A popular question often asked by anglers of all skill levels is: what color lure to use. Or if certain fish species only strike specific colors. It is essential to your success to often change your tackle pattern when targeting bass, trout, walleye, etc. Furthermore, you should also change your lure color during weather and seasonal changes. So, stick with us as we uncover what colors work best for popular species and when you should be using them.

Understanding Color Change in Different Water Depths

So, you want to know what color lure is the most effective. The simple answer to this question is: well, there is none. Thus, the best practice for anglers to follow is to switch out your lure if it isn’t getting hit. Yet, it doesn’t go without saying that some colors may be better to use in certain situations than others.

For instance, did you know some colors lose their vibrance in deeper waters faster than others? For example, when you throw a red deep-diving crankbait, it drastically loses its coloring the further it dives. So, past 15-feet of water, your red crankbait may look more brownish to a fish. Besides water depth, here are some other instances that’ll affect a fish’s perception of color:

  • Weather changes
  • Murkiness of water

What Color Lure To Use in Different Situations

Now, let’s dig in deeper on when the best times are to fish specific color patterns.

Best Lure Patterns for Sunny Days and in Clear Waters

    Truscend Multi-Jointed Swimbaits

Truscend multi-jointed swimbaits against a white background.
    These multi-jointed swimbaits by Truscend mimic a live baitfish for bass and trout. Their colors resemble closely to forage fish, and their swim action gives them a natural presentation.

The best lure pattern to use when it’s sunny outside, and the water is clear are natural colors of baitfish. On these days, we recommend fishing with swimbaits, soft plastics, or hard baits resembling forage. For example, if you’re targeting bass or walleye, use a lure pattern that looks like a shad or bluegill. Or, if you’re trout fishing, then I would use one resembling a worm or minnow.

Best Lure Patterns for Cloudy Days or in Murky Waters

    Strike King Brown Craw KVD Crankbait

Strike King's brown craw KVD crankbait against a white background.
    Strike King’s brown craw KVD deep-diving crankbait is a perfect choice for cloudy weather and murky water conditions.

On overcast days, I suggest using either dark-colored lures or fluorescent-colored lures. Specifically, dark or solid-colored lures look more natural to fish in these conditions. Yet, fluorescent colors also produce fish because this pattern makes your bait more visible for fish.

Additionally, on cloudy days, the trout and bass bite seems to intensify. For instance, during this time, water temperatures cool, making it more comfortable for fish to move closer to the surface. Since the fish are more lively in overcast conditions, we recommend using moving baits. For example, with bass, try using:

  • Crankbaits
  • Swimbaits
  • Topwater frogs

Then for trout, consider using:

  • Rooster tails
  • Spoons

Best Lure Pattern for Fishing in Deep Water

    Strike King Thunder Cricket

Strike King's thunder cricket vibrating swim jig against a white background
    Strike King’s blue and black thunder cricket swim jig is an excellent lure to use when fishing for deepwater bass.

Next, when you fish in deep water, we recommend trying out blue-colored lures and fluorescent colors. For instance, we suggest using blue lures because blue light travels the furthest underwater.

Then, fluorescent-colored lures work well because they absorb one color of light and emit another. So, the fluorescent tackle will absorb the blue light of the water and appear like they’re glowing underwater.

Here’s some tackle we suggest using to target fish in deep water:

  • Deep-diving crankbaits
  • Spoons
  • Swimbaits
  • Bladed swim jigs

When in Doubt, Change It Out!

To conclude, understanding how fish perceive color will aid you in fishing colored lures more effectively. However, if you are ever unsure of what colors to use, we suggest using a natural bait pattern. Then, if the fish still aren’t biting, the best practice is to switch to another colored lure.

Do you have any questions about what color lures to buy? Then, please let us know in the comments below. Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share it with your friends on social media.

Most importantly, have fun and keep those lines tight!