What Colors Do Smallmouth Bass Like?

When you are looking for different smallmouth bass lures and baits either at your local tackle shop or online you’ll notice that there are a ton of different color options and patterns to choose from.

Selecting the right color is a big decision and can often seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. So what colors do smallmouth bass like? In my experience the best smallmouth bass fishing colors are: brown, green pumpkin, black, white, chartreuse and yellow.

However, there are certain factors that should play a role in your color selection process such as water conditions, time of year, bass forage and light penetration.

In this smallmouth bass fishing color guide I’ll share with you the best colors to use, how to determine the right color of lure & bait and some other tips and tricks that will help you catch more smallmouth bass.

Let’s get started.

How to Choose the Right Smallmouth Bass Color

When deciding on a lure color there are three important things to consider. Bass forage, water clarity and how much light is present.

Each of these components can clue you in on what colors of lures and baits to use. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Bass Forage

Matching the hatch is the first place I typically will start. Simply find out what the bass forage looks like in you targeted waters and do your best to select colors and patterns that closely resemble them.

This is a proven strategy and might be the single best way to determine the right color of lure or bait for you.  

Water Clarity

The clarity of the water that you are fishing can also play a big factor. In clear water, natural colors like: brown, green pumpkin, watermelon are the best options. When the water is stained or murky bold colors like chartreuse, white, black and blue tend to be the best.


Another factor to consider when selecting a color is the sun. How much sun or light is present? Are you fishing in low light conditions early in the morning or when its cloudy? Than dark (black & blue) or bold (white, chartreuse,) colors will help your lures stand out.

On the other hand, when your fishing in full sun, natural colors such as brown, green pumpkin, and watermelon are great options. Chrome and metallic lures also excel on bright sunny days because of the flash caused by the light.

With all of that being said this is more of a general guideline to help you get started there is no exact science in fishing and you should always be experimenting.

For more information about choosing the right lure color for bass check out our in-depth color guide: How to Choose the Right Bass Fishing Colors

Now that we have some of the basics down, let’s talk about the best smallmouth bass colors for specific lures and baits.

Make sure to check out My Recommended Bass Fishing Gear and Tackle Guide to ensure you have the right gear for your next fishing adventure.

Best Smallmouth Bass Colors

Smallmouth bass caught on a crankbait

There are several factors that can contribute to your smallmouth bass fishing success such as lure color, presentation, retrieval speed, time for day, season, lure size and others.

In this article we have focused primarily on color selection, but it’s important to also understand that there are other factors that also play a role as well.

Here is a breakdown of the best smallmouth bass fishing colors by lure & bait.

Best Color of Jigs for Smallmouth Bass

It’s no secret smallmouth bass love to eat crawdads and jigs are one of the best crawdad imitators. Jigs are versatile lure and one of the most effective ways to target smallmouth bass.

So what are the best color of jigs for smallmouth bass? The best jig colors for smallmouth are brown, green pumpkin, watermelon and any other natural color that best resembles crawdads that live on your home lake.

Best Color of Worms for Smallmouth Bass

Worms are another popular and effective way to catch smallmouth bass. I always get a kick out of asking other anglers what their favorite color of worms to throw for smallmouth.

Why? Because everyone seems to have a different answer. It really just depends on what you are trying to imitate and what you have the most confidence in. Try new colors and find something that works for you.

Here is a list of my favorite/confident colors I use when fishing for smallmouth bass:

  • Green Pumpkin with Red or Purple Flake
  • Morning Dawn
  • Black & Blue
  • Watermelon
  • Craw Patterns (orange, brown & red)
  • Junebug

Best Color Crankbait for Smallmouth Bass

Crankbaits are another great way to catch smallmouth bass. Just like most other lures there are a ton of different colors options and patterns to choose from.

In my opinion the best smallmouth bass crankbait colors are white, ghost patterns, red or orange and gold.

However, the best color of crankbait for smallmouth bass really depends on the forage of the lake, the weather conditions and the water clarity like we have discussed in this article.

You want a crankbait that either matches a natural bass forage like a crawdad or baitfish or you want a bold color that makes it stand out like a white or chartreuse.

Best Senko Color for Smallmouth Bass

More bass have been caught on a senko probably more than any other bait out there. They are easy to fish and they flat out produce.  These days there are a ton of different color options anglers can choose from.

What are the best senko colors for smallmouth bass? In my opinion the best senko colors for smallmouth are: green pumpkin with purple or red flake, black & blue, chartreuse pumpkin and PB&J.  

Other Bass Fishing Resources

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right color of lure or bait based on the fishing conditions, bass forage and time of year can play a major role in your smallmouth bass fishing success.

I hope you have found the information in this article to be helpful and that you use what you have learned the next time you hit water and chase these beautiful fish.

For more information about fishing for smallmouth bass check out this guide: Smallmouth Bass Fishing.

Best of luck out there


Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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