Time-dependent, unsteady flow has been studied in prismatic open channels with symmetric trapezoidal and triangular cross sections and small bottom slope. The St Venant equations without lateral inflow have been discretized in explicit as well as in implicit form and solved numerically, for unsteady, subcritical flow. The inflow hydrograph used can be applied for different flood events by adjusting its parameters accordingly. The results presented are derived from the explicit schemes Lax-Diffusive, MacCormack, Lambda as well as the implicit Preissmann scheme, and are compared to those from the Muskingum-Cunge method and the widely used commercial software HEC-RAS. The peak flow computed by the Lax-Diffusive scheme was reduced at the downstream end of the channel and the arrival time of the peak increased if compared to the other methods. The Muskingun-Cunge method forecasted the shortest peak flow arrival time at the downstream end cross section. Mass conservation computed from inflow and outflow hydrographs has been confirmed, since the maximum error did not exceed 2.60%. All codes were implemented in house using Matlab®.