It's at about this time every year when many anglers take a look into their tackle containers to do an inventory of baits that are needed to start the new open water fishing season. We make a note of baits from previous years that are running low in our inventory, and we also think about new baits that need to be added. One topic regarding baits that is frequently a question is color: what colors do we need? Lure makers are always introducing new colors. Many anglers ask themselves and their fishing friends, "does lure color really matter to the fish?" Beginning and expert anglers alike are always trying to figure out how much impact lure color has on our fishing success. Following are some thoughts on lure color.

In the minds of many of the best anglers the lure color question is simple: sometimes color matters, sometimes it doesn't. When the fish are biting, they'll often hit any color you put out there. When they don't want to eat, color becomes one of several very important considerations. There are times when having the "right" color of bait on the end of your line will result in more fish being caught.

Mike Frisch Lure Color

Mike Frisch had a Pumpkin Craw Jungle Jig with a contrasting plastic trailer on the end of his line when this big guy bit.​

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 plastic 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 almost anywhere. The other angler should try maybe a blue head, purple body. By doing so, we're showing the walleyes four different colors. We're increasing the odds of showing them the color they want on that particular day.

Now let's say the angler using the orange/chartreuse combo is catching more fish. If you really 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.

Conditioning is another consideration. Sometimes fish become conditioned to a particular color. That orange/chartreuse combination we just talked about gets used so much that the fish become a little reluctant to hit it. If you've been catchin'em good on a particular color or pattern but that patterns dies, try a different color. You'll probably catch a few more.

Some anglers aren't sure of the importance of lure color. These are the same anglers that have boxes full of baits of different colors, or they have a bunch of marking pens in their boat so they can change the color or appearance of their bait quickly if needed.

If you spend some time on the water, and if you experiment with color, you'll probably decide that, at times, if you're using the right color, you'll catch more fish, and if you're not using the right color, you're catching might be limited. This year, experiment with different lure colors and see what you find out.

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