What is the best color to catch more fish?

A question often asked is what color of bait should I be using to catch the most fish.  The answer is not straight-forward and is dependent on a number of factors. The primary factor is what color is the lake.  There are three main colors of lakes: blue, green and brown. The color is important as the water color acts as a filter to light changing the color of your bait as it enters and also goes deeper into the water.   

Fish have a similar vision structure to people with their eyes constructed of rods and cones and their vision typically adapts to the area they live in.   Some fish such as walleye have adapted their vision to see better in low light conditions and therefore feed more often at late dusk, early dawn and at night.

When to use Red

Red is often used on bait as it is felt that red will cause the fish to strike as it signifies a wound, therefore an easy meal.     Red can be like waving a red flag in front of a bull, driving them crazy and compelling the fish to strike.

The different colors of water act a filter, changing the color of bait the fish sees.   For color to be seen, it must be hit by light of the same color and reflected to the fish.  This becomes more difficult in deeper water. Red and orange have longer wavelengths and therefore require the least amount of energy and lose their color quickly.   Red is quickly filtered from the color spectrum as it goes deeper in the water and often appears as grey to the fish. For this reason red often works best in clear, shallow water although it can also work will in stained lakes with lower visibility.   On bright days, where there is more light getting underwater, fish will be able to perceive colors better as compared to overcast days.  Shop our Smart Series - Red to get a full selection of our Red Smartbaits.

When to use Blue or Green

Blue and green colors have a shorter wavelength as compared to red and orange, therefore require less energy and will not lose the perceived color (by the fish) as easily.    Blue and green will maintain their color in deeper water and can be seen from farther distances. If the water has some stain to it black, blue and green will get better results.  Dark colors provide the most range of visibility under a variety of conditions.  Shop our Smart Series - Blue

So is there a perfect lure? Technically yes, but it depends upon where you are, what the weather is, what time of year it is, and what you are trying to catch. Equip yourself with a varied set of lures to give yourself plenty of options, and you should be able to use the information in this post to better match the lure you use to your fish of choice. Match the color to the conditions, understanding that you want the fish to see the bait.   Once you choose the color, next comes the shape. Smartbaits has created our Smart Color Paks with this specifically in mind.   


Try our Smart Series today to find the right bait for your water conditions.