Fishing Lure Color Guide

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fishing lure colors

We’ve all been there. You’re new to fishing and you go down to the tackle shop and stare blankly at a wall full of what seems like the exact same lure, only with a different color and pattern.

Choosing the right lure color can be the single difference between catching fish and getting completely skunked. There are several factors that come into play like water clarity, weather, temperature, etc.

In this article, I’ll give you a straightforward and easy to follow guide on what color lure to use and when.

Understanding Water Clarity & Lure Color

Water clarity is probably the most basic variable in lure color selection. In clear water, it’s a lot easier for the fish to see the lure, and so for this scenario, you would want to go with a subtle and natural color like silver, gray, green, blue, and purple. This can be super productive when you’re targeting species like bass or walleye especially. I find that Walleye will absolutely smash a natural colored lure in very clear water.

The best lure colors for muddy water will be brighter colors that stand out more. No, it doesn’t have to be neon rainbow or anything crazy, but it should be brighter than a lure in clear water so that the fish can see it. We’re talking orange, red, yellow, etc.

As far as patterns go, like tiger patterns, there isn’t a solid rule there. I have not personally found that patterns make a noticeable difference like color does. However, I’m just one person, so you should still play around with it.

water clarity lure color selection chart
Lure color selection chart

Seasons & Temperature: What To Use

As the seasons change from one to the next, so do the water conditions and fish. So think about the season when you’re deciding what lure color to use.

  • Spring: As the water gets warmer, the fish will become more active. During this time, use natural colors that match the hatch of bait like frogs and crawfish.
  • Summer: Bright sunlight, algae/vegetation can affect clarity. In clear water, use blues and purples. For murkier water, use reds and golds.
  • Fall: As the water begins to cool during this time, the fish start to feed aggressively in preparation for winter. This is when I like to throw metallic colors like gold and copper.
  • Winter: When the winter rolls around (and our seasonal fishing depression kicks in), the fish’s metabolism slows down dramatically. In clear water, use colors like blue and silver. In murky water, use a lure with a strong contrast like black and white.

Weather and Lure Color Selection

  • Sunny Days: The sun’s light will increase visibility under water. Use translucent lure colors that aren’t too overwhelming.
  • Cloudy Days: On cloudy days during the warmer seasons, I will throw more vibrant colors with a big contrast like hot pink or lime green.
  • Temperature: Warmer water will make the color of your lure look more vivid. Whereas colder water will do the opposite. So in general, use bold and vibrant colors in warmer water and in colder water use a bit darker and more contrasting colors.
lure color selection chart
lure color chart based on weather

Conclusion: Picking The Right Lure Color

After reading this article, you should have a basic understanding of how different factors like season, temperature, and clarity impact what color lure to use.