What is the Best Color Fishing Line for Walleye?


Updated on December 8, 2022 by
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Walleyes are some of the most popular challenges for dedicated anglers. These toothy predator fish are particularly common around the Midwest (they are even Ohio’s unofficial state fish). Walleyes are so popular because they taste delicious and are common in many freshwater bodies of water. They’re also a popular challenge for anglers because they are difficult to catch.

Walleyes are wily fish with great eyesight, which means they will notice your line. The best color fishing line for walleye to avoid detection are clear or dark green. The type of fishing line you use also matters, as fluorocarbons are the best for line-shy walleyes.

You need every advantage you can get when you are fishing for walleye, so this is how to choose the best fishing line.

What Colors Can Walleye See?

Walleyes have a very unique vision compared to other fish.

First, there is the fact that they have perpendicular vision. Their eyes point directly out, making them look as if they are looking at two walls (hence the name). This is an advantage for this predatorial fish because they have excellent peripheral vision.

The walleye’s color vision is also unique. Walleyes can see green, orange, and red very well. However, they struggle with colors that are either shorter or longer in wavelength than these shades. 

Walleyes struggle the most with seeing blue and similar colors such as purple, indigo, and violet. 

Besides color, other factors affect a walleye’s vision. They see best at distances of 50 feet or less. In general, walleyes don’t see details very well. Their eyes are designed more for detecting movement.

walleye fish caught and held up

What Colors Are Visible at Different Depths?

When choosing your fishing line, you need to think about what it will look like underwater, not just what it looks like to you in the shop. Colors look very different underwater than they do above water. 

Water affects how light travels. It scatters light particles, affecting how we perceive color. Colors that have longer wavelengths scatter faster, meaning they are not visible underwater. Red has the longest wavelength and isn’t visible after a depth of about 15 feet. Every ten feet, another color fades out. The deeper you go, the fewer colors you can see. The colors in order of disappearance are:

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

You might be wondering how this affects walleye fishing. Walleye fishing happens in shallow and deep waters. These fish move throughout their homes to catch their prey. That means you can’t rely on the fact that they can’t see certain colors underwater to hide your fishing line. 

Still, it’s good to know how fishing lines look underwater so you can understand how to set your gear up.

Graph of Visible colours at different depth

Are Walleyes Sensitive to Color Fishing Line?

Choosing the right color fishing line is very important when fishing for walleye. These notoriously difficult fish are sensitive to what color you are using for your fishing line.

Walleyes are line shy. In fishing parlance, walleyes are wary of approaching fishing lines and will sense that bait is not, in fact, free food. While you want the bait to attract walleyes, the line should be the opposite. 

As mentioned above, walleyes have excellent vision. That means they detect colorful lines in the water. Walleyes are also one of the most common targets for fishermen, so the fish in popular destinations for anglers have learned to beware of lines in the water.

To catch walleye, choose a line that will blend in with the water as much as possible. Choosing an unobtrusive color is important, but it’s not the only factor. You also want to choose the right material. A fluorocarbon fishing line has a special coating that deflects light and is nearly impossible to see, no matter the water conditions.

Many experienced walleye anglers use a combination of heftier braided line and fluorocarbon. While fluorocarbon is nearly invisible, it is also thinner and more fragile, making it likely to break under the strain of catching a walleye. You can use a braided fishing line with a fluorocarbon leader. Only the leader goes underwater, so you can use any color braided line you like to make visibility easier.

multiple seagar fluorocarbon fishing line packets in a row

Best Color Fishing Line for Walleye

Whether using a combination fishing line or just one type, you must be careful when picking out your line color. You need to choose one that the walleye will not see; otherwise you will get no bites.

Clear 

The best color for walleye fishing is no color at all. If possible, you want to get a clear line so the fish can’t distinguish it from the water. Walleye have good eyesight compared to other fish but struggle with seeing details. That means a clear fluorocarbon will be nearly invisible to them, no matter the water conditions.

When fishing for challenging catches such as walleye, keep it as simple as possible and use a clear line.

Dark Green

Dark green is the next best choice if you are fishing in brackish waters. It blends in with the color of the water and surrounding vegetation, camouflaging your line.

Dark green is the best choice if you are using any line other than fluorocarbon. Some fishermen prefer to fish for walleye with braided lines. They think the advantage in strength and sensitivity is worth the loss in camouflage. However, make sure you are using a color that is less visible to walleyes when using braided lines.

The best combination is to use a dark green braided line for the surface with a clear fluorocarbon leader.

Final Thoughts

Walleyes are a prized catch not only due to their taste but also their difficulty. To overcome these wily fish, you need to be careful about the fishing line you use, especially because walleyes can see color very well. The best line is clear fluorocarbon because it camouflages the best and will not alert the fish to your presence.

I have written a guide to which colored fishing line for all freshwater species if you are looking at different angling styles.


Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing I prefer than heading down to my local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test. My favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. My dream is to catch a Black Marlin.