Bass Fishing Lure Color Selection Chart

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.

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Use this bass fishing lure color selection chart as a guide:

  • Clear water – natural and subtle colors
  • Stained water – brighter, contrasting colors
  • Muddy water – dark, bold colors

Adjust colors based on depth, weather, and local forage, and always be prepared to experiment for optimal results.

Bass Fishing Lure Color Selection Chart 1

Lure Type

Lure TypeRecommended Colors
CrankbaitsShad, Chartreuse, Crawfish, Bluegill, Firetiger, Ghost Minnow
SpinnerbaitsWhite, Chartreuse, Chartreuse/White, Bluegill, Golden Shiner
JigsBlack/Blue, Green Pumpkin, Brown, Brown/Orange, Watermelon Red
Soft Plastic WormsGreen Pumpkin, Watermelon, Junebug, Black, Tequila Sunrise
Soft Plastic SwimbaitsShad, Pearl, Ayu, Bluegill, Rainbow Trout, Herring
Topwater FrogsNatural Green, Black, White, Yellow, Leopard, Bluegill
Topwater PoppersBone, Chrome, Shad, Baby Bass, Ghost Minnow, Chartreuse
Topwater Walking BaitsBone, Chrome, Shad, Baby Bass, Ghost Minnow, Chartreuse
JerkbaitsShad, Gold, Silver, Ghost Minnow, Bluegill, Clown
Lipless CrankbaitsChrome, Shad, Red Crawfish, Firetiger, Gold, Bluegill
BuzzbaitsBlack, White, Chartreuse, Chartreuse/White, Red/Black

I’ve found that tailoring lure colors based on the type of lure can be highly effective.

For crankbaits, I lean towards shad, chartreuse, and crawfish colors that imitate common prey.

When using spinnerbaits, white, chartreuse, and bluegill are my go-to choices, as they create a flashy, enticing presentation.

Jigs, on the other hand, benefit from more natural colors like black/blue, green pumpkin, and brown to mimic crawfish or other bottom-dwelling creatures.

Soft plastic worms work best in shades like green pumpkin, watermelon, and Junebug, while soft plastic swimbaits excel in shad, bluegill, and pearl colors that resemble forage fish.

Topwater frogs require natural tones like green or black, whereas topwater poppers and walking baits are effective in bone, chrome, and shad.

Lastly, for jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits, I opt for shad, gold, silver, and ghost minnow colors to mimic baitfish.

crankbait on a baitcasting reel

Season

SeasonRecommended Colors
SpringShad, Chartreuse, Crawfish, Bluegill, Green Pumpkin, Junebug
SummerGreen Pumpkin, Watermelon, Bluegill, Pearl, Black/Blue, Tequila Sunrise
FallShad, Chartreuse, Crawfish, Firetiger, Bluegill, Golden Shiner
WinterNatural, Ghost Minnow, Brown, Black, Black/Blue, Silver

Bass behavior changes significantly throughout the year as they spawn, bed, and recover.

In spring, bass tend to target shad, crawfish, and bluegill, making those colors more effective.

In summer, natural and subtle colors like green pumpkin and watermelon are popular in summer.

Fall sees a resurgence of shad and crawfish colors and brighter options like firetiger.

Winter requires more natural and subtle colors, with an emphasis on darker and metallic options.

fishing in the rain wearing a jacket

Weather Conditions

Weather ConditionRecommended Colors
Sunny/Clear SkiesNatural, Ghost Minnow, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Pearl
Overcast/Cloudy SkiesShad, Chartreuse, Crawfish, Bluegill, Firetiger
Low Light (Dawn/Dusk)Chrome, Gold, Black, Black/Blue, Chartreuse/White
Rainy/FoggyDarker Colors (Black, Brown), Chartreuse, Junebug, Bluegill

I’ve discovered that adapting my lure colors to the prevailing weather conditions is essential for a productive day on the water.

During sunny and clear skies, I opt for natural and subtle colors like ghost minnow, green pumpkin, watermelon, and pearl, which mimic the local forage and blend in with the surroundings.

In overcast or cloudy conditions, I’ve found that shad, chartreuse, crawfish, bluegill, and firetiger work well, as these brighter and more contrasting colors capture the attention of the bass.

In low light situations, such as at dawn or dusk, I choose reflective colors like chrome, gold, or dark colors like black and black/blue, which provide better visibility.

For rainy or foggy conditions, I gravitate toward darker colors like black and brown or contrasting colors like chartreuse to ensure my lure stands out.

Barometric Pressure

Barometric PressureRecommended Colors
High Pressure/StableNatural, Ghost Minnow, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Pearl
Falling PressureShad, Chartreuse, Crawfish, Bluegill, Firetiger
Low Pressure/UnstableDarker Colors (Black, Black/Blue), Chrome, Gold, Junebug

I believe in using changing barometric pressure to help you decide where to fish, and which lure to choose.

Brighter and more contrasting colors are more effective when the pressure is falling, as bass tend to be more aggressive.

In low pressure or unstable conditions, darker colors and metallic finishes can provide better visibility and attract bass.

Water Clarity

Water ClarityRecommended Colors
Clear WaterNatural, Ghost Minnow, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Pearl
Stained WaterChartreuse, Firetiger, Junebug, Crawfish, Bluegill
Muddy WaterBlack, Black/Blue, Chartreuse, Red Crawfish, Chartreuse/White

I’ve learned that choosing the appropriate lure colors based on water clarity is key to increasing my catch rate.

In clear water, I rely on natural, subtle colors like ghost minnow, green pumpkin, watermelon, and pearl to blend in seamlessly with the environment.

For stained water, I switch to brighter and more contrasting colors like chartreuse, firetiger, Junebug, and crawfish, which stand out and draw the attention of the bass.

In muddy water, I’ve found that dark and bold colors, such as black, black/blue, and chartreuse/white, are the most effective.

fishing for bass in muddy water with a lure

Depth

Water DepthRecommended Colors
Shallow Water (0-6 ft)Natural, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Bluegill, Chartreuse/White
Mid-depth (6-12 ft)Shad, Crawfish, Junebug, Chartreuse, Firetiger
Deep Water (12+ ft)Darker Colors (Black, Black/Blue), Chrome, Gold, Plum, Brown

I’ve found that selecting the right lure colors based on the target depth is crucial for success.

In shallow waters (0-6 ft), I prefer using natural and subtle colors like green pumpkin, watermelon, and bluegill to imitate the local forage.

When targeting mid-depth ranges (6-12 ft), I switch to brighter and more contrasting colors such as shad, chartreuse, and firetiger to grab the attention of the bass.

For deep water (12+ ft), I opt for darker colors like black, black/blue, and brown, as they create a better silhouette against the light above.