Best Fish Finder for Shallow Water

Best Fish Finder for Shallow Water Reviews

Humminbird Helix 5 with Side Imaging and GPS
Garmin Echo 551dv
RayMarine Dragonfly 4-Pro
Price: $$$$Price: $$$Price: $$
Display Size (Diagonal): 5"Display Size (Diagonal): 5"Display Size (Diagonal): 4.3"
Frequency: 200/83/455 kHzFrequency: 77/200 kHzFrequency: 50/83/200 kHz
Sonar Coverage: 20°, 60°, or dual 85° Sonar Coverage: N/ASonar Coverage: 25°, 60°
Power (RMS): 500 wattsPower (RMS): 500 wattsPower (RMS): 500 watts
Max Depth: 1,500 ftMax Depth: 2,300 ftMax Depth: 600 ft

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Humminbird Helix 5 Side Imaging and GPS Fish FinderEDITOR’S PICK – Humminbird Helix 5 with Side Imaging and GPS Fish Finder

If you fish a lot of shallow water, you know it can be a struggle to get a fish finder that reads out far enough to be worth anything. Not all fish finders are created equal, and if you choose the correct one, it can make shallow water fishing a whole lot easier. Here we will discuss three of the best options on the market today for shallow water at different price points. You can also read more about how to choose a fish finder by clicking here.

Humminbird Helix 5 with Side Imaging and GPS Fish Finder

Humminbird Helix 5 Side Imaging and GPS Fish Finder


The most expensive in our test, the Humminbird Helix 5 SI and GPS fish finder is definitely the top dog here as well. This fish finder was practically built for shallow water fisherman, with side imaging to show you images in a cone 85° away from your boat to each side, at 455 kHz to give you a clear picture as well! This gives you so much range when you are scouting for bait schools or structure it’s ridiculous! This side imaging is good to depths of 100 feet, while if you just use the standard sonar you can reach down to 1,500 feet. With the standard sonar, you have the options of using either 83 kHz for deep water or 200 kHz for better images in shallower water. The screen size on this fish finder is 5″ diagonally.

The GPS this comes with is preloaded with Humminbird’s UniMaps system, but you also have the option of using Navionics with it if you purchase it separately. If you have a microSD card, you can also save waypoints or maps from this fish finder as well so you can visit the same spot next time.

All in all, this fish finder has the capabilities that many more expensive fish finders have at a great price. The side imaging will open the water up for you in shallow water, and I would bet that you will notice an increase in your catch when you learn to use it effectively.

Garmin Echo 551dv Fish Finder

Garmin Echo 551dv Fish Finder


The Garmin Echo 551dv is a solid fish finder at this price, as they took GPS out and added some other features that make it a great option for many. It is highly portable and the transducer can be mounted to a trolling motor. Garmin has a system called the Smooth Scaling system that transitions smoothly and quickly from shallow water to deep water without any extra work, really giving you a hand if you are fishing dropoffs. The display size on this fish finder is 5″ diagonally as well.

As far as actually seeing the fish, this does have pretty solid sensitivity with the ability to read at 83 kHz at deep depths and 200 kHz for clear images at shallow depths. As you can see above, their DownVu technology creates some very clear images that make finding structure and identifying fish a lot easier. The maximum depth on this fish finder is 2,300 feet if you ever need to go deep. You can also rewind through your sonar if you think you missed something.

One great thing about this fish finder is how simple it is to use. The interfaces on the screen are very straightforward and simple, so it should be quick to learn. If GPS isn’t important to you but finding structure and fish is, this is the fish finder for you.

RayMarine Dragonfly 4 Pro Fish Finder

Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro Fish Finder



The Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro is the cheapest of all these options, but it certainly doesn’t give up quality. With a beautiful sharp color display that is optically bonded, this screen should never fog up or allow moisture inside. The screen measures 4.3″ diagonally. This fish finder reads in three frequencies: 50, 83, and 200, with 200 being the most sensitive for the shallow water fishing you are doing. This is what produces their down imaging pictures, which is the clear picture of the bottom you can see in the picture above. The 200 kHz also reads at a 25° cone, which will show you some good bottom structure while giving you some outstanding pictures. The depth only goes to 600 feet, which shouldn’t be a problem if you are fishing shallow water only.

This fish finder comes stock with a GPS system equipped with C-Map Essentials, but it can be upgraded to several different types of maps. You can insert a memory card in order to save your route or waypoints to come back and fish them later.

The Raymarine 4 Pro also has another great feature – live wi-fi streaming of the fish finder so your buddies or you can watch it on your phone from anywhere on the boat. No more clustering around the fish finder!

For the price, this is another great fish finder for fishing shallow water.


All three fish finders discussed above will put you on the fish in shallow water while giving you the option of fishing deeper if necessary. Pick your budget and spend accordingly! Good luck and good fishing!

1 reply
  1. says:

    Higher frequencies, like 192 and 200 kHz work best in shallower water, while the low 50 kHz transducers work best for use in deep water, like for commercial usage and professionals.


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