Ask any angler what their most essential piece of equipment is on their boat. I would be willing to bet most would agree on their fish finder. If you are into ice fishing, you better be thinking the same. Being able to “see” what is going on in the water beneath you is crucial.
Instead of ice fish finders though, a more specialized piece of equipment is called an ice fishing flasher. Ice fishing flashers are an essential component of ice fishing.This gives fishermen better odds at catching fish by being able to be precise with their presentation. Ice flashers also give the ability to locate fish for vertical jigging applications.
In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the best ice fishing flashers currently on the market and outline what makes them stand out!
Comparison Chart of the Best Ice Fishing Flashers
Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher
Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack with 19 Degree Ice Flasher - GP0819
Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder - LX-7
Eyoyo Portable 7 inch LCD Monitor Fish Finder Waterproof Underwater HD 1000TVL Fishing Camera 15m Cable 12pcs IR Infrared LED for Ice,Lake and Boat Fishing
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fishfinder
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual Transducer
What is an Ice Fishing Flasher?
An ice fishing flasher is a different variation to the more well-known fishfinder. While a fishfinder displays a variety of shapes below you, a flasher has a clock-like circle.
This circle represents increasing depths in a clockwise manner. Shapes appear around this circle to indicate what is below.
Like a fish finder, different materials have different color representations.
When an object is present in the field below, a color appears according to the object's “hardness”. Generally, green is a soft reading such as plants or fish. Red is a hard reading such as a rocky bottom.
Flashers are designed for vertical jigging applications, and a key component to a flasher is the ability to detect even small jigs.
This allows you to fish with your lure at the exact depth necessary. The flasher also allows you to detect the holding depth of fish. You are also able to see a fish move in to check out your lure or jig and anticipate a potential strike.
Pros and Cons of Using an Ice Fishing Flasher
There are some considerations you should mull over if you’re contemplating purchasing an ice fishing flasher.
- Ice fishing flashers give anglers a better idea of where their potential catches are located in the water, increasing the chances of luring in a fish
- Many fish flashers allow the user to see their own movements under the water, giving insight into which kind of motions work best in luring fish
- Makes the process of ice fishing much more interesting as you can tailor your positioning and techniques to fish you know are there, rather than playing a waiting game
- An ice fishing flasher is an investment. These devices tend to be pricey, and may not be a great purchase if you’re not dedicated to using it on your fishing trips.
- Eliminates some of the surprise that comes along with traditional, old-school fishing
How do you Choose an Ice Fishing Flasher?
Ice fishing flashers come with a wide variety of features. Before you buy one, you must ask yourself what kind of features you are looking for in a unit.
There are both traditional stand-alone ice flasher units, along with units that incorporate fish-finder and GPS functions, as well.
A full-featured, all-purpose ice-flasher should incorporate these three main features. Ideally, with minimal performance sacrifice in each.
You also need to take into consideration the size and portability of your unit.
Traditional Stand-Alone Ice Fishing Flashers
On the market, exist a large variety of ice fishing flashers. Some of which resemble traditional fishfinders and others with that iconic ice flasher circular dial.
If you are a fisherman who already had a GPS and fish finder, but is looking to get more into ice-fishing, these might be the type of units for you.
For units that function as a stand-alone ice fishing flasher, you can expect optimal performance at that task.
You may sacrifice performance when you begin to combine features; such as GPS, fishfinder, and ice flasher. So if you already have some of this equipment, a stand-alone ice flasher unit might be the best option for you.
Lastly, a large factor to consider is the portability and size of your unit. For a unit that will spend much of its time in an ice house or ice shack, a large full-featured unit may be a fitting match.
However, if you plan on hiking to your ice fishing hole, or packing into a snowmobile/ATV, then size should come into consideration.
There are a large variety of sizes available, from small boat console-sized fish finders to larger suitcase-sized ice-flashers. The type of fishing you will be doing will also help in making this decision.
Do I need GPS and Fish Finder Features in my Ice Flasher?
Maybe you are still relatively new to fishing. Or maybe you just don’t have a lot of equipment built up yet. If this is the case, buying an all-in-one unit may be a better option for you.
There are several ice flasher units in production that also retain capabilities as both a GPS and fishfinder. These are generally LCD screen units with the ability cycle through the different modes of your unit.
Quick Take - The Best Ice Fishing Flashers
These are our recommendations for the best ice fishing flashers:
Review of the Best Ice Fishing Flashers
Now it is time to review some of the ice fishing flashers on the market. Getting familiar with the breadth and scope of what is on the market may help you determine what kind of features you are looking for.
The Humminbird ice flasher features several aspects that make locating a fish easier. It features a dual beam sonar, from which you can choose wide or narrow. A wide range provides a larger layout of the underwater surroundings, while a narrow range allows for great detail.
It has a depth capability of up to 200 feet, and features adjustable depth ranges, allowing you to pick from 1x, 2x, 4x, and 10x. There is also zooming capabilities, allowing magnification of a specific depth range.
The tri-color fiber optic display indicates depth scales and depicts your lure, the bottom of the body of water, and fish in real time.
This ice fishing flasher covers all the bases. It does a great job at locating fish and has several features that make it hard to beat. It’s not super bulky, making it easy to transport from location to location, and the battery is made to last for all-day excursions.
The biggest complaint among users was the sensitivity issues that may come about for smaller jigs and the amount of cords associated with the device.
A favorite among many anglers, the Vexilar ice flasher is self-described as “the world’s most popular three-color flasher/fish finder.” The design is created to be portable and comes with the “Dave Genz Blue Box,” a battery storage and transducer holding system.
It’s three color display depicts weak targets in green, medium strength targets in orange, and the bottom/strong fish targets in red. It offers six depth ranges to choose from, ranging from 20 feet to 120 feet.
The device also features adjustable sensitivity control, interference rejection technology to reduce interference from other fish flashers, and a bright LED display.
Vexilar’s ice fishing flasher is simple and effective. It may not have the same fancy features as other fish flashers on the market, but it holds the gold standard for tri-colored display flashers. It’s mega portable and the battery and transducer system come in a well-put together pack that doesn’t allow for frustration in set up.
This high-tech Marcum fish finder is on a whole other level. It’s got an 8-inch LED display that features a user-oriented “dashboard” that displays digital depth, battery voltage, range, gain, interference rejection and target adjust.
It has zooming capabilities and uses sonar footprint technology to give the user a greater awareness of fishing targets, while also reducing interference from nearby fish flashers. The display has night and daytime screen settings, made to increase visibility in a variety of conditions.
The compact device comes with a padded soft case, a rechargeable 12-volt 9-amp battery and a charger.
This ice fishing flasher is a great option for those of you looking for something that is a little more technologically advanced. The 8 inch LED screen with customizable user dashboard makes it super easy to read and use. Because this device is more high-tech, it tends to cost a little more than others on the market.
Some users did complain about it’s capabilities in shallow water, so if you’re planning to consistently fish in shallow settings, skip this one.
The Eyoyo fish finder is an underwater camera that allows anglers to view the underwater settings they’re fishing in. It features a HD 1000TVL camera, which provides a clear picture of what’s going on below the surface.
For dark conditions, the camera features 12pc Infared LEDs, which can be turned on and off depending on your fishing conditions. The camera projects to a seven inch LCD color monitor with a removable sun monitor for bright conditions.
All the equipment comes in a compact carrying case which is waterproof and easy to transport to and from fishing spots. The included lithium battery offers up to eight hours of working time for an all day fishing trip.
This is another great option for ice fishers looking to make their experience a little simpler. The Eyoyo fish finder provides real time video of what’s going on below the surface of the ice, and with the help of the Infared LEDs, the pictures are clear and bright.
If you’re planning on using this device in high currents, you may need to bring something to stabilize the camera, as it tends to spin a bit.
The Venterior Portable Fish finder is a hand-sized, simple functioning fishfinder, good for beginners on the tightest of budgets and still looking for features.
At a super, budget price, it is quick to sell, though be aware that it may lack the quality of some higher end units.
This device is able to detect rocks, weeds, and fish down to a depth of over 300 feet. The sensitivity of this unit only allows detection of fish within four inches.
This may not work for many ice-fishing scenarios when you need to be able to detect small lures and jigs. It also lacks an ice flasher feature best used in ice fishing and jigging scenarios.
This portable unit lacks many of the features and precision of other units on the market. However, for the price, this device functions as intended for a fish finder. If you desire a dedicated ice-fishing setup though, there are better options.
The next step up in precision and clarity from the Garmin Striker 4 we previously discussed is the Plus version.
The Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual Transducer offers next level target precision. This unit is more geared towards use as a boat-mounted fish finder and GPS. Yet this unit still retains the capability of being an effective ice fishing flasher as well.
The LED display screen is able to display varying options and also has a split-screen mode. Best of all, this unit is the budget-minded anglers friend for fishermen who desire a slight upgrade in quality and precision. For all these features, this product sits at an excellent price point.
For a practical angler who doesn’t want tons of different equipment, this is a good multi-purpose tool. The increased precision and clarity make this a step up from the standard Garmin Striker 4.
How to Use an Ice Fishing Flasher
For those unfamiliar with ice fishing flashers, they can appear to be confusing. However, they are actually pretty simple to read.
From a 1 o'clock to 12 o'clock position, depths will be displayed on the flasher. Colors correspond to readings from hard (such as rock) to soft (such as plants or fish).
The sensitivity an ice fishing flasher allows the user to see the location of even small jigs and lures in the water column. This is essential to vertical jigging and target fishing at depths.
Experts say that ice-fishing flashers can enhance your own fishing ability. Try experimenting with different jigging techniques and see how the fish respond.
This way you learn which jigging techniques are most attractive to fish. This allows you to use an ice fishing flasher or fish finder as another tool for your own learning.
Many also recommend learning to fine-tune the sensitivity settings, dependent on your situation. This allows for best precision and reading.
The sensitivity of your settings will depend on the size of your target species, size of your lure, and the complexity of the habitat below.
Now you have gained a little more knowledge on how ice fishing flashers work and the types available on the market. If you plan on doing any ice fishing, buying an ice flasher unit will allow you to be a much more effective angler.
When purchasing a unit, keep in mind the features that you will actually require and will put to use. Remember that stand-alone ice flasher units are generally going to have higher performance for their intended purpose, more so than multi-purpose, all-in-one units.
Now it's time to make your decisions and get ready to start learning your way around your new ice fishing flasher for your upcoming fishing season.