When you are at a local tackle shop or are browsing for walleye lures online as you get ready for you next fishing adventure, you’ll realize there are what seems like an endless amount of color options to choose from.
With so many choices it can be difficult to know where to start and what colors of lures you should be using. So, you might be wondering what are the best lure colors for walleye?
When targeting walleye, the best lure colors are chartreuse, white, purple, pink, orange, and anything that closely resembles what the walleye are actively feeding on. On bright sunny days the most productive colors are going to be metallic, chrome and natural colors. In low light and cloudy conditions colors like purple, dark green, chartreuse will help your lures stand out and catch more fish.
In this walleye lure color guide, I’ll share with you everything you need to know about selecting the right lure color. Including what lure colors to use for walleye, how to select the right color and some helpful tips that will save you time, money and most importantly help you catch more fish.
How to Select the Right Walleye Colors
There are three primary factors you should consider when deciding on what lure color to use; water clarity, light penetration (sunny vs. cloudy) and available walleye forage.
These three factors can offer you a great starting point on what color of lure and bait to use while targeting walleye. Let’s look at each one of these individually and discuss them in more detail.
Water clarity can play a major role in how well the fish will be able to see your lure. The clarity or lack thereof of the water you are fishing at can help you determine the colors that will give you the best chance for success.
In clear water conditions, natural colors that resemble small bait fish or other types of walleye forage are going to be the most productive.
When fishing in water that is stained or murky, bright colored lures like chartreuse, orange, purple and red will be best. These colors will help your lure stand out and make it easier for any nearby walleye to see.
Matching the hatch is a common fishing term that basically means to select colors of lures that look like what the fish are feeding on. For some reason anglers tend to forget this when selecting a color, but it’s one of the best ways to figure out what color you should be using.
If you can find out what the walleye are feeding on and match it the best you can with your lure selection, you’ll have a lot of success and catch a bunch of eyes.
Another important factor to consider when selecting a lure color is light penetration. In low light conditions (cloudy, early morning & at night) or when fishing deep it’s best to use darker colors or bright bold colors. These colors will help your lures stand out by providing a contrast making it easier for the fish to track down.
In conditions where you are fishing in the full sun natural and metallic colors are going to be the best choice. You either want to “match the hatch” and use colors that closely resemble the forage or use chrome and Metallic colors and blades.
Colors like chrome, gold, copper will give you lure some flash as the light penetrates through the water. I find that silver works best on sunny days and gold and copper work better in low light conditions. Most fish are used to seeing this type of flash as the sun reflects off the scales of the bait fish.
Here is a walleye fishing lure color chart that illustrates what we have discussed. Please keep in mind that this is to be used as a starting point and you should always experiment and find what colors work best for you and in your fisheries.
Walleye Lure Color Guide
|Sunny & Clear Water||Cloudy & Clear Water||Sunny & Stained Water||Cloudy & Stained Water|
|Natural Colors, Chrome, Metallic, Ghost, Flashy & Reflective||Chartreuse, White, Red, Dark Green, Dark & Natural Colors||Chrome/Metallic Flashy & Reflective Purple, Pink, Chartreuse & White||Pink, Purple, White, Chartreuse Black & Blue, Black & Red|
Now that we have covered some of the basic guidelines that will help you determine the right walleye colors. Let’s look at some of the most popular walleye lure colors and discuss some situations where they might best be used.
Best Walleye Fishing Colors
There are thousands of different color combinations and patterns out there and each one has a time and a place. Here is a look at the most popular and effective walleye fishing colors and when you might use each one.
The ghost color category are the lures that have transparent/see through colors, these are perfect for clear water situations with high visibility. This color pattern closely resembles and imitates small baitfish that walleye love to eat. This is an overall great option to use, especially when walleye are chasing around bait fish.
Bes for: imitating bait fishing in clear water conditions
If you ask any walleye angler what’s their favorite lure color, I bet most of them would easily say chartreuse. Bright florescent colors like chartreuse, orang, pink and purple are very popular and effective walleye colors. These color patterns excel in low light conditions and when the water is stained or muddy. They are also great for getting a reaction strike and for firing up fish.
Best for: low light conditions and when the water is stained and muddy or when the fish aren’t responding to natural colors.
Metallic colors are another great option when targeting walleye. These reflective colors are particularly effective on bright sunny days in clear water. As the sun penetrates through the water and hits your lure it will reflect and cause a flash. Fish are used to seeing this because the light will also reflect off the scales of other fish. That’s why flashy or reflective style of lures are a great way to trigger walleye into biting
Best for: Bright sunny days in clear water when the sun can reflect and cause a natural flash.
White is an all-around great color to use and will be productive in just about any water clarity all over the country. Most bait fish have some type of white on them making it a natural color that also stands out in darker or stained water conditions. You can’t go wrong throwing a white colored lure for walleye.
Best for: imitating baitfish and other walleye forage, works great in all water conditions and is an all-around great color choice.
Yellow, Red & Orange
This color category is very similar to the fluorescent colored lures, but they are subtler. Yellow, red and orange are also very popular and effective walleye lure colors. In most cases these colors are complimentary colors and are usually combined with another colors.
Best for: low light conditions or when fishing in muddy water, also a great secondary color.
Best Walleye Crankbait Colors
Now it’s time to talk specific lures and color patterns that are going to be the most effective to use when fishing crankbaits for walleye.
Here is a list of some of the most popular walleye crankbait patterns:
- Firetiger Shad Raps
- Purple & Ghost X-Wraps
- Husky Jerk Tennessee Shad
- Husky Jerk Blue Chrome
- White Shad Raps
- Clown & Rainbow Trout X-Wraps
- Natural Perch
What Colors Do Walleye See Best at Night?
When targeting walleye at night your lure color selecting can be extremely important. The best colors to use for walleye at night are: white, blacks, chartreuse, and glowing baits. Dark and bold colors like this are going to help your lures stand out in the dark.
Another great night fishing tip you should consider is to throw lures and baits that have a lot of water vibration and displacement. This will help draw the fish from even farther away.
Selecting the right color of lure based on the condition you are fishing in and the available forage is extremely important. The right lure color will dramatically increase your chances at catching more fish and will help it stand out regardless of the conditions.
I hope you have found this walleye lure color guide to be insightful and that you apply what you learned the next time you hit the water.