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Bait Color Selection for Crappie


The question I am asked the most at fishing shows, by private messages and phone calls is always the same. “What is the best color I can use to catch crappie?” That is really a trick question, but we will explore the reasons behind color selection and how you can use it to your advantage to fill your livewell.

Anglers often think that there is one magic color that will catch all crappie all the time. Many factors affect crappie feeding behavior. What is important for you to remember at the basic level is that crappie are primarily sight feeders. They use their eyes to target what to eat. This means the crappie must see the color of the bait in the water you are fishing and distinguish it as food to consume it. So let us break down the different water conditions and put together a list of colors designed for clear as well as murky water. Keep in mind, these are not a guarantee, but rather a guide to helping you learn crappie behavior and patterns.



Clear water crappie seem to be the most difficult to catch. The bait needs to be seen, but not overly bright so it still resembles a food source. For these water conditions, choose clear or more translucent baits. This allows light to pass thru and highlight the profile. Choices such as: Snowflake, Blue Moon, Valentine, Pumpkinseed and Peppercorn are muted enough to still be seen while not sticking out like an orange cone at a construction site.


Murky/Stained Water

When fishing murky or stained water, the brighter and more solid the color, the better. We have all heard the old saying, “I don’t care what color I fish with, as long as it is chartreuse.” Well, that statement is not too far from the truth. When the water is darker, a solid profile is needed for the bait to be more visible. Choose colors such as: Ghost Hunter, Cherry Bomb, Orange Jubilee, Blueberry and Night Rider.

Presenting colors that are going to be more visible to crappie based on water clarity greatly increases your chances of filling that livewell. So keep color selection in mind during your next trip on the water and enjoy that day a little more.


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