Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fisherman, fish finders come in a wide variety of designs, sizes, and features to suit your specific needs.

Choosing the right fish finder starts with reading reviews from anglers who have used it in the past. Alternatively, you can ask your local tackle shop or online retailer for recommendations on good models. You can always buy an inexpensive model and see how well it works in practice if you are not willing to spend too much money.

Types of Fish Finders

There are two main types of fish finders: handheld and fixed mount.

  • Handheld units are portable and usually come with a small battery pack. They are easy to use and very effective at locating fish. However, they are only useful when you are standing still.
  • Fixed mount units are designed to sit on top of the boat and are powered by the engine. The advantage of this system is that it gives you a clear view of the water ahead and behind the boat. It is therefore easier to spot fish and avoid obstacles such as rocks and weed beds.

Handheld vs. Fixed Mount

For those who like to go out fishing regularly and need something light and compact, a handheld fish finder would be a good choice. These are relatively simple devices that can be used in a number of situations.

However, if you plan to take up fly fishing then you may prefer to invest in a fixed mount unit. This is because these units are designed specifically for fishing and are often equipped with extra features such as depth gauges and sonar systems. In addition, they are generally larger and heavier than handheld units.

Features To Look For When Buying A Fish Finder

When choosing a fish finder it is important to look for the following features:

  1. Accuracy – Make sure that the device has a high level of accuracy. Many manufacturers claim that their products are accurate to within 1 metre but this is rarely true. Instead, it is more likely that the manufacturer simply states that the product is accurate to within 10 metres.
  2. Range – Most fish’ finders have a range of between 50-100 metres. This means that you can cover a large area without having to move around.
  3. Depth Gauge – A depth gauge is essential for all fishermen. This allows you to measure the depth of the water below the surface.
  4. Sonar – An underwater sound detector is another feature that is becoming increasingly popular. This helps you locate fish and monitor the environment around you.
  5. Power Source – Always check whether the unit uses batteries or plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter socket. Batteries last longer and are less prone to damage.
  6. Size – Choose a fish finder that fits comfortably in your hand. Smaller units are easier to handle and are more convenient. Larger ones tend to weigh more and are harder to carry around.
  7. Price – There are plenty of affordable fish finders on the market. However, it is worth spending a little bit more to get one that offers great performance.

How Does a Fish Finder Work?

Sound waves are sent through the water by a fish finder to detect fish. Sound waves bounce off objects as they pass through the water and return to the receiver. The distance to an object can be calculated by measuring the time it takes for the sound wave to travel from the transmitter to the receiver.

The sound waves used by fish finders fall into three categories:

  1. Continuous Wave (CW) – This type of sound wave is sent continuously at a constant frequency.
  2. Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) – This type of waveform consists of short bursts of sound. Each burst contains information about the depth of the water and the location of any fish.
  3. Frequency Modulated (FM) – This type of signal is similar to FM radio signals. It consists of a series of tones which change in pitch over time. The rate at which the tone changes determines the depth of the water.

What Does a Fish Look Like on a Fish Finder?

Fish finders usually display two images on their screen. These represent the topography of the sea bed and the position of any fish located beneath the surface. The first image shows the contours of the seabed while the second displays the outline of the fish.
In some cases the fish will also appear on the screen. If this happens then the fish will be highlighted in red. You can use this as a guide to where the fish is located.

If you want to know how far away the fish is then you need to look at the depth gauge. This will show you the depth of the water above the fish.

Using a Fish Finder

There are many different ways to use a fish finder. Some people prefer to sit back and watch the screen while others like to take control. Here we will discuss both methods.

Watching the Screen

This method involves sitting back and watching the screen. When you see something interesting on the screen you press the button marked ‘fish’. This will cause the fish finder to send out a pulse of sound. Once the sound has been received the fish finder will display the outline of the fish on the screen.

You can also press the button marked “depth” to view the depth gauge.

Taking Control

You may prefer to take control of the fish finder yourself. To do this you simply press the buttons marked “fish” and “depth” simultaneously. This will activate the fish finder and allow you to view the screen. When using this method you should always keep your finger pressed down on the button until you have finished viewing what you want. This prevents the fish finder from being activated accidentally.

How to Use a Fish Finder With GPS?

A fish finder with built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology allows you to locate the exact position of the fish. This means that you can pinpoint exactly where the fish is located even if it is not visible on the screen.

  • To get started you must download the software onto your computer. Then connect the fish finder to your computer via USB cable.
  • Next open the program and select the correct settings for your fish finder.
  • Once everything is set up correctly, start the fish finder by pressing the power button. After a few seconds the fish finder will automatically switch itself into satellite mode.
  • The next step is to enter the coordinates of your desired fishing spot. This can be done either manually or through the GPS system.
  • You first need to open a map application on your computer. Here, you will be able to select from several maps, including those of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • The location of the selected area will be displayed in a small window after you click on the map for the country you wish to search.
  • When the cursor reaches an object such as a road or building, it will change color. Move the cursor around the map until you reach the area you wish to search.
  • At this point, you can type the latitude and longitude of the region you wish to locate. The cursor will change back to its original color when you release the mouse button.
  • If the coordinates are entered correctly, the fish finder will start searching for objects within the specified area. By adjusting the slider bar at the bottom of the screen, you can adjust the sensitivity level.
  • If you are having trouble locating the object you wish to target then you can zoom in closer by clicking on the magnifying glass icon at the top right hand corner of the screen.
  • Once you have found the object you wish to track you can stop the fish finder by releasing the mouse button. If you continue to hold the mouse button the fish finder will continuously update the information displayed on the screen.
  • This process can be repeated over and over again until you have located all the fish you wish to catch. Once you have caught them you can use the fish finder to help you identify which one you have caught.
  • You can also use the fish finder while trolling to determine whether or not you are catching fish. Simply place the fish finder on the side of the boat so that it faces towards the water.
  • This way you will know immediately if there are any fish close enough to the boat to be hooked.

How Do You Use a Fish Finder Effectively?

  • There are many different ways to use a fish finder effectively. One of the most important things to remember is that you should always keep the fish finder pointed away from the sun.
  • This is because sunlight reflects off the surface of the ocean making it difficult to see what is beneath the surface. Therefore, if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything you should turn the fish finder away from the sun. Another thing to consider is that you should never use the fish finder during daylight hours.
  • During daytime the light bouncing off the sea creates shadows which makes it impossible to distinguish between the shadow and the actual object being tracked.
  • Therefore, if you plan on using the fish finder during the day you should only use it after dark.
  • Another tip is to avoid using the fish finder when the wind speed is high. This is because the waves created by the wind create whitecaps which can completely obscure the object being tracked.
  • The best time to use the fish finder is just before sunset. When the sun begins to set the light bounces off the surface of the water creating a beautiful rainbow effect.
  • This means that the fish finder will be able to pick out objects much more easily than they would otherwise.

When Using A Fish Finder How To Make It More Effective?

One of the biggest problems with using a fish finder is that it is very easy to lose sight of the object being tracked. The reason for this is that the object being tracked is often hidden behind other objects such as rocks or even another boat.

  • To combat this problem you should try to position the fish finder in an area where it has a good view of the entire surrounding area.
  • If you do this then you will be able to see everything around you including boats and other objects.
  • It is also worth noting that if you are fishing in shallow waters then you should try to keep your depth settings low.
  • This is because the lower the setting the better chance you have of seeing the bottom of the lake or river.

Using a Fish Finder While Trolling for Trout

Trolling is a great way to catch trout. However, it is important to note that you need to be careful when using a fish finder while trolling.

The reason for this is that when you troll you are moving at a fairly fast rate. As a result, if you accidentally hit something then you could end up damaging the fish finder.

However, if you are careful then you shouldn’t have any issues. In fact, one of the main benefits of using a fish finder when trolling is that you can quickly identify potential areas where you might be able to catch some fish.

For example, if you spot a school of baitfish then you can move closer to them and hopefully catch a few fish.
You can also use the fish finder to help you track down schools of baitfish. If you notice that there is a large amount of baitfish in a particular area then you should probably go back to that area later on.

Using A Fish Finder On Lake Michigan

As one of North America’s largest lakes, Lake Michigan attracts many tourists because of its size.

  • Consequently, the lake attracts a wide range of boats, including sailboats, powerboats, kayaks, etc.
  • It is therefore essential to know how to use a fish finder on a boat. One of the most common mistakes boaters make is not using their fish finder correctly.
  • You should first familiarize yourself with the features of your fish finder in order to avoid making this mistake.
  • In order to locate objects on the lake, you will need to look for things such as islands, reefs, shoals, etc.
  • The fish finder should be set to the appropriate mode after you have discovered these objects.
  • As a next step, you should turn off automatic tracking on your fish finder so you can manually control its movement. Finally, you should adjust the sensitivity of your fish finder to capture a clearer image of what you are looking for.

How To Use A Fish Finder When Fishing Near The Shoreline?

When fishing near the shoreline, you should always remember to use caution. This is because the water near the shoreline is often very shallow.

As a result of this, you should never assume that you will be able to easily detect objects beneath the surface. Instead, you should focus more on detecting fish than anything else.

To do this, you should use a fish finder that has an accurate depth gauge. By doing this, you will be able to determine whether or not you are close enough to the bottom of the lake to see fish.

If you are unsure about how deep the water is, you should check out the depth gauge before you begin fishing.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How Do I Know What Mode My Fish Finders Are Using?

A: Most fish finders come with three modes. These modes are: Auto Tracking, Manual Tracking, and Depth Gauge.

The best way to tell which mode your fish finder is currently using is by checking the display screen.

If your fish finder is displaying information about the object being tracked then it is likely that it is using the Auto Tracking mode.

If your fish finder is showing information about the depth of the water then it is likely that your fish finder is using the Depth Gauge mode.

If your device is not displaying any information then it is likely that the fish finder is using Manual Tracking.

Q: Can I Use A Fish Finder While Filling My Boat With Gasoline?

A: Yes, you can use a fish finder while filling up your boat with gasoline. However, you should only do this if you are sure that the gas tank does not contain any fuel.

This is because gasoline fumes can damage the electronics inside your fish finder. As a result, you should fill up your boat with gasoline at least two hours before you plan to go fishing.

Q: Is It Safe To Use A Fish Finder In An Area Where There May Be People Swimming Or Diving?

A: Yes! If you are in an area where there may be people swimming or diving then you should feel free to use a fish finder.

However, you should still take precautions when using a fish finder in such areas. For example, you should make sure that you are wearing protective goggles or glasses when using a fish finder. Also, you should avoid using a fish finder during times when swimmers or divers are present.

Q: Does A Fish Finder Need To Be Plugged Into An Electrical Outlet?

A: No, a fish finder does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. However, some fish finders have built-in batteries. These batteries usually last for several months. Therefore, you should charge them whenever possible.

Q: How Long Should I Wait Before Trying To Start Up My Fish Finder After Turning It On?

A: You should wait no longer than 30 seconds after turning on your fish finder before trying to start it up again.

By waiting this long, you will ensure that all of the components inside your fish finder are fully charged. This will help prevent any problems from occurring as a result of low battery power.

Q: Will The Water Affect My Fish Finder’s Accuracy?

A: Yes. When using a fish finder, you should always keep the water level below the sensor.

By keeping the water level below the sensors, you will reduce the amount of noise that the sensor detects.
As a result, you will get better results when using a fish finder.


Fish finders are great tools for finding fish in lakes, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water. They are also useful for locating lost items like keys, wallets, cell phones, etc. In fact, many people prefer to use a fish finder instead of a compass when hiking through unfamiliar terrain. So, whether you want to locate a missing item or just enjoy watching fish swim by, a fish finder is a must-have tool for anyone who loves to fish.

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