How To Read a Fishfinder & How Does a Fish Finder Work?

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned fisherman, you’ve probably heard about fish finders or maybe even used them in the past. However, even most people that use these devices don’t really understand how they work.

How Do Fish Finders Work

First, let’s go over what fish finders are and what they do. Basically, these fancy fishing accessories are made up of two parts – a computer/display that is placed in the boat or an angler kayak if you have a portable one, which then displays potential fish and their depths, and a transducer, which includes an underwater sensor that sends information back up to the display.

Lowrance Elite-4xDSI

Lowrance Elite-4xDSI

The display is just that – a screen display with basic computing power that takes the raw data from the transducer and presents it in a easily understandable way. The transducer is the piece that does all the work.

The transducer sends sonar waves (sound waves) down into the water. When the sonar wave hits something, it estimates the size and depth of the object, and sends that information back to the display.

Obviously these devices are meant to locate fish to assist in sport fishing, but sonar waves do not discriminate – any object will be picked up and displayed on the computer unit. So, you’ll be able to locate fish using a fish finder (hence the name!) but you’ll also be able to locate logs, rocks, shallow waters, and other hazards.

This way you can be more accurate when your throw your line off your newly acquired rod.

Many people run their fishfinders even when they’re not actively fishing, just to keep an eye out for hazards.

Ice fishing flasher are a bit different type of sonar action similar to how bats work. They send a flash sonar pulse down to the bottom of the waters and bounce back when they hit an object. The use the time it took for the signal to come back to determine depth and object intensity.

How To Read a Fishfinder

Reading a fish finder is fairly simple. They will give you a rough estimate of the depth of the water you’re in, and the shape of the bottom surface. This can be very beneficial in choosing lures, weights, and other equipment, as well as avoiding snags. But no matter what you need to be moving for it to work and see anything.

There are hundreds of fish finders on the market, ranging from $50 to several thousand for the best ones. Like so many other things, you get what you pay for. Basic models will give little more than very rough estimates, but can still be helpful. Intermediate models will offer much more accurate estimates, update more quickly, and pick up more activity. Advanced models are very accurate, and can even tell the difference between different types of fish – as well as provide accurate information on their size, depth, and trajectory.

Most decent models also include GPS capabilities, which can be very helpful. If you find a sweet spot, you can save the GPS coordinates in your fish finder for future use.

Hopefully this article has helped you to understand how to use a fish finder and how they work. If you’re in the market for a fish finder, we recommend shopping around and doing some research. There are so many models available from many different companies, and price is just one of the many factors you should consider when choosing one.

Lowrance has a pretty sophisticated set of features that is best to what a video demonstration of how to use their fish finder below: