How to Read a Humminbird Fish Finder

How to Read a Humminbird Fish Finder
Humminbird fish and depth finders are electronic tools designed to maximize time spent on the water fishing. Humminbird fish finders use sonar waves to echo-locate the bottom of the lake, river or sea and relays the information to an electronic display screen. Information displayed includes depth, movement of fish, underwater objects and topographic readouts of the terrain under the boat. Learn how to read and interpret this information to effectively use the device.


Difficulty: Moderate

Power On

Things You’ll Need:
  • Humminbird fish finder
  • Instructions for the Humminbird
  • Internet connection and computer
  • Printer
  • Paper and pen or pencil
Step 1
Turn the Humminbird fish finder on by pressing the power button. Wait for the display to come up and the fish finder to begin receiving signals from the transducer (sonar wave sender on the bottom of the boat).
Step 2
Reference your instruction manual if possible. Look up the "Legend" in the instruction book and study the symbols and their meanings. Look for the symbols from the legend on the display screen. Interpret the meaning on the screen from the manual's legend.
Step 3
Log onto the Internet via your computer and open a web browser and search engine like Google if you do not have the paper instruction manual. Go to "" and click on the product manual link. Follow the links to your model of fish finder (find this information on the front of the display on the fish finder). Reference the manual online and find the "Legend" for symbols and display of the fish finder.
Step 4
Study the online legend and print a copy if you have a printer. Use the pen and paper to write down relevant legend symbols and meanings, if no printer is available.
Step 5
Look at the display again as you motor through the lake or water and watch the display change. Use the legend to help interpret the symbols as they change with the varying terrain under the boat. Apply the knowledge when you see schools of fish under the boat by dropping fishing lines in the water, if catching them is the goal.

Tips & Warnings

The more you study the legend and symbols the more proficient your skills with the fish finder become.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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