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Over the past few decades, electronic gadgets have revolutionized the ice fishing industry. Things like ice fishing flashers and finders have taken much of the guesswork out of fishing, allowing you to place your bait or jig exactly where the fish are.
However, it can be hard to choose a good flasher or finder, especially if you’ve never used one before. With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of the best ice fishing finders and flashers available.
What Is the Difference Between Flashers and Finders?
If you’re new to the game, you probably don’t know the difference between an ice fishing finder and a flasher. With this in mind, we decided to start this article with a short comparison to help you decide which is the better option for you and your needs.
For starters, both ice fishing flashers and ice fish finders are designed to help you show things like the depth of the water, the fish that are in the area (and where they are), and the way these fish are responding to your efforts.
However, that’s about where the similarities end. Flashers generally use a much simpler display. They can show you exactly what you want to see with their multicolored lights and a fully-adjustable dial. Of the different types of ice fishing locators, flashers are the most complicated and the hardest to get the hang of, but they’re also great because of the amount of detail they can show.
On the other hand, those who want a simpler option will benefit from ice fishing finders. They generally use a scrolling display that shows what has happened in the water for the past few seconds or so.
What Are the Best Ice Fishing Flashers?
Our list of the best ice fishing flashers includes a range of great options that are perfect for beginners and experienced fishermen alike.
#1 Vexilar’s GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack 12Deg Ice-Ducer Combo
The Vexilar GP1812 is one of our favorite mid-range ice fishing flashers. It comes with a more traditional display and offers both quality and durability. On top of this, it boasts a user-friendly control panel and is a great choice for beginners.
The main thing that stands out about this ice fishing locator is its impressive zoom settings. These allow you to focus on the exact area you want to, targetting down to the individual fish level.
#2 Vexilar FLX-28 Ice ProPack II Locator
The Vexilaar FLX-28 Ice ProPack II Locator is another of the more expensive options on this list, but its impressive features more than justify the price tag. It comes complete with a digital depth readout, auto range setting, and battery voltage alerts.
Additionally, the FLX-28 boasts a great 300-foot range. This makes it a perfect choice for those who regularly fish deeper waters.
But really, the thing that really stands out about this ice fishing flasher is its great display. You can choose from five color palettes, switch between day and night view, and adjust the screen brightness, among other things. Overall, it’s certainly worth spending the money on the FLX-28 if you can afford it.
#3 Humminbird ICE-35 Three Color Flasher
The Humminbird Ice-35 three-color flasher is a great choice for those looking for a budget option. It’s small and simple, but it costs a fraction of the price of some of the larger ice fishing flashers available.
At the same time, the Ice-35 ice fishing locator is powered by an impressive 526 segment, 3-color fiber optic LCD display. Again, it’s not fancy, but it’s a reliable option that does what it needs to.
Additionally, it’s small and compact with a great battery life. This means that it’s the perfect option for hiking and fishing in hard to get to locations.
#4 Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System/Fishfinder
The Marcum LX-7 is a more expensive option than the M Series flasher. However, it comes with a much more versatile display and a range of powerful settings.
For example, the LX-7 allows users to view the depth, battery level, range, and target adjust settings, among other things. Along with this, the LCD sonar display comes in full color. It shows a vertical profile of the water column, zoom options, and a traditional flasher dial.
If you can afford it, we’d really recommend upgrading to the LX-7. Its large screen and powerful sonar have been reported to be among the best available and I’m yet to hear a true negative review.
#5 Marcum M1 Series Flasher
The Marcum M1 Series Flasher is another great choice for those who want a basic, yet reliable ice fishing flasher that comes with the basics. It comes with an impressive range of features that set it out above the pack.
For starters, it’s renowned for its clear, bright display which allows you to easily differentiate between the bottom, fish, and baits. You can also define your noise rejection settings and select the depth range you want to look at.
#6 Humminbird 410970-1 ICE Helix 5 Fishfinder
The first ice fishing locator on this list is the Humminbird 410970-1 ICE Helix 5 fishfinder. It comes complete with a five-inch screen and a color TFT display.
One of our favorite things about this flasher is the fact that it includes a great range of viewing options. For example, it allows you to view both 2D sonar and flasher information on the same screen at the same time.
Additionally, the battery life of this model is impressive. Some people have reported several days of fishing without having to charge it, making it a great choice for multi-day trips.
What Are the Best Ice Fishing Finders?
Although ice fishing flashers are great, inexperienced fishermen are usually better off with an ice fishing finder. We’ve listed some of our favorites below to help you make a choice.
#1 Garmin Striker 4
The Garmin Striker 4 is a great ice fish finder for those on a tight budget. It comes with a built-in flasher so that you can view your data exactly the way you want to.
On top of this, the Striker 5 includes a GPS and waypoint map to help you find your favorite fishing spots. It has a great battery life, but some users have reported having to buy a separate ice-transducer.
#2 Humminbird Helix 5 Fish Finder
Like the Humminbird ice fishing flashers, this Humminbird Helix 5 ice fishing finder is a powerful option for those with more money to spend. It includes an impressive five-inch split-screen display that’s great for bright days.
Additionally, it comes with a built-in GPS chart and the ability to add custom maps and save waypoints to an SD card.
#3 Marcum LX-6S Sonar System
The Marcum LX-6S has the ability to act as both an ice fish finder and a flasher. This means that it gives you the best of both worlds. And, it includes impressive display settings that allow you to customize your interface.
The LX-6S is expensive as far as ice fishing finders go, but you get what you pay for. If you can afford it, it really is a great option for pinpointing exactly where the fish are.
#4 Humminbird 410170-1 PiranhaMAX Portable Fish Finder
The PiranhaMax boasts an impressive dual beam depth sonar. It comfortably reaches depths of 320 ft (455 kHz) and 600 feet (200kHz).
Along with this, it boasts a small, compact display that makes it perfect for fishing remote areas. This certainly isn’t the fanciest ice fishing finder, but you won’t find anything better for the price.
#5 Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Ice Fishing Bundle
This ice fishing locator is a great choice for those looking for precise jig and fish detection. It features preloaded LakeVu HD maps of over 17,000 lakes and supports ClearVu scanning sonar.
At the same time, it comes with a built-in CHIRP transducer designed specifically for ice fishing. In our experience, this provides a clear picture of exactly what’s happening beneath the ice.
#6 Lowrance HOOK² Ice Fishing and All-Season Pack
This combo pack comes with a broadband sounder, CHIRP sonar, and impressive autotuning tools to help you get the most out of your fishing efforts. It comes with screen options ranging from 4″ to 12″, allowing you to select the size that suits your needs.
Unfortunately, this unit doesn’t include a split-screen display. However, it’s still a great option for a range of general ice and normal fishing uses.
#7 Humminbird 410970-1 ICE Helix 5
The last ice fishing finder on our list is yet another Humminbird model. It boasts a powerful split-screen display and flasher view, along with a dual spectrum CHIRP ICE transducer.
It’s certainly one of the more expensive options we’ve looked at, but it’s worth every cent. It even comes with a built-in GPS and Humminbird Basemap.
What Ice fishing Flasher or Finder Should I Use?
Ultimately, the best ice fishing locator for your needs will depend on exactly what you’re planning to do with it. Devices with dual finder/flasher capabilities are always a good choice if you can afford them, but make sure that you do your research before committing to any one model.
Good luck and tight lines!