The fact that your favorite fishing spot has become frozen doesn’t mean you have to wait for the warmer months to fish again. Ice fishing is a favorite activity of several anglers like myself because it poses different opportunities and challenges. However, you will have to invest in the right ice fishing tools to get the best experience.
One tool that will come in handy during your ice fishing trip is an ice fishing flasher. Ice anglers invest in this device because it takes away the guesswork involved in locating fish beneath the ice. There are several models of ice fishing flashers for you to choose from today.
To streamline the process of finding the best ice fishing flasher, I will be reviewing the top 5 available on the market in this article. I will also be adding a buying guide and other relevant information. This is the most detailed article of all ice fishing flasher reviews, so don’t go anywhere.
IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…
|Best Ice Fishing Flasher||Product||Depth||Weight||Buy|
|TopHumminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher||200 feet||2.6 lbs||Check price|
|MarCum M5L - Lithium Equipped Flasher System||160 feet||2.68 lbs||Check price|
|Vexilar PP1812D FL-18 Pro Pack II||300 feet||6 lbs||Check price|
|Vexilar GPX1212 Inc||120 feet||11 lbs||Check price|
|Vexilar GP1812 FL18||200 feet||12 lbs||Check price|
Table of Contents
Reviewing The 5 Best Ice Fishing Flashers
I have done extensive research on the different models of ice fishing flashers to shortlist the top 5 ice fishing flashers. So, let’s take a closer look at each of them:
Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher
The Hummingbird Ice 35 will give any ice angler a much higher chance of catching fish thanks to its fantastic features. To start with, the fish flasher offers a 100W RMS and 1800W peak-to-peak power output. The transducer also provides highly detailed information by operating at two frequencies and beam angles. These include a frequency of 455/240 kHz and 19 degree and 9-degree beam angles.
Additionally, the zoom feature will make it much easier than ever for you to zoom in on your target fish. Using the zoom dial, you will be able to choose between 1x, 2x, 4x, and 10x depth ranges. However, its maximum depth is 200 feet. The fish flasher also has a 2.5-inch target separation that will help you detect even the smallest fish. Increase the device’s take a closer look at little prey.
To view the readings, you will have a 526 segment, three-color fiber optic display. The screen doesn’t display a user interface but I found it detailed enough to help anglers distinguish between different objects without fuss. Also, the display won’t be affected by cold weather thanks to the ultra-modern LCD screen. It will remain clear and concise at all times.
Furthermore, the fish flasher weighs just 2.6 pounds and can be fitted in a 5-gallon bucket. So, you should find it easy to carry around. As for the battery life, the battery should last for an entire day at full charge. The device is also to use. The buttons are well arranged and labeled while the screen displays concise information. Finally, there is a noise button that will help you prevent other fish finders from interfering with your device.
MarCum M5L – Lithium Equipped Flasher System
What you need to become a better angler is well-detailed information and you can trust the M5L to deliver it. All the features in this ice fishing have been selected to help you catch fish. The device will provide you with the information you need on a dazzling bright screen thanks to the TrueColor patented MBC Brushless Lighting.
One feature that makes this product stand out is its ¾ inch target separation. On the ice, this level of sonar clarity will enable you to easily distinguish between fish and underwater structures. When you locate a school of fish, the technology will help you catch the biggest fish in the group.
Additionally, the device is equipped with a dual-beam transducer to provide users with a clear idea of underwater conditions. You can adjust the beam angle to focus on fish close to the lure by simply pushing a button. The device also features a patented zoom technology that can be moved all over the water column. This will provide you with the accuracy and freedom to hunt different species of fish.
Another patented feature in this device is the 12-step interference rejection system. This means that the device can be combined with a 200 kHz sonar or any other frequency. Also, the device is powered by a high-quality lithium battery. Unlike regular batteries, this battery is both lightweight and long-lasting. So, it will power the device through extended fishing sessions without adding excessive weight.
Vexilar PP1812D FL-18 Pro Pack II
The Vexilar FL-18 Pro Pack II is an upgrade to the FL-18. “Blue Box”. In the package, you will find an FL-18 unit, a 12-degree transducer, and a Pro Pack II, a bigger carrying case that features a DD-100 depth sensor. Let’s proceed with a breakdown of the most notable features of the PP1812D.
To begin with, this ice fishing flasher is equipped with a 12-degree Ice Ducer which is a single frequency transducer (200 kHz). It also transmits a beam with a coverage of 12 degrees. A foam floater has been included for enhanced stability in the water. While the device doesn’t have a temperature sensor, it makes up for it with a maximum depth capacity of 300 feet.
Additionally, this ice fishing equipment comes with a 3-color, 525-segment, LED display. Information from the transducer beam is displayed by the sonar in real-time. This means that a green (smaller fish) or orange (bigger fish) segment will approach the thin green segment (lure) whenever a fish attacks. The three main functions in the device include Gain Control, Mode Setting, and Range Control.
Furthermore, you can use the carrying case as both a mount and a hard surface. You will get various compartments for your fishing tools, a rob holder, and a tackle box. There is also a special storage space for the battery. As for the battery life, you should expect between 16 to 36 hours depending on the settings. The Lower Power Mode will save you lots of power.
Vexilar GPX1212 Inc
With the GPX1212, Vexilar brings a modern ice fishing flasher to users at an affordable price. The items that you will find in the package include a carrying case, a 12V battery, and a fully automatic charger. There are several things to like about this product and we will be going through each of them below.
Let’s start with the display. The company utilizes brushless data transfer technology to create a screen that remains clear and readable on sunny days. There is also a unique night mode that makes it easily readable at night. The flat surface is designed to prevent the build-up of rain and snow. It provides an increased viewing angle too.
To operate this simple device, all that you will need are two control knobs. It has five different depth ranges up to 120 feet for you to choose from. I also like the 20 steps of interference rejection (IR) as it blocks interference from nearby devices. What’s more, the device is suitable for open water use, and it comes with a 12-degree IceDucer transducer.
Furthermore, the device isn’t equipped with a DD-100 that provides information on depth and battery but you can add it later. You will be able to carry this ice fishing flasher around in a five-gallon bucket. Also, you will find a rod holder in the package though there is room for two. Vexilar has specially built the unit so that it can be used straight out of the box.
Vexilar GP1812 FL18
The final product on the list is the highly-rated GP1812 FL18 from Vexilar. As you should have noticed from the list, Vexilar is a leading manufacturer of quality ice fishing gear. You will find several positive reviews on the GP1812 FL18 on Amazon.
One of the best things about this ice flasher is that it comes assembled. So, you can take it on an ice fishing trip right away without worrying about how to put it together. To save you more time, an instructional video has been added to clarify how the device is meant to be used.
Another great feature is the patented split-screen display. It will provide you with a magnified view of the final while showing the entire water column at the same time. The ice flasher has five different depth scales ranging from 20 to 200 feet. This will be enough for most recreational anglers.
Additionally, the LED technology makes the device easy to use. It displays varying colors depending on the nature of the prey. The base of the device also fits perfectly in a five-gallon bucket so that you can transport it easily. You will be able to install all sizes of Ice-Ducers thanks to the built-in transducer holder system. Finally, the new design makes the battery easy to access.
Our Top Choice
It took long hours of extensive research but I have finally reviewed the 5 best ice fishing flashers on Amazon. But if you asked me for the overall best ice fishing flasher, I would pick the Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher. It is simply the dream of every ice angler.
Though the other products on the list also offer great value, none of them can match the performance of the Ice 35 Humminbird. It will give you a clear view of your target fish, lure, and the bottom of the water. Some of its best features include a dual-frequency sonar, 2.5-inch target separation, wide-range zoom, and 200 feet maximum depth capacity.
If you would like to continue fishing in the warmer months, consider checking out the best fish finders under 200.
How To Choose The Best Ice Fishing Flasher
Ice fishing is a tricky activity for both beginners and experienced anglers but fortunately, it can be simplified with the right gear. This is easier said than done though since several anglers don’t have the experience or time to search for the ideal ice fishing gear for their needs.
I’ve created this guide for anglers that are unsure of the features to look out for in an ice flasher:
Though most ice fishing flashers carry out the same tasks, there are some advanced models. In addition to providing basic information on underwater activities, the best ice fishing flashers utilize smart technology to improve the catch ratio of users.
For example, a fish flasher with a customizable display will enable you to choose the readings that you see on the screen. If you don’t have the experience needed to take advantage of this feature, you should opt for a model with easily readable default settings.
The importance of having a quality transducer can’t be overemphasized as most of the vital details will be delivered by it. It sends out the sonar waves and helps locate fish at great depths. Additionally, you should consider getting an ice fishing flasher that comes with a transducer holder system. This will enable you to use transducers of different sizes in the future.
The split-screen is a helpful feature that is usually found in devices with larger screens. An ice fishing flasher with a split screen will show two different modes simultaneously i.e. sonar mode and live underwater mode. This will give you a clearer idea of the activity of the fish and ultimately increase your catch ratio.
You will have to keep moving from ice hole to hole when ice fishing. As a result, your ice fishing tools have to be lightweight and compact. Most manufacturers include carrying bags in packages to make it easier for ice anglers to transport ice fishing flashers. These carrying bags also tend to fit inside five-gallon buckets.
Since you will be fishing at sub-zero temperatures, your ice fishing tools should be able to withstand extremely cold temperatures. This is a major reason why you need to choose a flasher over a regular fish finder. Ice fishing flashers are specifically built for the cold, so they last longer.
You just have to ensure that your device has the strength to withstand bumps on its way down the water column. It should also remain in good condition if it ever falls accidentally.
Most models are powered by batteries and this raises an issue as batteries drain faster in cold conditions. Hence, you need to opt for a high-quality, long-lasting battery. Several combination packs feature a battery and a charger, but you can get an extra battery if you want one. I would recommend that you get yourself a lithium battery, this is the best available.
Lighting and Resolution
Regardless of the lighting or weather condition, your ice fishing flasher should always be easy to read. You should ensure that your device remains easy to read whether it is sunny or cloudy. The screen should have a high resolution too.
The size of the cone will determine how far the sonar beam can travel and the area it can travel. Narrow cones produce beams that travel into the deeper parts of the water while the beams from larger cones cover wider areas. So, you should choose your cone size based on the type of fish that you are after.
Target separation simply refers to the ability of a sonar device to distinguish between two objects. The smaller a flasher’s target separation, the better it will be at distinguishing between two fishes or a fish and your lure. It is measured in inches.
You will need to make a significant investment to get a high-quality ice fishing flasher. But if you can afford one, you are guaranteed to get good value for money. The best ice fishing flashers are long-lasting and they will also ensure that you don’t run out of fish all winter.
What Are Ice Fishing Flashers?
An ice flasher is a fishing tool that is similar to an ice fishing fish finder. But while ice fishing fish finders show the different shapes below an angler, ice flashers feature clock-like circles. In a flasher’s circle, you will see the depth of the water increase in the clockwise direction. Shapes are also displayed close to the circle to depict underwater activities.
Ice flashers are highly suitable for vertical jigging and can detect even the smallest jigs. So, you will be able to place your bait at the exact depth that it is meant to be. The device will also tell you the depth that the fish is located. You will get to see the movement of the fish towards your lure or jig too.
Watch this video to learn some useful ice fishing jigging motions:
How Does an Ice Fishing Flasher Work?
Ice flashers operate with the aid of sonar technology and it allows them to detect objects beneath the ice. In other words, the depth of the water is measured using sound waves. The device is made up of three main parts, they include the power pack, screen, and transducer.
To kickstart the process, the power pack transfers electrical energy to the transducer. The energy is then transformed into sound waves by the transducer. After that, the sound waves are transmitted down the ice hole in form of a cone. Echoes will be generated as the sound waves collide with objects underwater and they will be picked up by the ice fishing transducer. Finally, the echoes are then broadcasted as signals to the screen.
Are you a fan of kayak fishing? If yes, check out the best kayak fish finders.
Getting Started With Your Flasher
In this section, I’m going to explain the basics of using the device. Place the transducer inside the hole, let it be around a foot deep. After that, turn it on by switching to the first depth which is usually 20 feet. You will see a red bar if the device has been immersed deeper than 20 feet.
In such a situation, you will have to switch the device to the next depth range. Your goal should be to get only a few inches of red. The readings will change as the dial adjusts to the sensitivity of the ice fishing sonar.
Your fish flasher will tell you the location of your lure and the distance between the fish and the bottom of the water. It can also assist you in identifying your prey. Turn the device up when targeting smaller prey and vice versa.
After detecting the overlay depth scale, you need to know when the fish is approaching your lure. The interference rejection (IR) button will come in handy in this regard. It will ensure that your display remains clear and free of distortion. Another feature that you will find in some fish flashers is the zoom feature. It will enable you to magnify your view by at least five feet. You should watch out for these two features as they will make it much easier for you to find a favorite fishing spot.
How to Read an Ice Fishing Flasher?
After learning how to set up your ice fishing flasher, the next line of action will be to learn how to read it.
Your flasher’s screen will display vital information such as the bottom of the water body, your bait, nearby fish, and underwater structures. You will be able to identify each of these objects based on the color displayed. For instance, green bars will appear on your screen when the flasher is dropped in an environment with lots of vegetation. If you see green and yellow lines, it means that fish is nearby. Also, the fish is close to the bottom when you see red and yellow lines.
You will see the colors changing as your lure goes deeper into the water, so you will know when it reaches the bottom. A large red area will represent the bottom of the water column. I recommend that test your flasher in different ice fishing holes to get a better understanding of what the colors represent and how they can help you catch more fish.
Additionally, the most effective way to locate fish with a flasher is to find the bottom circumference and cone angle of the ice fishing flasher. These pieces of information will tell you how close the fish is to your lure. For instance, your cone will have a width of 5 feet when you fish in a hole that is 20 feet wide.
The width of the cone will change to 10 feet if you move to 40 feet deep hole. You will get a strong signal when the fish is directly under the fish flasher and the reading will feature a thick red line. On the other hand, you will get a weak signal when the fish is outside the cone.
An ice fishing fish flasher is designed not just to show you underwater activities but to also tell you the perfect time to drop your lure. After detecting the presence of fish, you can trigger a bite by working your lure a little bit. The closer the fish moves to your lure, the thicker the line will become. This will be particularly beneficial as you will know the exact moment to use more force. You will also no longer have to waste your time guessing the location of the fish and when and how to react.
You may also watch this short video on how to read an ice fishing flasher if you prefer a video demonstration:
Evaluating the Condition of Your Hole
You can also detect the hardness of the bottom of a fishing spot with a fish flasher. The importance of obtaining this information is that fewer fish are found at harder bottoms. If the line on your screen is completely red or you can only see thin green lines, it means that the bottom is rock hard and can’t be penetrated by the sonar. Soft bottoms are represented by wide bands and there are usually lots of fish feeding in such areas.
Additionally, you can get greater mobility with an ice flasher. To locate schools of fish, you will have to continue moving from one hole to the other. The device will help you check more ice holes in lesser time. Without a flasher, you will spend more time on each hole and you may not even find anything. A flasher will also make it easier for you to target various species of fish as you will have more time to switch your lures.
Here are some tips for safe ice fishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best ice fishing flasher?
The best ice fishing flasher for you will be a product that has all the features that you need for ice fishing. You can check my buying guide to learn about the right features to look out for in an ice fishing flasher. But if you don’t have the time to spare, I recommend that you get the Humminbird Ice-35 Three Color Flasher. It has all the features that you will need to catch more fish.
Are ice fishing flashers worth it?
An ice fish flasher will be an excellent investment for any ice angler, especially one that does lots of fishing in winter. Ice fishing flashers are designed specifically for ice fishing. They offer more value than ice fish finders because they provide real-time information on underwater activities at an impressive resolution.
Is an ice fishing flasher a necessity for ice fishing?
No, you can fish through an ice hole without an ice flasher. The primary tools that you will need are a fishing rod, hook, line, and lure. However, you will have no idea about the location of the fish or the depth of the water without a flasher. So, while an ice flasher isn’t a necessity, it makes ice fishing easier and more rewarding.
Is a camera better than a flasher for ice fishing?
No, an ice flasher is a much better choice when it comes to ice fishing. Underwater cameras are only effective when the lighting, depth, and water clarity are favorable. So, they have no use under a sheet of ice.
Can I use a regular ice fish finder for fishing?
A regular ice fish finder can be used for ice fishing, however, this won’t be possible without a conversion kit. So, you will have to buy one separately unless you own an advanced fish finder with ice fishing capabilities. Still, even the most advanced fish finders can’t match the performance of a dedicated ice fishing flasher.
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