The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Experiment With Color to Catch More Fish

When we decide to go fishing, regardless of time of year, there are several factors that we need to take into consideration. Will the fish be shallow or deep? Will they want a slow-moving bait or a fast-moving bait? Which way is the wind from, and should we fish an area that the wind is blowing into? But it seems like the one question that is most on the minds of many anglers is color: Does color matter to the fish? Many accomplished anglers agree that color does play a role in fishing success. They also agree that in the autumn months, sometimes color can be an especially important consideration. Sometimes!

In the minds of many accomplished anglers the lure color question is this simple: When the fish are biting, they’ll often hit any color you put out there. When they don’t want to eat, color becomes more important. Remember this: Summer is when most people go fishing. The fish see a lot of lure colors. They might get conditioned to some of those colors. It has been noted by many anglers on many bodies of water that a color that was good in the spring or summer isn’t necessarily good in the fall. If there’s a color that you’ve been catching them on all year, go ahead and start with it. But if it’s not working, and if you’re sure that you’re on or around fish, try a different color.

Paul Ruda lives in central Minnesota and is familiar with catching fish. He is especially conscious of lure color. He knows that time of day can make one lure color more productive than another. Early in the morning, the sun is low in the sky and light penetration into the water is less. Things look different to the fish than they do later in the day when light penetration is increased. That difference in light penetration can change a fish’s color preference. Maybe they can see a particular color better, or for some other reason another color just looks more appealing. We may not know why a particular color is better, we just know that one is better. A Lucky Shad is one of the most productive walleye crankbaits across walleye country, and they come in a variety of colors. In the morning, a Lucky Shad with a little brighter back will catch walleyes, and in the afternoon one with a little lighter back color will be better. The body of the baits can be the same color, but the color of the back is a tad different, and to the fish, it makes all the difference.

There are ways to increase the odds of showing a fish the color they might prefer on a particular day. Let’s say we’re after walleyes and we’re using jigs with a soft bait trailer. If there are two anglers in the boat, one angler should try, for example, an orange jighead with a chartreuse tail: That’s a great walleye color combination anywhere. The other angler should try a pink head, white body. By doing so, we’re showing the walleyes four assorted colors. We’re increasing the odds of showing them the color they want on that day.

Now, let’s say the angler using the orange/chartreuse combo is catching more fish. If you want to fine-tune your color option, one angler should try an orange head/orange tail jig, the other should tie on a chartreuse head/chartreuse tail jig. By doing so, we’re going to see if there really is a dominant color on that particular day. Sometimes there will be a definite color preference.

The next time you’re on the water, try different lure colors when the fish are biting, and try different lure colors when they’re not so active. You just might determine that lure color can make a difference.

– Bob Jensen of

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