Ice Fishing Fish Finder Vs. Flasher What’s The Best Option?

Both devices operate on the same concept, but there are significant differences between them, and anglers should take the time to carefully compare and contrast them if they want to make an informed purchasing decision. Detailed information regarding how both gadgets work, the main differences between them, and how they can assist you in catching more fish can be found here.

Ice Fishing Fish Finder Vs. Flasher Which One is Better?


What’s a fish finder?

Fishermen use a fish detector to locate fish in bodies of water, and it is a type of electronic instrument. SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging) technology is used to do this. When fishing on the ice, where it is not always simple to find the best fishing site on the ice, it is an absolutely essential tool in today’s fishing process.

The information gathered by the fish finder from beneath the surface of the water is presented on a digital screen, which can be either CRT or LCD in design.. Today’s models are jam-packed with added functions, such as GPS, radar, electronic compasses, and other tools that make the gadget more helpful and dependable than ever before.

There are also some advanced models on the market that make use of an updated SONAR system known as CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse), which is even more effective at identifying fish in the water column than previous models.

If you’re trying to find fish in deep water quickly, a fish finder is the perfect equipment for you. In contrast, when ice fishing, a fish finder may be able to offer more power than is actually required. This is due to the fact that the features of this product are more suited to open water use.

However, if you choose a model that has a GPS, you will be able to use it to detect and mark structures or snow-covered holes, which can be extremely handy when ice fishing. Check out more about this topic through our article Using Regular Fish Finders For Ice Fishing. Is It An Option?


What’s a fish flasher?

Despite the fact that they contain a spherical, mechanical LED display with moving multicolored lights, fish flashers are not the same as fish finders in terms of appearance. These lights are intended to indicate the location of a jig strike, the presence of fish, and the depth of water beneath the transducer’s transducer.

With the help of SONAR technology, the device achieves this by sending brief pulses that are reflected back from the lake bed and other things on its surroundings. The signals that are received are subsequently converted into visual cues on the display. The mechanism is the same as that used by fish finders, but the interface is different from that used by those devices.

It may take some time for an angler who is accustomed to using a fish finder to become familiar with the interface of an average fish flasher, but once the fisherman becomes comfortable with the interface, the device becomes extremely successful at spotting fish.

Fish flashers are the popular accessory for ice fishermen since they are specifically designed to withstand the hard conditions of winter fishing. The battery in a fish flasher is designed from the bottom up to perform well in cold temperatures, allowing it to maintain its charge for a longer period of time..


Fish finders vs. flashers

At first sight, the two gadgets appear to be extremely similar, and it is not a mistake to draw that conclusion because they perform nearly identically and have the same aim, which is to make it easier for anglers to locate fish. They both have real-time SONAR, allowing you to see what’s going on beneath the ice right away. You can view the depth of the water as well as how the fish reacts to your bait.

You’ll notice that there are a few minor variations between the two gadgets if you look at them closely enough. Understanding these distinctions and determining how essential they are to you can assist you in making a decision between the two. The primary distinctions between these two devices will be discussed in further detail below, without further ado.




The most significant distinction between the two products is the display. Using a basic interface of multicolored lights, flashers may indicate all of the objects that are detected by sonar, including the bottom of the water, movement of the lure, and the presence of fish in the water, according to the manufacturer.

When using a fish flasher, the display can be customized to show every detail. Although it may not need as much experience as gazing at a fish finder graph, deciphering a flasher dial does take some getting used to. Having said that, after you get used to it, you’ll be able to read details that are simply not feasible with a finder, such as the size of the fish or how it reacts to the lure when it strikes it.

Fish flashers also have a zoom option, which allows the display to show everything that is happening in the water, even if it is only a few inches away from the bottom of the water. As a result, experienced fisherman will find the flasher to be an excellent tool.

For the ordinary angler, interpreting a fish finder graph is lot simpler than it used to be. In addition, more modern models are equipped with an RTS window that allows you to view a history of what the device has previously scanned. When fishing, this is a very handy feature since even if you take your eyes off the display and miss a fish, you will still be able to go back through the past.

When using models that do not have an RTS window, following and identifying fish movement might be a bit difficult because there is a significant delay between the time that anything occurs under the water and the time that it is displayed on the sonar graph.

It is true that information displayed on an LCD screen of a fish finder is easier to comprehend; nevertheless, it is also more difficult to see in high light when compared to the colorful LED display of a flasher.

Consequently, in terms of display, the fish flasher has a distinct advantage because it provides real-time information while also displaying significantly more information. It does, however, necessitate further practice.

Despite this, fish finders are growing better with each generation, and high-end versions are now capable of competing with the remarkable resolution and separation that flashers can provide.


Battery life

Battery life is usually preferable when fishing, especially when ice fishing, and this is an area where the fish finder has a distinct disadvantage over a fish flasher due to its lower battery life when compared to the flasher’s battery life. The primary cause for this is the huge LCD screen, which demands a significant amount of power to be illuminated.

When fishing in low-light conditions, you may improve the battery life by decreasing the screen brightness. However, unless you’re fishing in low-light settings, this can make it even more difficult to understand the information displayed.

Most fish finders on the market provide between 4 and 12 hours of use on a single charge, depending on the type, price, and battery size. However, if the temperature is low and the GPS is turned on, the battery life can be significantly worse than the above figures.

Fish flashers, on the other hand, do not require a lot of power because the simple LED display consumes little energy, allowing most units to operate for an average of 18 hours or longer on a single charge.

You shouldn’t, however, spend too much time comparing which device produces the best results. The most important thing to look for is a device with a battery that will last as long as you expect to fish. If you choose your equipment with that consideration in mind and understand its limitations, you will not be disappointed.



The key to successful ice fishing is locating the most productive areas where the fish concentration is at its peak. The use of fish finders with built-in mapping and GPS makes this process significantly easier. Newer fish finders may also include base maps for lakes as well as precise contour maps, which can be extremely useful.

It is possible to utilize the built-in GPS sensor and the maps to locate the optimal location for your holes in this fashion. Finding the ideal location with a flasher may necessitate more advance planning and the use of a handheld GPS or your smartphone to navigate.



Multi-season use

Fish flashers are developed particularly for use on ice, and as a result, they are only intended for use during a single fishing season. That is not the case with ice fishing fish finders, as there are numerous manufacturers who create high-quality multi-season fish finders that are equipped with two transducers, one for use on ice and the other for usage in open water, among other features.

It is feasible to utilize a flasher in open water, but the results will be less than satisfactory due to the sensor’s limited range of operation. While fish finders can be used while moving, they are better suited for stationary and vertical fishing than they are for horizontal or vertical fishing.


Which one is the best?

It is entirely up to you to choose which one to purchase. If catching more fish is your primary aim, neither of these gadgets will provide you with more fish than the other, as the amount of fish you catch will still be dependent on how you utilize the device. You should choose the one that appears to be the most appropriate for your fishing style.

Flashers are, objectively speaking, the better choice for ice fishing because they are designed to be fished vertically rather than horizontally. They are more sensitive, and accurate interpretations can be made in a short period of time. A fish finder, on the other hand, may be a better alternative if you’re searching for a gadget that can be used on a variety of fishing excursions. Check out our guide to the Best Fish Finder to learn more.