I've had an Eskimo Shark for a few years and I love it, I'm not a fan of the aluminum handles on it, they have given me an issue or two but customer service is outstanding. Can't comment on the EVO, other than I think they are gimmicky, but I love their six sided insulated hub. Works great for my family trips or just going out by myself. Sets up easy and there is a ton of room.
Welcome to Fishing Minnesota!
Using a flasher in open water is way more difficult then using a regular depth finder! It takes a lot of study time to really learn to recognize what it is showing you!
Basically anything marked even slightly off of the bottom is likely a fish unless there is a lot of floating weeds etc. in the water column.
I suggest that you get out on the ice with your friend this winter and use his flasher through the ice. You will very quickly learn to adjust the gain settings and learn to recognize fish under a controlled depth condition!
If possible have someone that is familiar with his flasher model go with you and show you how to operate it.
Once you learn to read a flasher your fish catching rate will go way up!