7 Best Ice Fishing Flashers + Buying Guide

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If you’re an inexperienced Ice fisher then you’ll probably be wondering what a flasher is, simply put a flasher is what fishermen use to find fish under the water using sonar technology.

Having a flasher can often be make or break when it comes to how much success you’re going to have when fishing. 

Once you have a full understanding of what a flasher does you’ll have a much better time catching fish with a lot more consistency than you previously would have.

I mean surely it is one of the most annoying things when you’re thinking that you’re about to settle into a lovely day of fishing and then there happens to be no fish in the area that you’ve set yourself up in. 

With a flasher that problem goes away, with its use of sonar technology, you’ll find that the only thing left to blame if you still haven’t caught a fish is yourself.

Luckily for you we have gathered all of the information that you’ll need to know about flashers before going off and purchasing one that might not be right for you.

After all one flasher may do a certain thing really well but all of the other features on it may be subpar.

Let’s get started.

7 Best Ice Fishing Flashers

1. MarCum Flasher System M5

MarCum Flasher System M5 Flasher System, Black/Red

First up we have the MarCum Flasher System, this flasher makes absolutely zero noise so you won’t have to worry about startling the temperamental fish.

It also has a high color definition, this feature paired with the .75” targeter gives the user of this flasher the best chance at catching fish because it will alert you at the exact moment a fish will start to pester your bait.

It can be a difficult read during heavy snowfall so it is important to take that into account when purchasing, this can quickly be fixed however, by checking if the area you’re going to be fishing in is expecting heavy snow fall during your time.

It also features a precision tuned dual beam transducer allowing you to switch up between 8 and 20 degree cones which you previously may not have been able to do.

Pros:

  • Silent
  • High color definition
  • .75” targeter

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to read during heavy snowfall.
MarCum Flasher System M5 Flasher System, Black/Red
  • True color patented mbc brushless lighting display
  • 2500 watts peak to peak output power
  • Dual beam 8/20 degree ice transducer

2. Humminbird ICE-55 Six Color Flasher

Humminbird ICE-55 Six Color Flasher with LCD

Maybe you are looking for a flasher that is easier to use than some of the other more complicated ones whilst still giving you a more indepth look of what’s below the ice with lots of different options for viewing.

This flasher features a 2D sonar combination view on the very same screen, it has the ability to show you lure and the fish history, these features are great for notifying you what may be turning some fish off the area which can help you perform at a higher level.

The sonar feature offers beam options which will help you more finely tune the coverage for the area you are in giving you more specific readings.

It also features a 6 color display which can help if you are unfortunately visually impaired.

In fact the only criticism we can find of this flasher is its carrying case but this is only a minor inconvenience.

Pros:

  • 6 color display
  • Beam options for more specific sonar readings
  • The fish history feature is a must have

Cons:

  • The carrying case
Humminbird ICE-55 Six Color Flasher with LCD
  • Dual Beam Sonar: Choose from a narrow and a wide beam for great detail or a generous coverage area,...
  • 6-Color Fiber Optic Flasher Display: Indicates bottom, fish and your lure in real-time, with...
  • Ice Target Line: Use the Target Line to mark the exact depth of any point on the flasher dial. A...

3. Vexilar FL-18 Ice-Ducer Combo

Vexilar GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack 12Deg Ice-Ducer Combo

The Vexilar Fl-18 has an incredibly high performance and possesses features that are great for both beginners and experts at ice fishing. It will allow its users to zoom up to 6 feet below without losing sight of the water activity in real time.

The performance of the Vexilar FL-18 is incredibly well defined when you are using it on ice however it will be hindered if you are using it on a boat.

It has a 3- color LED system which tells you the strength of your target using different colors.

This is particularly useful when trying to catch fish such as panfish, bass and walleye, this is due to the zoom feature being able to spot bottom dwelling fish as well as the color coding for the fish’s strength.

Pros:

  • Can Zoom 6 feet below water
  • Works great on Ice
  • 3 color LED system.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t perform very well on a boat.
Vexilar GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack 12Deg Ice-Ducer Combo
  • Country Of Origin : Japan
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 8.75 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 11 Inches

4. Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher

Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher

The Humminbird ICE-35 flasher makes it onto this list because of the quality of the features that it possesses. Again both inexperienced and experienced fishermen will find these very useful.

It features a high frequency sonar that can pick up fish that are 200 ft under the water level. It also features a zoom function that will allow users to focus on the water column and provide them very detailed readings.

One of the best features of this is that before you purchase it you can give it a test to show you how well it can perform via demo mode.

The only downside of this flasher is that it cannot read the temperature of the water.

Pros:

  • Demo mode that lets you try before you buy
  • Zoom function
  • Sonar that can check depths of 200 ft underwater.

Cons:

  • Cannot read the temperature of the water
ON SALE $18.84 OFF
Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher
  • Dual Beam Sonar: Choose from a narrow and a wide beam for great detail or a generous coverage area,...
  • 3-Color Fiber Optic Flasher Display: Indicates bottom, fish and your lure in real-time with a bright...
  • 2X Dynamic Zoom: Magnify your view of a specific depth range and rotate the dial to change the area...

5. Garmin Striker Plus 5cv

Garmin Striker Plus 5cv with Transducer, 5' GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional and ClearVu...

The Garmin Striker plus is an ice flasher that experienced ice fishers think is one of the best flashers on the market today. It has a built-in GPS finder that will maintain exactly where you are regardless of your place in water.

The GPS feature allows its user to place waypoints at different locations so you can return to them whenever you want. It is also specifically made to be used in any type of weather you may find yourself in. It also has a large screen that gives you a very clear view of the depths of the water that you are fishing in.

You can also pair this with Garmins CHIRP sonar and will allow you to catch more fish than you even think of being possible.

In the very very cold temperatures the performance of the flasher may be hindered.

Pros:

  • Can be paired with Garmins CHIRP sonar technology
  • Has a GPS feature
  • Large screen that will allow you to read the depths of the water you are fishing in

Cons:

  • In extremely cold weather the performance may be hindered.
Garmin Striker Plus 5cv with Transducer, 5" GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional and ClearVu...
  • Includes transducer for built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar plus CHIRP clearer scanning sonar
  • Built-in Garmin quickdraw contours mapping software lets you create and store maps with 1’...
  • Built-in GPS lets you mark waypoints, create routes and view boat’s speed

6. Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on...

The Deeper Pro+ if an aesthetically pleasing flasher is what you’re looking for then look no further than this one here. It features a very high end solar technology that gives you both depth and temperature water readings that ice fishers find extremely helpful.

It features a weed location system and even how thick the weed is which is detected by its built-in GPS.  When looking at the sonar readings you can even find exactly where the fish are. 

The only thing that hinders its sonar technology is the fact that it has to be half in the water and half out of the water for it to actually work. It will also need quite a thick rod due to its weight if you want to cast it deep into the water. 

Despite that the Deeper pro+ is very good for fishermen, an extra feature is that it will save your data so you can always return at another point. 

Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Built in GPS
  • Stores your data.

Cons:

  • Will need to be both half in and half out of the water for sonar technology to work.
ON SALE $79.01 OFF
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on...
  • HIGH SPECS AND ROCK SOLID CONNECTIVITY: Casts out up to 330ft and scans down to 260ft. Precise 0.5in...
  • BUILT-IN GPS: Create bathymetric maps from the bank, boat, canoe, kayak. Access all your scans,...
  • REAL-TIME DATA: Two beam frequencies with 15 scans per second. View depth, see bottom structure and...

7. Garmin Striker + 4

Striker Plus 4

Like the previously mentioned Garmin flasher, the striker +4 can be paired with CHIRP which will give you the best sonar readings that you can get. The sonar technology gives you the most accurate targeting to date.

It also features a GPS system giving you the ability to plot waypoints which you can return to later on in the day or perhaps at a different date. It also comes with a bag that you can carry it in as well as 3 different mounts for the transducer.

It also has Garmin Clearvu sonar which is better for use in the summer if you swap the transducers. It features a 3.5” screen to give you the best readings that you can get.

It also comes with a charger and a 9AH battery to help you with your usage of the flasher.

Pros:

  • 3.5” screen
  • GPS
  • 3 different mounts for the transducer.

Cons:

  • Will need to be charged before usage but it does also come with a 9AH battery. 

Ice Fishing Flashers Buyer’s Guide

Fish Finder vs Flasher

A flasher and a fish finder can both show depth or whether any fish are in the surrounding waters The actual screen display is the biggest difference between the both of them.

A flasher will have a very simple dial often with colored lights that will show what the sonar technology is finding. The water column will be displayed circularly which may be confusing at first but you will get used to it after a while.

A fish finder uses graphs that may be easier to understand at first. The GPS technology and the powerlife of a fishfinder usually put it on top of most flashers.

Most fishfinders have an RTS window that will show performance history. It is important to take this into account when it comes to making your final purchase.

Durability

To check the durability of a fish finder isn’t difficult, it should be standard that it can withstand little bumps and knocks just due to the materials that it is made with. It shouldn’t crack if it is accidentally dropped on land.

It should also give you accurate readings at sub zero levels. If your flasher struggles at sub zero levels then it is probably time for you to invest in a new one as this will be a massive hindrance in the overall enjoyment of your trip.

If your flasher doesn’t work at sub zero levels then you will struggle to use its sonar technology to detect any fish and will have absolutely no idea of what may be swimming around below you.

The flashers that are listed above all provide great readings with sonar technology at very low levels of temperature.

Portability

How portable your flasher is is very important when it comes to making your final decision. You don’t want to take equipment that weighs you down on your journey to your fishing location.

However you should make sure that the flasher you are purchasing is sturdy but make sure it doesn’t weigh too much for you to carry comfortably. Many of the above stated flashers do come with a carrying case which will help with its portability but also can prevent it from becoming damaged if its dropped for example.

The carry case will also make it much easier to carry than those that don’t come with a case to carry it. This isn’t necessarily as important as what the features of the flasher are but it is important in regards to your overall comfort of your experience.

Battery Life

Battery life is obviously important to the flasher as it the last thing you want is it to run out of battery and you’re only half way through your planned day of fishing.

Luckily all of the above do come with good battery life and an ability to charge them, so it is important for you to charge your flasher before going on your trip to avoid any issues of it running out of life and not working on you.

The battery life can also be impacted by the cold weather so in regard to ice fishing it is important that when purchasing one you make sure that you have the right one for the type of fishing you are going to be doing as it can make or break your enjoyment.

Resolution

This is with regards to how easy the flasher is to read. Obviously at first you may find it difficult to understand exactly what you are looking at, this is normal when it is your first time using one or perhaps you’ve just bought a new one that doesn’t read in the same way as your old one did.

It’s good to find a flasher that has a screen split as this can make the information that you are reading much easier to understand if you are struggling with that.

It is also important to take into account what type of screen works best for the weather that you are going to be facing, many of the them are color coded to give you the most accurate readings but if you can’t make something out clearly then you are going to struggle understanding the information that is being thrust towards you.

Color coding can help massively when determining the strength of the target that you have locked on to and it can also help with determining how much effort you need to use when reeling in your catch which is obviously helpful in regards to fatigue.

Features

The features of you flasher are hands down the most important part when it comes to determining what flasher is best for your specific needs, many of the flashers feature built in GPS system which are issvely helpful when determining where is the best spot to fish at during your time out on the ice.

It is also good if you have a flasher that can store data which may be useful to you at a later date such as fish history so you will know exactly the type of fish you will be encountering and be the most prepared for them.

All of the above flashers have sonar technology but some technology is much better than others and can perhaps look much deeper into the water for you which you may find as being the most useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a fish finder for ice fishing?

Technically speaking you can use a fish finder and in some cases may work better than a flasher. However, flashers are much more useful in terms of how portable they are and the above listed ones are specific for ice fishing so shouldn’t struggle in the very cold weather in comparison to a fish finder that may have been best used for summer fishing.

What is the best flasher on the market?

Generally speaking they are all very good, some are good at somethings while others are better at other things, it all depends on what features you find best suit to your specific needs, if you are inexperienced you might want one that is easier to read while if you are more experienced you might like ones that look deeper into the water.

How important is the portability of a flasher?

Due to the heavy equipment that you need while fishing the weight of the flasher is important as you don’t want to needlessly add lots of weight to you if you do not have to.

Last update on 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Ric Burnley

Author of The Complete Kayak Fisherman, Ric Burnley is a reknowned angling writer having been published in Kayak Angler Mag, Sport Fishing Mag, Paddling Mag, and Outdoor Life. Ric has entertained and informed thousands of anglers through his writing and seminars.