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Nothing guarantees catching fish on any given day on the water, right?
While that’s probably true and likely always will be – a fishfinder can increase your success by allowing you to see where the fish have a tendency to hang out.
Unfortunately, if you fish a lot in shallow water, you know how much of a struggle it can be to find a reliable fish finder.
Many of these don’t read far enough to tell you anything worth knowing, making it a challenge to figure out where all the fish are.
A good shallow water fish finder in ranges like 200kHz and 455kHz will uncover information about the fish and bottom structure where you are fishing.
While nothing guarantees success on a day of fishing, certain fish finders have enough accuracy to allow you to fish in shallow waters with confidence.
I’ve gathered up a list of the top fishfinders, as determined by their performance in shallow water.
While each of these fishfinders offers a range of valuable characteristics, you will have to determine which factors are most important to you when making your final purchase decision.
Rest assured, you’ll be landing tons of fish with any of these dynamic sonars.
5 Best Fishfinders for Shallow Water
Here are the best fish finders for shallow water:
Last update on 2023-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What to Look For in a Fishfinder for Shallow Water
As I mentioned, each fishfinder will offer you different qualities and characteristics.
Generally speaking, there are some key factors you want your shallow water fish finder to have – the rest of the bells and whistles are just the icing on the cake.
For fishing in shallow water, you should search for a fishfinder that has a sonar frequency that is at least 200kHz or higher.
Higher frequency leads to higher and improved resolution, allowing you to position yourself (or your boat) over the fish with greater precision.
You should also look for a fishfinder with a good display screen resolution.
You want to make sure you can see the fish and the bottom structure clearly, and only a fishfinder with good resolution will be able to show this to you.
If you have a display screen with good resolution, you can even go so far as to determine the size (and often the species!) of fish over which you are positioned.
This will give you a huge advantage when fishing in unchartered waters.
If your time and budget permit, you should try to find a fishfinder with side imaging and down imaging technologies.
Read about the difference between side imaging and down imaging here.
These work with sonar frequencies above 455 kHz, in most cases, and can help you cover more area. As you move up in higher resolution, you compromise area coverage.
Side and down imaging helps compensate for this. It will shoot along both sides of your boat and cover more surface area while also enabling you to figure out the bottom of a body of water.
You’ll have more of a three-dimensional view instead of just straight down into the water.
This is beneficial in helping you to find fish, as well as avoiding obstacles like rock outcroppings or debris.
5 Top Shallow Water Depth Finders Reviewed
Humminbird 409640-1 Helix 5 SI Fish Finder
This fishfinder manufactured by Humminbird, is one of the company’s best-selling fishfinders.
I was intrigued when I purchased it because of the fact that it had a built-in GPS navigation system.
The display is of an incredibly high resolution, making it easy to look at no matter the time of day – it has a nice backlight that made it easier to look at in times of bright sunlight.
Like many of the fishfinders we reviewed, it has dual-channel CHIRP sonar.
This helps you locate large schools of fish and then position yourself directly atop them.
Combined with the aforementioned GPS navigational aid, this feature makes it easy to not only find fish but to avoid obstacles in your path.
It has side imaging that is good to depths of 100 feet, with traditional sonar that can reach 1,500 feet.
If you add a microSD card, you can also save waypoints to find them later.
- Dual channel CHIRP sonar
- Brilliantly lit display and backlight
- Built-in GPS and the ability to save waypoints
- Short transducer cable makes it a bit of a challenge to carry and use
Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer
The Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer is perhaps one of the best-value fish finders in which you can invest.
This device has added GPS navigation, an obvious inclusion when you purchase anything by Garmin.
I liked this model because it offered all the reliability and accuracy that Garmin is already known for, and it also did not break the bank.
As a compact fish finder, it was easy to carry around and didn’t force me to lug around a heavy, awkward machine in order to find fish.
This fishfinder comes with a CHIRP sonar system that operates at both 77 kHz and 200 kHz, helping you to find out where the fish are – and fast.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the display, which is only about three and a half inches, but the added GPS navigational system makes up for it by helping you navigate unfamiliar areas.
You can also mark your favorite spots with waypoints, making it easier to return to the top fishing holes again and again.
- Includes a water temperature log and graph
- CHIRP sonar makes it easier to detect fish
- Lightweight and portable
- Comes with a fish symbol identification tool to make it easier to identify fish
- Poor display screen, particularly in bright sunlight
Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C with HD Color Virtuview Display
This compact fishfinder has a transducer that has three different options for placement ….
…. A portable mode for fishing from shore, a shoot-through for small boats, and a mount for larger boats.
The position is easy to change, which is helpful when you needed to change locations quickly.
This device also has one of the best HD color displays, offering a glare-free read and a backlight that makes it clear and easy to view on sunny days.
When you look at the readout on the display screen, this fishfinder offers data that is beyond comparison.
It tells you everything you need to know about topography and fish forms, as well as water temperature and water column information.
This is especially helpful if you are trying to locate fish that are hanging out in certain thermoclines, or areas where water temperatures meet – the science nerd in me was so excited to see this feature on a fishfinder!
- Tracks fish depth and location in the water column
- Portable and easy to carry
- Comes in a waterproof case
- Easily adapted for different kinds of fishing conditions
- Poor battery life
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder
This all-weather fishfinder is one of the best for use in inclement weather.
It has sharp color and wide viewing angles, and the screen has no internal fogging – a must-have feature when you’re out in the rain.
This fishfinder is also unique in that it allows you to stream live sonar data to your smartphone with the mobile app, allowing you to rewind and share the day’s catch with your friends on your preferred social network.
- Allows you to stream live data to your smartphone
- Includes maps of US lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. A good river fish finder.
- No internal fogging
- Depth only goes to 600 feet, for use in deeper waters won’t be as easy
Lowrance Hook-5 Coastal Nautic Insight Sonar
This fishfinder utilizes a unique technological blend of GPS and CHIRP sonar to make it easier to find fish no matter where you are.
One of my favorite features of this fishfinder was that it comes preloaded with maps of over 3,000 U.S. waterways.
You can upgrade these to high definition quality and make your own maps that include your favorite fishing spots and routes.
This was a nice feature, particularly when trying out new fishing holes.
The Lowrance has two CHIRP sonar ranges, providing you with a clear image of the water below your boat.
It also comes with a DownScan overlay that puts together multiple sets of data so that you can be confident you are looking at actual fish, not vegetation.
- Personalized maps, as well as preloaded data, make it easy to find new fishing spots
- Clear downscan imagery that makes it easy to discriminate between fish and debris
- The display screen is difficult to see on bright days
While all of these fishfinders will do the trick for you in shallow water, I had to recommend the Humminbird as my top choice.
For me it outperforms all other brands, helping me find fish and discriminate between fish and other aquatic matter.
Because I’m a fair-weather angler, I really appreciated the nice display on this screen, which was easy to read in any kind of lighting.
No matter which of these models you choose, increase your odds of a massive catch by choosing from my list of the best fishfinders for shallower water.
You might be skeptical about spending tons of money on a fishfinder, which is why I chose products that are good value for money.
Taking a fish finder with you is the only way of knowing whether there are fish where you have positioned your boat.