Published on November 18th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
Ice Fishing Finder & Flasher For Your Winter Season 2018
One of the first steps you need to take to start ice fishing is getting the right gear. Here, we give you some of the ice fishing flasher for the money for a start. Along with our top picks, we give you a guide to finding the right one.
Why do you need an Ice Fishing Finder or Flasher?
If you want to get the most of your ice fishing trip, you might want to invest in an ice fishing flasher. This is a portable sonar device that will help you see what’s below the ice, thus helping you see if there are any fish in your area. The best flashers will also have a proximity indicator. Rather than going in the water blind, with a flasher, you will increase your chances of catching more fish because you will know where to target.
Ice fishing flasher vs. Ice Fishing Finder
If you are a ice fishing beginner navigating your way around the web, you might come across the words “ice fishing finder”or “flasher”. Sometimes they are used interchangeably which could get confusing. Basically, an ice fishing flasher is a type of ice fishing finder. A flasher is different in the way that it displays information. In most cases, ice fishing fish finder will have a flasher feature.
What to consider when choosing the best ice fishing flasher
When choosing the best ice fishing flasher or fish finder, there are certain factors you want to consider. Here are some to help you choose what’s best for you:
Great quality transducer
Any good ice fishing finder or flasher depends on the quality of the transducer. It is what sends and receives the sonar energy which is translated to what you see in the water. A good quality transducer can give great signals and provide accurate readings of what is in the water. To know more about how they work, you can read here.
What’s the frequency of the transducer?
Another very technical thing to consider when choosing the best ice fishing finder is the frequency it sends. The higher the frequency, the better detail you get. Fish finders come in single, dual, and even triple frequency transducers. Nowadays, the best ice fishing sonar uses CHIRP, which stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse.
Plastic transducers are great because they don’t retain fluid and they are great for most weather conditions. For more intense fishing escapades, you might want transducers that are stronger like stainless steel or bronze.
The power source or wattage is another important detail to look into when finding the best fish finder or flasher. Higher power allows for a better, faster, and more accurate readings. When considering the power source, you should also consider how long the batteries last and how long it takes to charge.
Ideally, you want a flasher that is compact and lightweight so you can transport and manage it easily. It’s not such a big deal for ice fishing, but it might matter if you’re on a kayak or boat. Also, you wouldn’t want to be lugging around a heavy flasher on ice.
The higher the resolution, the clearer the images or data will be on the screen. You might also want to consider how the screen is in bright or dim conditions. The best kinds will allow you to see the data clearly in all sorts of conditions.
For ice fishing, consider a backlit display since you’re most likely fishing in dim conditions. Your screen could be showing you loads of fish but if the screen is unclear, it’s pointless!
Black and White or Colored?
Another thing to consider about the display or screen is color. Colored screens are easier to read because different colors represent different things. A colored screen is also easier to read in the darker conditions.
Ice fishing flashers don’t come cheap. They cost hundreds of dollars which is quite intimidating especially for beginners. However, seasoned anglers know that a good flasher is an investment. You’ll only get your money’s worth if you really plan on fishing or ice fishing for a long time. Other than that, with ice fish flashers, you generally get what you pay for. Just make sure to look into the features closely and make sure to consider the previous factors when choosing.
5 of the Best Ice Fishing Flasher for the Money
#1 Humminbird ICE Helix 5 Chirp Sonar GPS G2 Fishfinder, 5″
Humminbird is probably one of the most notable brands for fish finders. They have a wide selection for you to choose from and the Ice Helix series is specifically for ice fishing. The Ice Helix 5 Chirp Sonar GPS G2 Fishfinder, for us, is one of the best ice fishing fish finder out there.
- Its most notable features are the CHIRP Digital Sonar and the Dual Spectrum Chip Transducer. These features allow you find fish so easily and clearly.
- It comes in a portable carrying case which also acts as a protective case for the device. It’s definitely one of the best portable fish finder for ice fishing.
- The high-resolution display is very clear and crisp. The colors are very bright and clear as well.
- It features a built-in map that includes over 10,000 lakes and U.S coastal coverage.
- You can do live mapping with it.
- It comes with a micro SD card slot so you can store and keep mapping cards.
- The interference rejection settings can prevent other sonar signals to fill your screen.
- A bit pricey.
- It might take some time to get used to all features.
#2 Garmin STRIKER 5 Ice Fishing Bundle
When we hear Garmin, what comes to mind first is probably GPS. They have GPS systems for all sorts of activities including ice fishing. It’s not usually the first choice for ice fishing but it definitely deserves more credit.
The Garmin Striker 5 Ice Fishing Bundle has a CHIRP sonar system which makes it great contender. Not to mention, it comes at a pretty cheap price. If you ask me, the Striker 5 Ice Fishing Bundle is the best ice fishing flasher under 400 bucks. That’s a pretty cheap ice fishing finder if you ask me!
- CHIRP Sonar System
- The kit is very portable.
- You can keep track of up around 5,000 waypoints
- It’s a pretty cheap ice fishing flasher!
- The screen has LED backlighting for easy readability.
- It does not have a memory card reader.
- It does not have charts.
#3 Vexilar GP1812 FL-18 Genz Pack 12 Degree Ice-Ducer
Another major manufacturer to look out for in the world of ice fishing is Vexilar. They also have many options for different purposes but we find the Genz Pack 12-degree Ice Ducer to be one of the best for ice fishing. It is simple and straight to the point with its 3-color LED tech and three knobs (gain, mode, and range).
Another notable thing about this fish finder is the Vexilar system that it has a great accuracy and enables you to see where your bait is. Being very simple and direct to the point, we believe that the Vexilar Genz Pack 12 Degree Ice-Ducer is the best entry level ice fishing flasher.
- The colors are also very bright and great for both bright and dim days. You can adjust the brightness to night mode or day mode.
- It has a long-lasting battery
- The gain, mode, and range knobs are very direct to the point and easy to use.
- It seems very solid and durable.
- The box is designed to fit on a 5-gallon bucket. It’s really convenient that it does.
- It doesn’t have maps or a GPS like the others.
- Being a traditional device, it is not as versatile as the others.
- No protective case or box.
#4 Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder – LX-7
Marcum Tech was born out of a passion for fishing. It has grown over the years to be a very well known brand for flashers and rightfully so. The Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing sonar system/fish finder might be a great choice for those starting out. It’s easy to use and read because of the details on the screen. Marcum is definitely top-of-the-line and it kind of shows on the price tag.
- Great display with clear screen resolution.
- Easy to read data and dashboard.
- Great interference rejection system.
- It uses 12 volts and 9-amp battery which is powerful and long-lasting.
- So many features that make it a very versatile device. It’s great for all season fishing.
- It’s generally easy to use but customization takes time to get used to.
- It’s very pricey.
#5 Lowrance Elite-5 Combo Ice Machine w/PPP-18I Kit
Last but definitely not the least, the Lowrance Elite-5! Lowrance, a company created by passionate anglers, has been around since the late 1950’s. Since then, they’ve just always focused on bettering their products to help anglers.
The Lowrance Elite-5 Ice Machine is a really great performer. It operates on 200 kilohertz and has a sonar coverage of over 300 meters.
- Excellent battery life. On a full charge, you can go for days of fishing.
- It has a built-in ice fishing GPS and a chart plotter.
- Great display with bright and clear colors.
- It comes with a weatherproof pack for easy carry.
- The touchscreen can sometimes be frustrating especially with the gloves on.
- Not always available. It can be hard to find.
Ice fishing will never be the same once you’ve found the best ice fishing fish flasher or fish finder. Though the options we’ve provided are great in their own right, for us, the best would have to be the Humminbird Ice Helix 5. It’s just the whole package really – great sonar, easy to use, great visibility, built-in map, micro SD slot for more storage, and more. It may be a bit pricey but it’s really a great investment.
Whichever you decide to purchase for yourself, just make sure you will read the manual. As with anything, you just need to get used to the device so you use all the features it offers. Reading the manual can be really helpful in making you utilize it to its full capabilities.