How Flasher Sonar Works

flasherFor a long time now, the flasher sonar has been quite a popular item among ice anglers. This particular type of sonar unit is used to reveal objects within the water through a circular screen. For a beginner, the flasher sonar can seem to be rather complicated, even for some seasoned anglers it not always easy to use the unit to its full potential.

The best and most effective way to use the flasher sonar is to first understand how it works. The following are the steps and processes of how the flasher sonar works.

Dropping the transducer

Once this device is plugged into an turned on, it is then dropped into the ice hole. In case you have an older model of the transducer, it important that you ensure the device sits on the ice in such a way that it is either at or underneath the edge. This is because, if one fails to do so, the signal that bounces off the ice might create a clear picture. In addition, new models of the device tend to give way better readings.  The picture is of a Vexilar flasher, which is one of the top sellers in the flasher market place.  They make rugged and ice fishing specific flashers meant for cold weather.

Setting the Range

Depending on the kind of flashers one is using, one can get readings between various ranges of water depth levels. In case you have done some research in regards to mapping out the area using Smartphone, GPS or sonar unit, then it will be a bit easier to approximate how deep you are fishing. In order to attain the best reading, the bottom depth has to be set where the following deepest range setting is, in accordance to its actual depth. Lest say the depth is 25 feet, then the bottom depth should be set at 30 feet.

Adjusting the gain

Basically the gain refers to level of power that the transducer can give out. The device is responsible for the sonar signal that travels through the transducer all the way down to the bottom of the lake then back up again. The amount of gain required depends on the depth of the water. One has to start by tuning or setting the gain until there is some significant interference. From here, one has to gradually ease up on the tuning till the screen begins to clear. This is what will provide the gain together with the best indication of anything that could be in the water.

Zooming in

When it comes to the flasher sonar’s resolution, for a good resolution, one has to focus on specific areas. The zoom found on each flasher works somehow differently, so it is best that before using the flasher you read the instructions carefully.  Zooming isn’t always necessary, since an unmagnified view will give readings from the bottom to the surface.


The other thing with the flasher sonar is that, when you drop the lure down into the whole, there has to be clear visibility on the screen. A bar is what will represent the lure. The general idea is make the bar appear as thin as it can possibly be. This is done through fine tuning the gain. The reason this is done is for one to be distinguish the movements that appear on the screen. Any line that appears in between the bottom depth and the ice is most likely to be the fish.