So you’re all jazzed up about your fishing trip, but unless you read the best ice fishing flasher for the money reviews, you’re setting yourself up for failure and the fish will just laugh at you. Seriously, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned angler, the best ice fish finder reviews will not only help you get the best bang for your buck but also make sure your fishing trip is a success.
Fish finders and flashers have gone through decades of innovations, modified to best serve the angler’s purpose and significantly improve his fishing experience.
If you’re on the fence about which fishing device to buy, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about fish finders and flashers and our value picks, helping you make an informed decision.
Three-color flasher sonar technology
Three-color flasher sonar technology
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder and Flasher For The Money Buying Guide
The last thing you would want is to end up buying a device that doesn’t do much help or something that doesn’t really match your requirements. Unless you know what to look for in the best ice fish finders and flashers, you won’t be able to reap the full value out of your investment. Before taking the plunge, here’s what you need to know about fish finders and flashers.
What’s a Fish Flasher?
If you’re a newbie, a fish flasher may seem like nothing more than a mysterious piece of equipment. At first, you will notice a wheel of color, which is quite impossible to interpret. Essentially, a fish flasher is far from being a contraption. It is a portable sonar fishing gadget, which is used to detect any object within its beam.
How To Read A Fish Flasher?
The flasher shows different colors, which represents the size of the target: green for smaller fish, yellow/orange for medium-sized targets, and red for big ones.
The sonar beam in flashers detects the target and its interaction with the jig, helping the angler position his rod to raise his chances of having the fish take the bait. Flashers also help anglers see the movement they can make with their jig to lure more fish, making the entire experience more entertaining rather than merely waiting for the fish to take the bait.
Ice Fishing Fish Finder vs Flasher?
As far as getting more fish is concerned, neither one can get you more fish than the other, as that will have to largely depend on you. Ice fish finders and flashers have virtually the same functions, which are to ensure a seamless and accurate operation.
Flashers are designed for fishing vertically and are more sensitive in picking up tiny jigs. Accurate interpretations are also made relatively quickly. However, there are newly-emerged ice sonar fish finder models that already have built-in flashers and CHIRP sonar advantages, which allow for better target identification even at faster boat speeds and greater depths, giving you the best of both worlds.
Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder and Flasher Reviews
Now that you’re done reading our short guide, let’s proceed with our review. We understand how important it is to get the right device to help you out when you want to reel the biggest fish in the lake, so without further ado, here’s a rundown of the best ice fishing finders in 2018 and how our only ice fish flasher pick compares to them performance wise.
The Striker Plus 5 Ice Fishing Bundle is the 5-inch unit of the Garmin Striker series, somewhat resembling the echoMap 53dv to a certain extent, but offers better sonar with its cutting-edge CHIRP technology. It uses essentially the same control head unit as its close family member, the Garmin Striker 5cv. While the Striker Plus 5 Ice Fishing Bundle lacks certain features such as a microSD card reader, plotter, and NMEA connectivity, it remarkably makes up with its more waypoint-coverage and important price cutback.
Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice Fishing Bundle sports a rugged design to withstand tough fishing conditions and maintain optimum performance. Its 5-inch WVGA color display, with an 800x480-pixel resolution, offers excellent readability, helping you distinguish certain object shapes and forms underwater easily.
It has an adjustable LED backlight, providing easy readability even in bright daylight and from sharp angles. It’s also IPX7 waterproof, which means that it can tough out incidental water exposure, such as splashes or rain.
Garmin STRIKER Plus 5 only uses mid- and high- CHIRP for 2D, however, its ClearVü also uses CHIRP technology, unlike the Hook 5 and HOOK-7 from Lowrance, for instance, which only offer CHIRP for 2D sonar, but not for DownScan.
2D CHIRP sonar
Using the 2D CHIRP sonar, the transducer utilizes two conical beams, one of 15-inch for 200 kHz, which is for lower depths and more precise detail, and one of 45-inch for 77 kHz, which is intended for more coverage but lesser detail.
The 2D CHIRP is beneficial for spotting fish targets, allowing you to detect when there’s a bigger fish target into a bait ball, or if a certain sonar return is several fishes close together or a bigger fish alone. What sets it apart from the traditional 2D sonar, is that it can modulate each echo over a wide range of frequencies, offering higher penetration and a more accurate detail.
ClearVü, on the other hand, is perfect for observing the shape of the bottom of the vessel, or various structures that pass under it. And since this Striker unit has CHIRP ClearVü, the detail that this type of sonar offers is relatively clear, which is safe to say, quite close to the clarity of a photo.
GPS and Waypoints
Mark Spots with High-sensitivity GPS
The Garmin Striker Plus 5 Ice Fishing Bundle is designed with a high-sensitivity internal GPS receiver, which can hold up to a maximum of 5,000 waypoints. It lets you view your current coordinates and determines your boat speed accurately.
It also allows you to mark waypoints for your favorite fishing spots, or other areas of interest, delegating various indicative icons to each of them.
Garmin Quickdraw Contours
2. Lowrance HOOK2-5 Fishfinder Ice Machine Pack with SplitShot 2-in-1 Sonar
If you have searched far and wide for the best ice fishing finder, the HOOK2-5 Combo Ice Machine by Lowrance is one of your best bets. Among the best portable fish finders for ice fishing, it’s a must-have for seasoned and recreational ice anglers alike who are looking for great performance from a fishing device that is simple yet powerful.
The HOOK2-5 combo is replete with useful features, such as its exclusive portable ice fishing system, special ice mode software, a built-in US basemap, multitouch touchscreen, to name a few.
The Lowrance HOOK2-5 Combo Ice Machine is built with a super-bright 5-inch color SolarMAX Display and a no-fade viewing detail, giving you a clearer visibility of what’s happening below the surface.
The HOOK2-5 Combo Ice Machine is one of the best-value products you can find, considering the gamut of ergonomic features that it comes with: accessory-zipped pockets, weather-proof soft-side pack with zippered rear and front access, adjustable display platform that you can elevate for easier and better viewing, quick-access lure storage, among others.
While its battery leans a bit on the heavy side, it won’t scare you away, as a full charge can last you up to more than three days. Its over-all package size can fit in a 5-gallon bucket, which is another plus.
For the most part, the device is not too complicated to use even for novice users. It comes with a menu-select feature, which is quite straightforward. Its multi-window display lets you choose pre-set page layouts pretty quickly and allows you to view three panels simultaneously.
GPS and TrackBack Feature
3,000 waypoints, preloaded C-MAP US Inland Mapping and C-MAP US Coastal Mapping
The HOOK2-5 Ice Combo comes with a built-in GPS antenna that allows you to store up to 3,000 waypoints, and a preloaded US basemap that displays the coastal charts and more than 3,000 rivers and lakes. Each chart shows crucial details, such as depth, shoreline details, points of interest, best fishing spots, among others. The device also has a TrackBack feature that lets you mark your favorite fishing spot, allowing you to navigate back to it easily.
2-in-1 CHIRP Sonar, Autotuning Sonar
Lowrance HOOK2-5 Ice Combo is engineered with SplitShot 2-in-1 sonar models, gives you CHIRP sonar technology, Downscan or Sidescan Imaging which works remarkably for detecting and differentiating the fish and bait targets, helping you target the fishes at much-heightened resolution easily. You can see in vivid detail what exactly is going on underwater.
Autotuning Sonar gives you the best image by automatically adjusting sonar settings as water conditions change.
The HOOK2-5 Ice Combo is capable of sending multiple frequencies simultaneously, letting you see more fish targets with less clutter.
In your quest to find the best ice fish finder, you may have had to meticulously read through each and every ice fishing fish finder review you can find. It all ends here.
Boasting flexibility and functionality, the Humminbird ICE Helix 7 deserves a good spot on our list, sitting at a reasonable price point yet packed to the brim with exclusive features that are unlike any other. It goes beyond merely scratching the surface, providing you with precise depth and detail underneath the ice.
Its high-precision GPS chart plotting allows you to mark hotspots and locate them again even when the weather already warms up.
The Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP fish finder boasts a straightforward, robust design. Its 800x480-pixel display and LED backlights provide a high-resolution viewing experience. IPX7-rated waterproof, the Helix 7 comes with a removable casing, an NMEA connectivity, a port to connect to GPS accessories, and a microSD card slot, which allows you to store screenshots.
The Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP fish finder is equipped with a dual-beam CHIRP SONAR, which provides you with a better insight into the fish position compared to the traditional SONAR. Its transducer can maneuver in up to 1,500 feet underwater. Some users have taken it with them to deep-sea fishing and it didn’t disappoint.
GPS and Charts
This Humminbird ice fishing fish finder is designed with a built-in GPS module and is supported by the UniMap charts of US coastline, rivers, and inland lakes.
Bird’s Eye View, AutoChart Live
Its Bird’s Eye view features allow you to get a 3D shot of your location. When you pair it with a Navionics chart chip, it can host an AutoChart Live, allowing you to get a detailed map of an entire lake. This provides you with the ability to accurately map the depth of any body of water, which is perfect if you’re a professional angler.
Its GPS system allows you to save up to 2,750 waypoints and 47 routes for navigation and get back to them whenever you want. It also comes with a selective Fish ID feature, which uses fish symbols instead of arches, making reading a lot easier.
If you are on the market for the best ice fishing flashers under 500, then this fish flasher by Vexilar is the ideal choice for you. It has a simple, user-friendly design and a rugged exterior made to take a pounding. It is popular among budget-conscious seasoned and novice anglers alike, as it is already assembled completely and comes with an instructional video in case you’re not sure how to use it yet.
Ice fishing icon Dave Genz did a good job in making the Genz Pack virtually indestructible by adding a universal transducer holder system and reinventing the battery storage compartment.
Three-color LED display
The FL-18 Genz Pack comes with a fully-enhanced battery storage compartment, instructional video, and a universal transducer holder system. It features its famed three-color sonar flasher, which displays your strong targets in red, medium targets in orange, and weak ones in green.
The unit is equipped with super-bright LED technology, which enables clear visibility even in direct sunlight. What this means is that you can enjoy using the ice flasher both in the winter and summer days.
Its LED technology allows you to view the fish targets and other structures beneath your vessel, so you can strategically position your boat where fish targets are usually most abundant. The Vexilar FL-18 is not only a depth finder, it does an excellent job finding fish as well!
Genz Blue Box
The Genz Blue Box is able to contain a full line of accessories, which include the flex light, battery status indicator, and a dual beam transducer. The Genz Pack features a specially-designed base that can fit on top of a 5-gallon bucket and a pre-tapped transducer support eye-bolt hole.
Exclusive Interference Rejection Technology
Engineered with a built-in Interference Rejection switch, the Vexilar FL-18 Genz Pack is ideal for use both during the winter and summer. Its six-depth range settings allow you to fish down up to 120 ft. Its Interference Rejection Technology provides you with absolute versatility, letting you fish side by side with any flasher, LCD, LCR or graph sans any interference.
The eight-step, adjustable switch enables you to remove any interference between you and another depth finder. This technology allows you to use two depth finders simultaneously within the same boat and have two Genz Pack units close together without being bothered by any annoying interference.
Vexilar FL-18 Genz Pack comes with an ice-ducer transducer that works by transmitting and receiving sonar waves and picking up the signals that bounced off of underwater objects. The transducer then accepts the signal as data, then translates it into an image that the user can view and understand.
MarCum’s vanguard LX-7 has significantly taken fish hunting on the icy water to a whole new level. Reflecting over a decade of cutting-edge design transformation, the LX-7 has been revolutionized with the perfect synergy between digital fishfinding technologies and sonar DNA from MarCum LX Flasher.
Flaunting a foolproof, ingenious design and updatable software, the LX-7 has all the markings of an incredible ice fish finder.
Vertical Zoom, Widescreen Graph, and Circular Flasher
The Marcum LX-7 Fishfinder features a large, 800x600-pixel screen, with an excellent resolution, allowing for easy reading of the display. One of the most essential features of a fish finder, the screen allows up to five windows for underwater viewing.
It includes a vertical zoom, widescreen graph, and circular flasher. It is a crucial component, as it will help you clearly differentiate between fish targets size-wise. You have four color palettes to choose from: one gray-scale, one six-color, and two three-color. Its six-color scheme allows you to get an in-depth date on the size of the fish.
Sonar Footprint Technology
Its multifaceted Sonar Footprint Technology is powerful enough to reach deep areas. It shows the scan area regardless of the depth, with either 8° or 20° transducer cone angles, providing the precise view of fish targets within the periphery of the transducer and your bait.
It also intelligently prevents other sonar users (non-Marcum) within the perimeter to pick up interfering LX-7 pulses by steering clear of the "footprint” area.
Customizable Settings/ Upgradable Software
Featuring excellent adjustability and customizable capabilities, Marcum LX-7 is a hit among veteran, recreational, and novice anglers who don’t mind paying a fair amount to ensure their fishing trip is a success.
With its wide range of settings, you can easily customize the fish finder to make it suit your fishing needs and conditions. You can adjust the zoom feature to get a clearer view of small targets, fine-tune the sensitivity to detect smaller targets, traverse between cone angles, change the color indicators of the target, modify the level of IR, and many more.
The software is upgradable to enhance the performance of the device, allowing the user to take advantage of the latest technology. There are three angles available to choose from, including 8 to 20°. To achieve the best results, you can customize the settings according to your task.
The Humminbird ICE Helix 5 and Garmin Striker 5 Plus are definitely neck and neck for the top spot.
While the Helix 5, given its unique and ergonomic features, is popular among many users, its ice fishing GPS capabilities stop short of picking up waypoints. The Garmin Striker 5, on the other hand, covers a lot more waypoints and offers excellent readability; and for all the features it provides, it is amazingly modestly priced.
The other ones on our list also are also a great choice, as far as their respective features and price ranges are concerned. A good rule of thumb is to assess your existing fish finder/flasher device and get the one that truly suits your needs.
We hope that with the short guide about best ice fishing fish finder flasher and review we just made, we are able to help you weigh your options properly.
My name is Alex D. Allen, and I’m a professional fishfinder researcher and fishing enthusiast. You’re probably on my website in search of a fishing device that can help make your experience a lot easier and more productive; or perhaps, just trying to glean information to get a wider understanding of what fish finders are and how they can benefit you. Whatever your purpose may be, you’ve come to the right place.