It can be a hard to choice to make when you open up your tackle box to pick out the first lure for a fishing excursion. Colour can be a key trigger for fishing success, but do not let a topside, internal debate keep you from getting a lure down into the water quickly.

Keep it simple.

First, choose something that mimics the colour, size and shape of the natural prey your target species feasts on. When was the last time a chartreuse baitfish was seen swimming while freshwater fishing?

If fishing is slow on your first ‘natural’ pick, be sure to experiment with other colours. Let light conditions and/or water clarity dictate your next pick. If the water is murky or they sky is overcast move to a brighter colour like chartreuse or bright orange. When water conditions are clear and the sky is bright – try shades of blue, browns, or green.

These are just guidelines. It has been this blogger’s experience that the way fish react to lures is far from predictable.

When in doubt about what colour to use – experiment. Take time to try everything you got and forget the rules and systems often read about or seen on TV. My tackle box has cranks of various colours. The colour of your lure is just one of triggering mechanisms built into its construction. Vibration, flash and silhouette also play significant roles.

On day 1 of a recent sunny fishing trip on a local Muskoka lake, two anglers started their trip with two different lures. One started with a natural looking black-topped and silver-white bottomed minnow crank bait. The other chose to start with a chartreuse coloured bait. Within four casts, the chartreuse lure had hooked a nice pike. Upon switching to a second bay, the second angler pulled in another nice pike on his first cast. The natural looking lure had no hits. This all changed when it was switched to a lure with similar colours (not shape) as his fishing partner’s chartreuse crank bait. Colour in this case ‘trumped’ shape.

Start taking notes of the lure colour, light conditions and water conditions that tempted a fish to strike on a favorite lake. As the records and details grow, so will the chances of picking the right lure colour.

If deep water fishing, keep in mind that at greater depths, lack of light penetration makes a colour debate a mute point. Colours can not be differentiated if there is no light to reflect or absorb.

Colour can impact your fishing success, but not to the extent that it will benefit the angler to change a lure every second or third cast. Fish will not be caught if a lure is not in the water.