHIRP is understandable. We do wish it was here, though—CHIRP sonar offers better accuracy and target separation. It’s one major flaw in a sonar system that’s otherwise unbelievably good for the price.
Given that our Technical Specs section has a big “N/A” next to “Imaging—Range”, you might be surprised to find an imaging section in our review. You might be doubly surprised to find an imaging section, given how inexpensive the FishHunter 3D is.
We’re as (pleasantly) surprised as you are.
The FishHunter 3D offers 3D imaging—that’s where it gets its name! We’re not going to tell you the imaging here is perfect—it’s not. Instead of the high-quality imaging you’d expect from a higher-priced fish finder/chartplotter, you’re getting a color-coded depth chart that details bottom contour.
While it’s a little less fancy (and a little less visually appealing) than higher quality side and down scan, it does offer you the ability to look for drop offs and other changes to contour. Best of all, you can pair your 3D bottom contour map with sonar in a chart that Lowrance calls 3D Fishing.
With this chart, you’ll be able to see fish icons swimming around the 3D contour chart you’ve created, with their depth marked within the fish icon.
You won’t be able to spot structure very clearly with the imaging on the FishHunter 3D—sunken ships and the like won’t appear on the map. You will, however, be able to spot weeds, which can be a huge boon.
All in all, the FishHunter 3D has the weakest imaging technology we’ve seen on a fish finder. That sounds like a major blow against the device, until you realize that there are units 4x the price of this one that don’t have any kind of imaging—and those units are a lot less portable.
The FishHunter 3D comes with no charts. It does, however, come with an internal, high-precision GPS.
Long-time readers of our reviews will know where this one is going…
With the FishHunter 3D, you can make your own charts. Not only that, but you can make two different kinds of charts!
The first is the classic bathymetric/contour chart that you’ve probably seen available on other fish finders. These charts are super straightforward, mapping bottom contour and depth by pairing the transducer with the unit’s internal GPS. These maps are incredibly useful for pre-fishing lakes, and for charting out routes and locations you’d like to revisit. They’re a classic for a great reason, and given that the maps use your phone’s storage, you can store quite a few of them.
The second map is a 3D Structure map. These are the same maps we talked about in the imaging section—but they’re GPS tagged. That means that, when you go back to the same location again, you’ll have a 3D map of the bottom structure waiting for you. This makes both mapping and fishing way easier, and it’s a feature we love.
There are a few mapping features missing from the FishHunter 3D that we wish were there. You can’t make tracks or set waypoints. You can, however, pin locations that you want to return to. That makes up for some of the missing features. Overall, we do wish we could make tracks and routes, and we wish you could purchase maps for the unit—but we’re quite happy with what the FishHunter 3D has to offer on the mapping front.
The FishHunter 3D has a Wi-Fi range of 200’. That means you can cast it out really far and still be connected to the unit. Bear in mind that weather conditions and other factors can impact the range of W-Fi, so practically, you’ll usually get a little under 200’ of range—but that’s still fairly impressive.
Almost all of the activity recorded by the unit can be found on the FishHunter app. This app is on your phone, so you can save maps and some other data onto your phone, from which you can export the data. That means you can share maps you’ve created with other anglers—a feature we always love.
Unsurprisingly, there’s no NMEA compatibility on this unit, nor will you find Ethernet ports or Bluetooth. This unit isn’t designed to be the control head of a large boat. It’s made for finding fish—and it does that quite well.
Lowrance really wanted to promote social sharing with the FishHunter 3D. You can use the app to share pictures of your catch, complete with location data, to Facebook and other social media sites. That saves you the effort of having to go into those apps after the trip is done. Not an earth-shattering feature, but a nice one to have if you love social media.
The app also features a logbook, and plenty of easy-to-access data, including weather reports, moon forecasts, and more. The FishHunter app is really well designed, and we look forward to Lowrance’s other efforts in the app space.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, the specs don’t tell the whole story. That’s the case with the FishHunter 3D. We’re honestly amazed that Lowrance managed to make a fish finder that’s:
- Feature dense
All this, while offering mapping, imaging, and more. This little device is an absolute wonder. No, it doesn’t have CHIRP sonar. Yes, other devices are better at mapping. Is it the best fish finder on the planet? Absolutely not. Does its display quality depend entirely on the quality of your phone? It does.
Let’s not focus on what the unit lacks—let’s focus on what it delivers on. This is one of the best portable fish finders on the planet, and one of the most affordable fish finders hands-down. That’s why it ranks among both our best fish finders for value, our favorite portable fish finders, and our favorite castable fish finders.
Want a castable fish finder, but don’t want to break the bank? We can’t recommend the Lowrance FishHunter 3D highly enough.