What is the Best Color Fishing Line for Crappie?

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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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The best fishing line color for crappie fishing is clear, as it offers low visibility and is nearly invisible underwater, ensuring minimal disturbance to the fish. Other suitable colors include green and red, which blend well in green or weedy waters and at depth.

Crappies are some of the most popular catches for recreational anglers across America. These fish belong to two different species that are very similar. They are popular among anglers because they are a challenging fish to catch, acting shy around fishing lines and putting up a spirited fight once they bite. That makes the taste once they finally hit the pan so much sweeter.

When fishing for crappie, durability is the most important factor, but so is invisibility.

Make sure you catch dinner next time you go fishing for crappie with these tips for choosing the best fishing line.

Line ColorVisibilitySuitability for Crappie FishingStar Rating
ClearLow visibility, nearly invisibleExcellent⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
GreenGood in green or weedy watersGood⭐⭐⭐⭐
BlueGood in clear, blue-tinted watersFair⭐⭐⭐
YellowHighly visible, easy to trackFair to Poor⭐⭐
RedBecomes less visible at depthGood⭐⭐⭐⭐

What Colors Can Crappie See?

Before launching into the different color lines you can use to catch crappie, let’s establish the answer to a very important question. Can crappie even see color? You don’t want to waste time agonizing over the line color for a color-blind fish!

Like many freshwater fish, crappie actually have excellent color vision. However, they can’t see all the colors that humans can see.

Crappie have red and green cone cells in their eyes. That means they can easily tell different shades of red and green apart, including very subtle differences in color. They can also see yellow. However, they are colorblind when it comes to blue and purple shades. 

Crappies can also see white, which stands out in their dark underwater environment. That is why many crappie anglers use glow baits that give off neon colors or a white light to attract the fish. 

Crappie fish caught underwater

What Colors Are Visible at Different Depths?

When picking out fishing line, you have to think about what the line looks underwater, not what it looks like to you (unless you are picking out a high-viz line so you can detect your own line, but more on that later).

When objects submerge, the water refracts light rays, absorbing and dispersing them. This changes how color is visible underwater. All colors start to fade when they go underwater. After a certain depth, colors with the longest wavelengths fade altogether. Instead, they’re just visible as black shapes. 

Humans don’t notice this effect as much because even when diving, our brain fills in what we think a color should look like. However, this effect affects how fish see color.

The colors in order of disappearance are:

  1. Red
  2. Orange
  3. Yellow
  4. Green
  5. Blue

Blue is visible at depths of up to 200 feet in the deepest spots.

How does this affect how you fish for crappie? Crappie live at different depths depending on the season. In the fall, they live in shallow waters less than 10 feet deep, meaning they will see all colors. However, in the winter, they live up to 20–30 feet deep, meaning colors such as red or orange become less visible. 

Graph of Visible colours at different depth

Are Crappie Sensitive to Color Fishing Line?

Crappie can see color, so they can probably see your fishing line if it is a bright color.

However, it is unclear if it matters at all. Crappie are not line shy, meaning that they don’t avoid fishing lines. The challenge isn’t getting them not to avoid the line but to create an attractive bait for them to bite.

Some fishermen prefer to be safe rather than sorry and fish using low-visibility lines. You never know—some crappie might have realized that a fishing line means the snack isn’t so worth it after all, and every little bit counts. 

Others argue that the color of the bait matters more than the color of the line. You want to use bright bait to attract the attention of the crappie. Once they get hooked on the bait, the line won’t matter that much. That’s why there is so much advice on using the right lure for fishing crappie. 

The Best Color Fishing Line for Crappie

While crappie is not as sensitive to lines as other fish, such as salmon, it’s better to play it safe and use line they won’t see.

The best colors for fishing crappie are:

  • Clear
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Yellow


Whenever you want a line with low visibility, clear fluorocarbon is clearly the best option. Use this line when fishing in clear water where you can see the bottom. It will blend in with the water, attracting even more cautious crappie.


Crappie like to live close in near the shoreline in places that provide shelter, such as tree roots and weed beds. The water conditions here tend to be murkier, so a clear line would stand out. Green line blends in perfectly with the green-tinged water that abounds in brackish freshwater habitats that crappie frequent. Plus, it is easier for you as the angler to spot.


Another good choice for muddier, brackish water is blue. Many freshwater bodies have blue-tinged water, making the blue line blend in easily. Plus, crappies cannot see blue very well, making this even less visible to those fish. Blue is also a very versatile line color since it is useful for attracting even line shy fish, so always good to have in your tackle box.


Yellow seems like an unconventional choice for stealthily fishing crappie. However, crappie won’t care if there is a bright color, and they don’t see yellow as well as red or green.

Plus, yellow is great for you as the angler. When using low-viz line, it’s sometimes hard to see your own fishing setup and detect which line is moving once you have a bite. Yellow makes it easier for you to see and won’t scare away crappie.

Final Thoughts

Color doesn’t matter as much when fishing for crappie as it does for fishing line shy fish. If you still want to play it safe, choose a blue, green, or clear line. 

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