Do Fish Finders Work In Shallow Water?

Table of Contents

Are you in the market for the best fish finders? Do fish finders work in shallow water? These are some of the questions most fishermen ask themselves.

This article will explain whether the fish finders work in shallow waters. We will also provide important tips to help you use them in shallow waters.

How To Use A Fish Finder In Shallow Water

Shallow water fishing fish finders are available in a wide variety of models.

Despite each model’s unique features, fish finders are very easy to use.

They have many similarities in how they operate capabilities.

Below is a step-by-step guide on using a portable fish finder to catch fish from your small boat.

  • Learn to use display 
  • Get to know how to read sonar 
  • Understand reading side imaging units

Key Features Of Fish Finders For Shallow Water:

In the upcoming paragraph, we will discuss key features which belong to and are intended for fish finders in shallow water. Although not many differences are compared with other methods but still you must stay focus and know the basics to help grow your fishing knowledge better in tiny details.

High Frequency

Sonar frequency must be high to work well in shallow waters. If you are looking to catch some fish in shallow creeks or streams, a high frequency device will be best. Shallow waters require horizontal scan as well, so be sure to select a device that delivers both side scan, and high frequency.

Depth Capability

The device needs to read a minimum depth penetration of 12 feet. If you are in a shallow stream, imagine that a fish finding device with higher depth scanning facility might only spoil the imaging due to more contours and dark spots that appear due to shallow depth of the stream.


GPS receiver is a great feature in helping you return to the hot spots. Moreover, anglers can find their way in new areas. A high sensitivity GPS gives you the liberty of exploring new locations.


You must ensure the fish finder is waterproof and works well in different weather conditions. The transducer for mountable fish finding devices are always going to be waterproof. However, if you are looking for some adventure, there are bound to be some splashes. Select a fish finder that has a waterproof screen unit as well.

Screen Size

Going for a fish finder with a larger screen will ensure you have a better view of whatever is happening beneath the surface, increasing your chances of catching more fish. Many anglers are good at the sport but dislike spending too much time looking at a small screen to find the right spots. Select a big screen for clarity and accurate image reading.

Most fishermen settle for a fish finder as a preferable device to help locate fish underwater in shallow waters.

Fish finder for shallow water emits high sound waves and an led indicator light that informs the location of the fish and bottom structure.

Fish finder also has an auto depth finding feature that measures the water depth.

How Shallow Water Affects Fish Finder’s components

Both down imaging and side imaging work well during shallow water fishing.

Side imaging performance will depend on how murky or shallow the water is where you are bass fishing.

Bottom estimation is manually done, and you will not require a fish finder in most cases.

When you do not have an estimate of the base and need a better look, you can opt for down imaging using a fish finder to give you the best performance.

The imaging technology depends on high frequencies.

You can get fish finders that work well in shallow waters. Always go for a high frequency transducer.

Reasons Why Your Fish Finder Is Not Performing Optimally in Shallow Water?

Inappropriate Model

Fish finders work well in shallow waters and are not similar to fish finders meant for deep water, sear, ocean, or lake fishing.

Fish finders for use in shallow waters have a high-frequency range. They help locate smaller fish with ease.

Using fish finders with low frequencies will not provide you with accurate results.


The wide variety of shallow water fish finders in the market has made many anglers susceptible to purchasing fish finders of lower quality.

Never compromise fish finders’ quality since it is a one-time investment.

If you want to be successful in your fishing, you must invest in the best fish finder. 

Old Is Not Always Gold

It does not mean that a fish finder that used to perform well in the past and is now old will give you the same results it used to provide. 

The older the fish finder gets, the less effective it becomes. Like other devices, you always have to update and invest in fish finders. 

Wrong Configuration

Most anglers are beginners who use the default setting.

They have a bad experience working in shallow waters due to the wrong configuration they use.

Using default settings limits fish finders’ ability since they always require different settings depending on where they are being used.

The settings comprise auto depth detection, sensitivity adjustments, color adjustments, and transducer selection. 

What Is The Frequency Of Shallow Water?

Fish finders are excellent in shallower water. However, anglers must ensure that the frequency of the fish finder or sonar technology is high enough.

For shallow water fish finder to perform well, they need to have frequencies of 800 kHz, 455 kHz, or 200 kHz.