How To Read A Lowrance Fish Finder 2022 (Explained and Tips)

Do you know how to read a Lowrance fish finder? Would you love to know the tricks involved in reading a Lowrance fish finder?

If yes, you are in the right place.

Lowrance fish finders have a variety of uses. Particularly, they help you assess what is under the boat, avoid rocks, and several other damages.


In this article, I will show you how to effectively read a Lowrance fish finder. Whether you are a fisherman, a pleasure boater, or just another individual, this article is written just for you.

In this step, we will be looking at understanding the Lowrance Fish Finder Sonar. This step includes five major points as we will be examining how to understand various aspects of the Lowrance fish finder from the down scan to the side scan and beyond.

Fish Size on Sonar


It is quite difficult to identify fish size on sonar as the size can be altered with a depth range or sensitivity adjustments. You should note that fish generally look bigger at a depth range of 20 feet than on a depth range of 100 feet.

Additionally, a fish size can be determined by the color of the fish arch as well as the thickness of the arch. 

If you are a beginner, you need a comprehensive guide for all fish finder editions, you can find our detailed guide here:

Understanding Down Scan


Understanding the down imaging of your Lowrance Fishfinder is vital as it integrates a wider cone which helps to reveal targets. This feature makes the Lowrance down scan better than the 2D Sonar (200 kHz).


Let’s take for example that you are looking for fish around weeds and trees. This may turn out to be a strenuous activity as sonar makes weed and fish look similar.

On your Lowrance Fish Finder, however, understanding the Down scan feature helps improve your whole experience as the down scan focuses a lot more on the object than its surroundings.

The first example is weeds close to the bottom with small fish schooled together but close to the bottom.


Via: Doctorsonar.com

The next screenshot is using DownScan taken simultaneously. The fish now appear separate and suspended with the weeds being connected to the bottom.


Via: Doctorsonar.com

Lowrance Downscan vs 2D Sonar:


Understanding Side Scan


For many anglers, finding fish using the side scan can be a terrible experience. This is partly due to the fact that the boat doesn’t have enough screen.

Hence, anglers are inclined toward selecting the map, sonar and down scanning while forgetting about side scanning. Nonetheless, finding fish could be easy if done under the right conditions.

One of the major problems regarding side scanning is that a rocky bottom reflects so massively that it becomes quite easy for the fish to hide. When softer bottoms are reflected, however, the fish is easily revealed.

Lowrance 3D Structurescan


This image shows the prop wash bubbles (red circle) and the crappies suspended on the left side (green arrow).

The Lowrance 3D Structurescan can be used to target suspended crappie. The Structure Scan has a 3D display that works like a side scan, but allows you to see the point at which the fish are suspended.

The side scan allows you to see that the fish is toward the side. The Lowrance 3D Structure Scan, on the other hand, gives you a picture of the fish in the water column.

Lowrance Trackback

The Lowrance Trackback feature is used to go back in memory to make disappeared image reappear. The Trackback is a good feature as you can’t always spot a fish right on the spot. 

Sometimes, you may need to check again to really find what you seek.


This example is a hard bottom point. Note the cursor on the map side is in a different spot. You can place waypoints on anything you want to save as a reference for future fishing.

What is the Big Arch?


This big blue arch can be puzzling when you first see it

Interpreting the sonar comes with its own occasional struggles. This is where the big blue arch comes in. At first, the big blue arch seems ambiguous.

One thing I can recommend is that you can often get answers when the sonar is run on a split screen using down imaging. The down imaging is awesome in displaying the blue arch as a bait ball. Usually, the big arch has an irregular shape and is less dense.


Run sonar in splitscreen with down imaging which often gives you the answer. The down imaging shows the blue arch as a bait ball.

Understanding Insight Genesis


The Lowrance Insight Genesis helps you create comprehensive contour maps. The contour maps can be of any water. The Insight Genesis enables you to visualize the bottom lakes with precision. After viewing the lake in high detail, you can easily figure out the point where the fish are hiding.

The insight Genesis program is cloud-based. This implies that you will have to register to access it by visiting the Lowrance website. The program is a freemium service, meaning you may access it for free. 

However, if you want to enjoy more benefits such as downloading maps to the memory storage, you will have to purchase the subscription for $99.

The Lowrance map is well encrypted in the sense that your map can never be stolen by someone else since it can only work with your own unit.

Structure Map

The Lowrance Structure Map can be accessed on the Carbon and HDS. You can as well decide to share it with the Hook.

For those who have logged sonar with a side scan, ReefMaster can help you open and export it as a map. The image now becomes your map. The Structure Map helps you capture very crisp images.

Lowrance GPS


Have you ever thought of the reason why the big boulder sometimes appears in a different place than the waypoint? Well, it is all down to the Global Positioning System. The GPS is dependent on the satellites and whether to give accurate results.

Hence, the GPS can be more accurate in terms of showing the specific location of the fish one day, and it can become less accurate the next day.

Tips When Using Lowrance Fish Finder HDS

Here, I will be giving you certain tips that will be helpful for you when using your Lowrance fish finder HDS.

Take a look:

If you have the HDS 5X which comes without a card slot and you are willing to upgrade the software, I can tell you an easy way. All you have to do is place a call through to your local sports goods store. Ask them if they have the software update. They will likely do.

If they have it, you will have to take your HDS 5X over there and install it to their power while connecting an Ethernet from the store’s unit to yours. The update will be ready.

Since your HDS is a computer in itself, you should never power it off by holding the power button. The right way to turn it off is by pressing the power button just once and selecting “Power Off”.

Do not use one battery to start the 250 HP motor as this is risky. It is better to have two batteries connected together. One battery for starting the motor and the other for the electronics.


Have you been able to understand how to read a Lowrance fish finder? The Lowrance fishfinder comes with various uses, and it is vital to understand the components for effective use.

Do you have any questions you want to be answered? Well, you can always drop your comments in the box below. Don’t forget to share with family and friends.