Ice Fishing Fish Finder – What’s Different?

When it comes to ice fishing these days, no other tools have had a greater impact than electronics. Among them, fish finders and flashers have proven invaluable for anglers, regardless of their skill level, by significantly enhancing their ability to catch fish consistently.

Nevertheless, with the market overflowing with a wide array of really good gadgets, selecting the right one has become a challenging task. Amidst the noise of promotional content and unreliable reviews, finding the best ice fishing fish finders may seem challenging.

One of the trickiest decisions to make is whether to opt for a flasher or a fish finder. In this article, we’ll look at what’s so different and good about fish finders and why they’re great for ice fishing.


The primary difference lies in the display, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference. Flashers feature a simplified dial with colored lights, which effectively represent various elements detected by the sonar beneath you, such as the bottom structure and the presence of fish. A flasher allows you to observe details ranging from fish size to their interaction with the lure.

On the other hand, most modern fish finders offer a display that includes a real-time scrolling chart with an RTS (Real-Time Sonar). This chart presents a history of recent sonar readings, which proves beneficial if you happen to look away momentarily as a fish moves by.

Both types of these gadgets provide impressive levels of detail, and with some practice, they are pretty easy to understand. Flashers excel in providing immediate and real-time information. However, fish finders have made significant advancements in taking care of the needs of ice anglers, offering comparable features and benefits.

Battery Life

A notable drawback of using fish finders for ice fishing is the relatively poor battery life it offers. Their bright screens consume a significant amount of power, leading to diminished battery performance. While you can adjust the display brightness to conserve battery, it becomes challenging to view the screen on sunny days.

Depending on the specific model and battery capacity, you can anticipate approximately four to 12 hours on a single charge. However, this duration represents the best-case scenario. If you have features like GPS enabled or if it’s really cold, it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain the device throughout the morning fishing period.

Conversely, flashers boast simple displays that consume minimal battery power. A flasher will let you fish the entire weekend without concerns about recharging. Most flasher units offer a battery life of 18 hours or more if it’s fully charged, ensuring extended usability without interruption.

GPS and Mapping

Fish finders equipped with integrated mapping and GPS capabilities greatly facilitate the process of locating fish. Nowadays, most advanced fish finders come with preloaded base maps of various lakes, as well as contour maps that are surprisingly detailed. By using the built-in GPS and maps, you can effortlessly position your fishing holes over submerged points or reefs, enhancing your chances of finding fish.

In contrast, when using flashers, discovering new productive areas beneath the ice necessitates additional planning and possibly the use of a separate GPS device for assistance.


A high-quality ice flasher can cost at least $280 – $700. Typically, a good quality fish finder for ice fishing is going to be between $200 – $750. As you can see, there isn’t much of a difference between the two.

There you have it—the difference between ice fishing fish finders and flashers. Now you can decide for yourself whether or not you want one and how much you want to spend on it.