The Best Colors For Lures And Flashers (For Each Species)

When it comes to colors, some people are super detailed with what they use and when, while others stick to the basics. I didn’t really know what the right answer was so I decided to call a few fishing guides and ask them what lure and flasher colors worked the best.

Even though I’ve been able to catch fish with a number of different lures, picking the right one for the job can help you out slightly. Different colors will stand out more in different colors. Some will also look a lot better at different depths.

I’m going to be talking about some general guidelines to follow that have worked for me or a fishing guide. It’s not set in stone, but it should give you a good place to start. We’ll be talking about what color flashers to use in different water conditions as well as what lure to pair with it. Try out a few combos to see what works the best in your area.

Best Color Flasher For Trout, Salmon & Walleye

Just like with lures, picking the right flasher (or dodger) color can make a difference. I wouldn’t say it’s the difference between catching nothing and catching something, but it could help land you a couple more fish.

The biggest thing to think about here is what color will actually stand out. If you have the wrong flasher color for the water you’re fishing, it might just look black, which obviously, won’t stand out.

What I’d recommend you do is pick a couple of different colors from the list below. You don’t need them all, but having one or two for each water type should set you up for success.

Here are some flasher colors that work well in different colors of water:

Water ColorFlasher Color
Green Or BrownChartreuse

The best flasher color for clear water is red, green, chartreuse, or silver and chrome. These colors will stand out clearly and will be the most visible for this type of water.

The best flasher color for blue water is blue, green, or silver and chrome. Some of the other colors might look black or might not stand out that well, but these colors will be highly visible.

The best flasher color for green or brown water is chartreuse, white, purple, red, or gold and silver. In this type of water, having the right flasher color is the most important.

So, which colors would I pick?

Pick 1 metallic color and 1 bright color that fits the type of water you’re fishing.

BC Kokanee Guide

What I was told to do was pick a few different colors that work well in different water types. Blue, white, purple, and gold/silver are only useful in one type of water, so I’d probably avoid those.

My first choice would have to be the classic silver and chrome flasher. It’s perfect for clear and blue water, but I’ve also been able to catch fish in greenish water too. My second choice would be either red or chartreuse. These colors are perfect for both clear and greenish-brown water.

Best Lure Color For Trout

The majority of anglers agree that a lure that has gold, silver, or black as the main color is the best performer. Having these three colors will be able to catch any type of trout in any type of watercolor.

When deciding on what lure color to use, you should look at the watercolor and how deep you’re fishing. Both will have a big impact on what the lure looks like in the water. If you use the wrong color, your lure could end up just looking black.

The first thing we’ll start with is some lure colors that work well for a variety of different trout. I’ve caught more than three trout on each of these colors. I wouldn’t recommend getting all of them, but having a few is always a good idea.

It’s also going to depend on what depth you’re fishing at. We’ll jump into this later on, but you’ll want to check out that section before buying a certain color. If you are curious, you can see our favorite trout lures here.

Here are some colors that can work well for trout:

Lure ColorType Of Water
Gold Or CopperStaind Or Dark Day
Chrome Or SilverClear On Bright Day
Black/SilverAll Water
White/Silver/PinkAll Water
Purple/SilverAll Water
WatermelonAll Water
Black/WhiteAll Water
Green/SilverAll Water
Blue/SilverAll Water

My favorite lure colors for rainbow trout are natural-looking colors such as silver, black, and rainbow trout. These colors can work well in all water conditions and are good in a variety of different depths.

My favorite lure colors for brook trout are natural-looking colors such as black, brown, and red. These colors resemble smaller brook trout and are why they work so well.

My favorite lure colors for cutthroat trout are silver, blue, and green. Having a silver lure with blue or green should have the most success in most types of water.

Best Lure Color For Lake Trout

The best lure color for lake trout is silver and blue. Certain lake trout guides like using silver because it resembles an actual fish while blue is visible at deeper depths.

Silver and blue is the only lure you need.

Lake Trout Guide

The lake my family has a cabin at has lake trout in it and the only color we’ve caught something on was silver and silver/blue. Obviously, it depends on the watercolor and how deep you’re fishing, but in the majority of lakes out there, you can’t go wrong with silver and blue.

Here are some colors that can work well for lake trout:

Lure ColorType Of Water
Pink/Blue/SilverAll Water
Green/SilverAll Water
Blue/SilverAll Water

I’ve never really had much luck with lures that are all red (for any type of fish). Actually, I guess you could throw pink and orange in there as well. I’ve had much better luck with natural-looking colors, and that’s what the rest of the colors in the chart above are.

I think the reason red doesn’t work that well for me is that I’m normally fishing pretty deep. We’ll talk more about this later but you’ll see that the color red loses its visibility at around 16 feet. If you’re fishing shallower, it could work great, but in deeper lakes, you’ll probably want something else.

Best Lure Color For Kokanee Salmon

According to a kokanee angler with 40 years’ experience, the best lure color for kokanee is dark green, dark blue, and black, with a bit of silver or white. These colors will work well in all colors of water and can also be fished at all depths.

There’s this guy a couple of houses down from us that goes out pretty much every day and always seems to get his limit. There’s obviously more that goes into it than color, but it should be a factor.

Just an FYI, his go-to setup was a Ford Fender with a spoon (Apex or small classic spoon) or wedding band. Tip it with a maggot and you should be able to find some fish. You can see some of our favorite kokanee lures here.

Here are some colors that can work well for kokanee:

Lure ColorType Of Water
Black/SilverAll Water
Dark Blue/SilverAll Water
Green/YellowAll Water
Dark Green/SilverAll Water
Red Or Orange SparkleDark Green Water

The colors red, pink, and orange are only going to be effective up to 26 feet deep or in ultra-clear water. The majority of lakes I go to are either deeper than that or are a bit greenish. Sure, they could work but I’d rather just stick to something that works in all watercolors and depths.

Colors with dark green, dark blue, and black with a little bit of white or silver work well in most types of water. They can be fished at all depths as well (that’s why they’re my go-to).

The color lemonlime also can work in all water conditions. If you’re fishing in dark green water, you could also give red or orange sparkle a try. It’s not a flat color, it has somewhat of a glitter sparkle to it.

Best Lure Color For Walleye

The best lure color for walleye is anything with green, yellow, and silver on it. These colors can be used in any type of water and should stand out well at all depths.

Here are some colors that can work well for walleye:

Lure ColorType Of Water
Green/YellowAll Water
Black/SilverAll Water
Blue/SilverAll Water
Green/SilverAll Water
Green/Yellow/SilverAll Water
Green/Black/SilverDark Green Water

If you’re fishing pretty clear water on a brighter day, the classic chrome and silver can work really well. It’s going to look like an actual fish, which is what they’re probably feeding on already.

Lures that have silver with a bit of a darker color such as green, yellow, black, and blue can work in pretty much all types of water. The darker colors will stand out better if you’re fishing at depth.

If you’re fishing in dark green water then you could give green, black, and silver a try. These colors will stand out the best.

Best Lure Color For The Depth

We just covered some of the best colors to use for different species of fish. To take things one step further, we can also look at how deep we’ll be fishing.

If you want to keep things simple, you can just use one of the colors we talked about and still probably catch something. To improve your odds, you’ll want to know a bit about light and what your lure looks like underwater.

Certain colors will stand out a lot better at shallower depths, but as you go deeper, they’ll start to look black. It can work fine but it’s not something that’ll bring fish in from a distance.

Here are what colors you’ll want to use at different depths:

Lure ColorIdeal Depth
Pink & RedShallower than 16 feet
OrangeUp to 26 feet
YellowUp to 45 feet
GreenUp to 75 feet
Blue & PurpleDeeper than 75 feet

The two colors that turn black the quickest are pink and red. It depends on how bright the weather is, but somewhere close to 16 feet deep is when it starts to turn black. Anytime you’re fishing shallow, give these a try.

Up next is orange. A bit better than pink and red, but it’ll start turning black around 26 feet deep. I mainly fish deeper than that so it’s not really a color that works well for me.

The color yellow is good up until 45 feet deep. I really don’t use pink, red, and orange often, but yellow is something I really like as a complementary color. Yellow with green or yellow with black is always a good choice.

For most types of fishing, I never go deeper than 75 feet and that’s why green is one of my favorite choices. It works in shallower water, it works in all colors of water, and it’s pretty visible down to 75 feet deep.

Anytime I’m fishing for lake trout, I’ll probably use a lure that has black, blue, or purple on it. These are the only colors that stand out below 75 feet deep.

I know it can seem like a lot to think about but I’m a big believer in understanding the basics and then keeping things simple. That’s why I mainly stick to simple, natural-looking colors such as silver, gold, green, blue, and black.

You don’t need every color out there. That’s just way too much to think about. Plus, you don’t want to be carrying around two boxes full of gear (at least I don’t). Have a couple of colors that work for each watercolor and depth, and you should do just fine.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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