Best Sonar Fish Finders For Ice Fishing on Mille Lacs Lake
Ice Fishing Mille Lacs review the best ice fishing flasher and most reliable sonar fish finders for winter fishing Mille Lacs Lake. We look at the top fish flasher locators, including Humminbird, Marcum, Vexilar, and Garmin, to find Mille Lacs ice anglers the best ice flasher for Lake Mille Lacs.
What Makes a Sonar Fish Finder Important?
What is a Sonar Fish Finder or Flasher and How Does It Work?
A sonar fish finder, or also known as a fish locator or flasher, is an electronic device that uses sound waves to discern a lake’s bottom from live fish swimming between the water’s surface and the bottom. One of the earliest retail models came from Lowrance and was dubbed the “green Box” as it came in a green suitcase style box. The model’s actual name was the Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor and featured a suction-cup transducer. The transducer stuck to the side of your boat or the suction-cup could be removed and the transducer could be screwed to a piece of wood and lowered down an ice hole.
A fish finder has a device attached to it called a transducer. The transducer is lowered into the water just below the surface, where it emits pulses of sound waves that travel through the water. The sounds waves will bounce off solid objects such as vegetation, rocks, the lake bottom, and fish. When the sound waves bounce off a solid object, they are sent back (reflect) to the water’s surface, where the transducer picks them up.
When a fish finder’s transducer picks up the reflected sound waves, it gathers reading learned from the sound waves, including determining how far and fast they have traveled. The transducer sends these readings to the flashers head unit, where the unit displays the results so an angler can view and use this information gained. A flasher will show a definite line that indicates the lake’s bottom but may also output the actual depth in units, depending upon the flasher model.
When the sound waves hit something between the bottom and the lake’s surface, it can discern between a moving object such as fish and a stationary object like the bottom or vegetation. When the flasher detects a difference between the two, the output on the fish graph’s display is different, allowing anglers to differentiate between lake bottom and rocks and live fish.
What is the Fish Finder Cone and Cone Degree Angle?
It is also worth noting that a sonar transducer sends sounds waves down to the lake bottom in a cone-type pattern. An angler should keep in mind that the deeper a flasher indicates a fish, the further out it may be from directly beneath their ice hole.
A further out fish will show up on a flasher’s display with a weaker signal, usually being a thinner line or dimer indicting color. The shallower a flasher indicates a fish, or the closer the fish is to being directly under your ice hole, the larger the display output line will be, or the display output color will show stronger.
Why Should an Angler Use a Fish Finder While Ice Fishing?
When an ice angler is able to know when fish are located within the water column beneath their ice hole, the same as hiring the best Mille Lacs Lake fishing guide, this dramatically increases the chances for them to catching fish. If an angler knows there are fish beneath their ice hole, they can work harder and do things differently to entice the fish to bite. When an angler can know there is no fish in the area, they can jig their presentation much harder, causing more noise to lure fish into the area.
Once there are fish in the area, anglers are able to slow down their jigging and start to finesse jig to bring the fish in closer, ultimately getting the fish to take the bait, while setting the hook.
What to Look For When Shopping for a Fish Finder?
When it comes to ice fishing a lake like Mille Lacs, anglers should consider a few aspects before selecting which flasher to purchase. A few key points to consider include.
When ice fishing Mille Lacs Lake, the number one point provided above to consider is ruggedness and durability. Mille Lacs is a big lake, which requires anglers to travel longer distances and, in most cases, over rougher ice conditions than smaller lakes. Whether an angler is staying at a Mille Lacs resort or renting a Mille Lacs fish house, heavily ice fishing Mille Lacs Lake during the cold winter months will take a heavier toll on all of your equipment, but more importantly, it puts stress on fishing-related electronics.
- Ruggedness and durability
- Portability and weight
- Battery type (acid or lithium)
- Sonar only or Sonar GPS Combo
- Size of display
- User controls and functions
A Mille Lacs ice angler tip is, the more advanced a flasher is, the more delicate internal parts it will have. Fortunately, ice flasher manufacturers have become much more advanced when it comes to shock-absorbing and protecting internal delicate electronic components. However, the flashier the flasher, the higher the chance of something failing after a three-mile run behind a four-wheeler or snowmobile on a below zero-day.
Even when brand new, when it comes time to pack up and leave after a long cold day on the ice, not many anglers meticulously pack away their flasher. The ducer is pulled up and packed into its space wet, and the covering case gets zipped up with crusty ice on it, then the flasher is dropped into the sled for the ride back to shore.
Reviewing the Best Flashers for Ice Fishing Mille Lace Lake
Ruggedly Economic Fishfinder/Flasher Options
We recommend two good flasher options for the Mille Lacs angler on a budget and fishes hard and fast.
MarCum M5L – Lithium Equipped Flasher System
The most high-level sonar flasher built, the MarCum Technology “M” Series features a dead-quiet brushless performance with a dazzlingly sharp and freshly colored rendering of Mille Lacs’ lake bottom, living fish, baitfish, bugs, and your bait. All illuminated with the crispest resolution display possible in a commercial-grade flasher. Keen .75-inch target separation precisely distinguishes each object on its screen so that anglers can discern even the most precise separation of Mille Lacs walleyes and perch.
- TrueColor Brushless Lighting
- Eight Foot, Dual Beam 8 and 20 Deg. Ducer
- 2500 Watts, Peak to Peak Output Power
- Target Separation Down to 3/4-inch
- Twelve-step Interference Rejection
- Infinite Adjustable Zoom (Zooms anyplace everywhere in the water column)
- BRUTE Lithium 12V 10amp Battery
- Three Amp Rapid Charger
Vexilar’s FL18 Genz Pack 12 Deg Ducer
Legendary ice flasher manufacture Vexilar’s FL18 Genz Pack comes with a 12 volt, nine amp battery with charger, a 12-degree transducer, and fully assembled. The FL-18 features a split-screen display, allowing anglers to zoom-in to the lake bottom within six feet while watching the rest of the depths for active Mille Lacs walleyes or perch.
The FL-18’s Auto Zoom mode allows anglers to see fish that hold tight to the bottom. Target ID is less than 1/2″ with a built-in shallow water mode depths under fifteen feet. It also has five depth scales, ten-step interference rejection, and a three-color LED readout with green for weak, orange for medium, and red for strong.
The Genz Pack will hold a 12v battery, optionally attached a rod holder by screwing it into the plastic case, and will sit on top of a five-gallon bucket.
- Height 8.75 Inches
- Length 11 Inches
- Width 9.5 Inches
- Weight 10.23 pounds
Highend and Hightech Ice Flashers
MarCum LX-7Li Lithium Combo
MarCum’s LX-7LI is a real invention in “large picture” ice sonar. From its interactive panoramic 8-inch LCD user controls, the LX-7LI possesses one of the best flasher on-screen user digital dashboards. The fully customizable user dashboard displays in any combination the depth output, battery health, sonar gain and range, IR (interference rejection), or target focus.
The LX-7LI has customizable windows the include the water-column vertical, vertical zoom, flasher-dial, and conventional parallel LCD graph layouts. Its Sonar Footprint technology features a scan area at any depth, allowing anglers to adjust between 8 degrees or 20-degree transducer cone angles. All this tech firmware can easily be updated using the LX-7LI’s USB port.
- 8″ Flat Panel LCD
- 8′ Dual Beam 8/20 Deg. Transducer
- 4800 Watts Peak to Peak
- Target Separation down to 0.5″.
- 12-Step Interference Rejection
- Infinitely Adjustable Zoom
- MarCum Lithium Shuttle
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv Ice Fishing Bundle
The World’s Best GPS Handheld Manufacturer Garmin offers the 6″ ECHOMAP™ UHD 63cv flasher/graph is made for ice or open water. Feed by a high-wide CHIRP ice ducer with selectable beamwidth delivers sharp, pure objectives with excellent target separation. The 6″ ECHOMAP™ UHD 63cv features a built-in flasher mode that provides accurate jig and fish detection. Its ice fishing flasher mode raises the flasher’s frequency for higher quality imaging.
ECHOMAP UHD 63cv works seamlessly with ClearVü scanning sonar technology for realistic imagery. It also has a keyed interface and comes with LakeVü g3 mapping preloaded with over 18,000 lakes. Build custom display pages that link sonar, flasher, and GPS into one. All this while being wrapped into the best rugged, glove-friendly carrying case.
- ECHOMAP UHD
- ICE FISHING TRANSDUCER
- BUILT-IN FLASHER
- LAKEVÜ G3 MAPS
- CUSTOM COMBOS
- SUPPORTS SCANNING SONAR
- CARRYING CASE
Our Pick for Best Overall Flasher for Mille Lacs
Humminbird Ice H7 Chirp GPS G3N
The Fifty-Year Veteran of Fish Finding Innovation, Humminbird features the revolutionary ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3 and GPS fishfinder unit. This flasher is hands down the best flasher for Mille Lacs ice fishing! Its Dual Spectrum CHIRP Digital Sonar displays things the other flashers will not capture or pickup. Anglers will easily see singular fish, attain greater ranges and depths, and distinguish between bait and hard surfaces with ease. Anglers can even use their ICE HELIX to recharge their best Mille Lacs glow walleye jigging spoons and hooks using the new Jig Charge Mode.
The H7 Chirp’s flasher and 2D sonar features are high-resolution. The ICE HELIX 7 G3 allows anglers to get the XI 9 1521 Dual Spectrum ICE Transducer, which covers a 15-21° cone and operates at a staggering 130-250 kHz. The ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3 gives anglers year-round capabilities as it can be used in the winter and summer. The All-Season option includes all necessary components to mount on your boat for open water use.
Combine the Humminbird ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3 with the new Ice Defence Pro Series ice hole deicer, any Mille Lace ice angler will be ready to locate and catch walleyes ad perch.
- Full-color, 7″ High-definition LCD monitor
- Dual Spectrum CHIRP Digital Sonar
- Flasher and traditional 2D sonar modes
- SwitchFire Sonar
- Six Interference Rejection options
- Built-in GPS
- Built-in Humminbird Basemap with over 10,000 lakes
- AutoChart Live real-time mapping
- Micro SD Card Reader
- High-speed, lag-free LCD with 8X’s zoom
- Built-in cord wrap
- Soft-sided case