What Color Spinnerbait to Use

Written By James Smith

Keen fisherman here to offer advice and help for reels, rods and gear.

When it comes to fishing, having the right gear can make all the difference. One crucial aspect of your fishing equipment is the color of your spinnerbait. Many anglers may not be using the best spinnerbait color for success. Understanding which color to use can significantly improve your chances of reeling in those elusive fish.

Spinnerbait colors play a significant role in the effectiveness of this type of lure, as fish respond differently to various colors based on factors like water clarity, weather, and light conditions. Familiarizing yourself with these factors and learning when to use specific spinnerbait colors can drastically increase your success on the water.

Key Takeaways

  • Color selection plays a crucial role in spinnerbait effectiveness
  • Water clarity, weather, and light conditions impact optimal spinnerbait color choice
  • Familiarize yourself with different conditions to improve success in selecting the right spinnerbait color
  • Try to match the baitfish colors when choosing spinnerbait colors for bass.
    • If the bass are primarily eating golden shiners, choose spinnerbaits with yellows, golds, browns, and oranges in the skirt to match those baitfish.
    • If they are eating a lot of bluegill, go with greens, purples, reds, and oranges in the skirt.
    • If threadfin shad are the main forage, white and silver skirts would be a better match.
    • If crawfish are prevalent, browns, reds, oranges and blacks in the skirt can imitate them well.

How Colors Influence Spinnerbait Effectiveness

Color Variations in Spinnerbait

There are various color options available for spinnerbait, which may work differently depending on the water conditions and target fish species. Some common colors include:

  • Bright colors: These are often used in murky water, as they can easily catch the fish’s attention. Examples include chartreuse, orange, and firetiger.
  • Natural colors: These are typically effective in clear water, as they mimic the natural prey of fish. Examples include shad, bluegill, and perch.

Scientific Basis of Color Selection

Understanding how fish perceive color can be helpful when choosing the right spinnerbait color. Fish have a keen sense of color vision due to the presence of specialized cells called cones in their eyes. Some factors influencing fish color perception include:

  • Water depth: As the depth increases, colors are absorbed, and only a few colors remain visible. For example, reds and oranges are easily absorbed, while blue and green penetrate deeper.
  • Turbidity: Muddy or murky water can decrease visibility, making bright colors more effective.

Fish Species and Their Color Preferences

Different species of fish have their unique color preferences. Here are a few examples:

  • Bass: They usually attack spinnerbaits with natural colors, such as shad or bluegill, in clear water conditions. However, they might prefer bright colors like chartreuse in murkier waters.
  • Pike: These fish are drawn to flashy colors, like silver and white, which mimic their preferred prey.
  • Walleye: They tend to prefer shad, perch, or other natural-colored spinnerbaits, but brighter options can also be effective in low-visibility conditions.

When selecting spinnerbait colors, consider the target fish species, water conditions, and factors that influence color perception to increase your chances of success.

fisherman with day's haul

Optimal Conditions for Different Spinnerbait Colors

Clear Water Conditions

In clear water conditions, using natural-colored spinnerbaits is the key to success. Lighter colors like white and gray closely resemble baitfish, making them an excellent choice. When fishing in clear water, you can also experiment with shiny or metallic spinnerbaits, such as:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Chrome

These reflective colors imitate the flash of a real fish, triggering a predatory response from your target.

Murky Water Conditions

When you’re faced with murky or stained water, turn to bright, high-contrast spinnerbait colors. Under these conditions, the vibrant colors make it easier for fish to detect your lure. Some attention-grabbing colors for less-than-perfect water clarity include:

  • Chartreuse
  • Fire tiger
  • Orange
  • Bright Green

Additionally, black or blue spinnerbaits can create a strong silhouette, making them quite effective in darker or muddy waters.

Weather Impact on Color Choice

Weather plays a significant role in determining the ideal spinnerbait color. Keep the following guidelines in mind based on the sky’s condition:

  • Sunny days: On bright, sunny days, stick to natural or shiny metallic colors. The sunlight helps enhance the flash and reflectivity of the lure, drawing in the fish.
  • Overcast days: In overcast or cloudy conditions, go for subdued colors like gray, blue, or green. These duller colors provide a more realistic appearance in dim light, making them more attractive to fish.

Remember to experiment with different colors based on the conditions, and you’ll be on your way to a successful fishing adventure.

Tips for Choosing the Right Spinnerbait Color

Fishing Time and Spinnerbait Color

As you plan your fishing trip, consider the time of day you’ll be on the water. The natural light greatly influences the visibility of your spinnerbait. In low light conditions, such as dawn and dusk, opt for darker colors like black and blue. In contrast, when the sun is shining, bright and reflective colors like white, chartreuse, or shad patterns will catch the attention of your target species.

Local Baitfish Color Mimicry

Take note of the local baitfish in the area where you’ll be fishing. It’s crucial to choose a spinnerbait color that closely resembles these prey. This way, you can effectively mimic the fish that predators are actively feeding on. For instance, if the dominant baitfish are silver shiners, a silver spinnerbait will increase your chances of a successful catch. Don’t hesitate to ask other anglers or local bait shops for advice on the prevalent baitfish in your chosen location.

Trial and Error Approach

While there are general guidelines for selecting spinnerbait colors, remember that each fishing spot is unique. What works well for one location may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try out various color combinations. It’s always a good idea to have a selection of spinnerbaits in your tackle box to experiment with until you find what works best for your specific environment. Remember, practice makes perfect, and experience will ultimately lead to angling success.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spinnerbait Colors

Why are there so many spinnerbait colors?

There are many spinnerbait colors available because each color can produce different results depending on the water conditions and the types of fish you’re targeting. By having a variety of colors in your tackle box, you increase your chances of success on the water.

How do I decide which color of spinnerbait to use?

Consider factors like water clarity, weather conditions, and the natural baitfish in the area. In clear water, try using more natural colors like shad or silver. In stained or murky water, opt for brighter colors like chartreuse or orange. During low-light conditions or overcast days, darker colors like black or blue can be effective.

Do I need every spinnerbait color available?

While it’s nice to have a variety of colors, you don’t need every color available. Focus on a selection of versatile colors that work well in different water conditions and with various types of fish. Some popular choices include:

  • White or shad
  • Chartreuse or green
  • Yellow or gold
  • Black or blue
  • Orange or red

Do certain fish prefer specific spinnerbait colors?

Fish species can have preferences for certain colors, often based on their natural prey. For example, bass might prefer shad or bluegill colors, while northern pike might be attracted to bright chartreuse or orange. Experiment with different colors to see what works best for the fish you’re targeting.

Does the size and style of the spinnerbait blade affect the color choice?

Yes, the size and style of the spinnerbait blade can impact the color choice. Larger blades create more flash and vibration, which can work well with brighter colors. Smaller blades are more subtle and can be effective with more natural colors. Willow leaf and Colorado blades are popular options that work well in different situations.

Remember, the key to success with spinnerbait colors is trial and error. Don’t be afraid to switch up your color choices and observe how the fish react.


Choosing the right color spinnerbait can make a big difference to your fishing day out. With so many options available, it’s essential to consider factors like water clarity, weather conditions, and the type of fish you are targeting.

In clearer water, opt for more natural colors like greens and blues, which closely resemble the baitfish in the area. On the other hand, in murky water, you’ll want to grab attention with bright, contrasting colors like chartreuse and white.

Don’t forget about the effect weather plays in your spinnerbait color choice. Overcast or cloudy days may require brighter colors to increase visibility, while sunny days are better suited for natural colors that blend with the surroundings.

Be sure to experiment and pay attention to what works best in your specific location, as the preferences of fish can differ from one place to another. By being mindful of these key points, your spinnerbait game will no doubt improve, and you’ll be catching more fish in no time.

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