Small Boat Fish Finders: Recommendations

If you want to find the best fish finder for a small boat, like fish finder for jon boat, this article may help you with narrowed data and specs of the best products. Many anglers prefer smaller boats like canoes, kayaks or Jon boats. They have the same passion and need the same products as those who own larger boats.

There is nothing wrong with this. I even own a big vessel too, but there are someday I just need to relax or hear the gentle whir in the boat motor, watch it swirl on the water. Also, I love the sound when water drip at the oars end, making me enjoy the nature and fish I am catching.

Most of my wonderful moments on the water are when I just stay on a small boat, paddling around, throwing a rod at lily pads.

Best Fish Finders for Small Boats

This is the criteria when I consider a fish finder for my small boats:

  • Size
  • Power Source
  • Mounting
  • Accuracy
  • Price


Fish finders have different sizes, but when you have a small boat, the space in it is limited, so this is an important consideration.

You need to find the right balance between functionality and size when choosing a fish finder for your small boat.

You will need to ask yourself some questions:

  • Where will you be fishing?
  • How much money can you spend?
  • What features in your fish finder do you want to have?

Today many manufacturers have brought many features into newest fish finder products. One of my favorite products for the smaller boat is Hook 4 from Lowrance. This versatile fish finder has many powerful features:

  • Have a GPS receiver built-in
  • The high-resolution four-inch display screen
  • 12 V battery
  • Recorded sonar signals history reviewing ability
  • Downscan imaging: an overview picture of what underneath your boat

The product has all of these features and its price is pretty fair. When you get used to it the control aspect is easy and you could totally operate the unit with just your thumb. The screen is easy to understand, though under direct sunlight you might face a small trouble.

Garmin Echo 151 is another excellent product of small boat fish finder. This product has a four-inch display screen with the resolution of 160×256, which is a good resolution considering the size of the product. This Garmin fish finder uses a 12V battery.

According to Garmin advertisement, this display is not a color, but an eight-level black and white screen but we find that it looks very good.

The finder from Garmin also includes other features:

  • A lightweight of just around ten ounces
  • The transducer from DownVu tells you what is under your boat
  • Reasonable price for a decent product
  • The maximum depth they can sense is 1600 feet, which covers most of the cases you might be in.
  • Very simple control: settings and menu are straightforward and simple

The limitations of these fish finder products are that it could not bring you the side scanning ability, no GPS receiver. But in my opinion, you do not find these features important while fishing in small boats.


The ponds and lakes I go fishing in my boat are pretty shallow affairs and they all are above 40 feet deep. In these small water bodies, most fish finders are enough for you. But you plan to go fishing in an ocean, you will need more information. With that being said, all the products discussed here will be enough for your need.

You must be careful when fishing in a shallow water because some of the finders could become very inaccurate in those conditions.


You will need to be careful when mounting your transducer. The water bodies will be turbulent and leed to the inaccuracy of the results when you mount your transducer too near the water. Also when you run your boat at high speeds this fish finder will result in wrong results. Normally, when you mount the fish finder through your hull they will provide you more accurate readings in these conditions.

But this option might be not feasible in smaller boats. Most of them are portable, often come with methods of mounting them to the trolling motor or the boat’s transom. These are decent options and will not decrease your unit’s performance, providing that you follow the manufacturer instructions and recommendations.

Power Sources

There are many types of power sources that power your fish finders and you need to consult the product’s specifications before making any decisions. But most products will use your 12 V battery from your trolling motor.

The ultra-portable products have rechargeable batteries and they will not need external sources for power need or any wires to make your smaller boats even more complex.



The general rules of price apply to the fish finder for small boat as well. Cheap fish finders will come with limited functionality and features. Make sure that you check if you will need features you are going to pay extra for. If you already have a handheld receiver for GPS, you will not need this feature on your new fish finder.


You will find better experience with a fish finder you spend more money on.


Fish Finders for Kayaks and Small Boats

We will discuss a new level of portability of fish finders for smaller boats. There are mobile apps for your depth readings.


We recommend the finder from High Tech Beauty for a true portable fish finder. The learning process is not very hard and it will work well when you are familiar with it. This portable fish finder has many amazing features;

  • High resolution with three frequencies for even better accuracy
  • The battery that could last for ten hours (rechargeable)
  • Has a weight of less than 0.5 pound
  • Could read the depth of 150 feet
  • Could be used from the shore

The finder from Hawkeye is also a very good product with different features. The screen has dot matrix screen with four AAA batteries. It could bring you fish information, composition, bottom contour, water temperature and water depth on your screen.

Hawkeye FT1PXC, its upgraded version, has a color screen, making it even easier to read.There are many portable products for fishing on a small boat, like fish finder for jon boat in the market. Their features should meet the needs you demand at a reasonable price.

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