Fishing Lines: Changing lure, jig colors can bring more fish

Sometimes jig, lure, or spinner color doesn't matter as much as the action, and sometimes it is everything when it comes to triggering fish. Some lakes around the state are known for certain colors that work way more consistently than others. Lak...

Sometimes jig, lure, or spinner color doesn’t matter as much as the action, and sometimes it is everything when it comes to triggering fish. Some lakes around the state are known for certain colors that work way more consistently than others. Lake of the Woods is known for consistency with gold, pink, and pearl white (as is the Rainy River). Big Stone is known for fire tiger patterns and chartreuse. The Mississippi River and Lake Pepin have long been black, blue, and Kelly green staples. Leech and Winni are known for producing with two color or multi tone jigs, especially in perch colors.

Locally, we have some lakes that have some key color combinations that work better than others. Sorry, I’m not just going to spoon feed you that information on all our area lakes. You need to figure some of this out for yourself. It is a lot more fun and you will have pride in yourself when you figure out your own patterns.

These colors can change from the spring to the fall. Usually, this change in color preference for fish from early season, to summer, to the late fall has to do with their primary forage at certain times of the season.

With time on the water, practice and trial and error, you will start to develop what I call “confidence colors.” These are colors that you will typically go to as they have shown themselves to work better than others for you at certain times of the year. It is helpful when you have a couple people in the boat as you can be on different colors. Two or three anglers changing colors can be helpful in keying in on what is working best.

Colors can not only change during different parts of the season, but can change from day to day, or even in a matter of hours. Cloud cover, twilight, wind action that changes water clarity or bright sun that creates an algae bloom can all be factors that can change what is working.


Take note on lakes you fish and colors that are working based on conditions. When conditions are similar you can fall back to some history that can help dial you into the bite.

Other significant factors that always come into play include things like speed, type of line and line weight, and the type of action you are imparting on the jig or lure. If you get a bite or catch a fish, repeat the type of jig cadence you had going. Were you dragging, hopping, ripping, lifting and dropping, lifting and holding? Were you moving slow and more vertical? Were you moving faster and twitching? It all becomes important as presentation style and color may both factor when it comes to getting on consistent action.

Light or small diameter lines will make jigs or lures drop faster, and thicker higher diameter lines will slow the drop of a jig or lure. The “super lines”, or hard lines as I refer to them (include the new generation of no stretch lines like PowerPro, Fireline, Spiderwire, etc., etc.), have small diameter and high tensile strength. They fish very differently than the monofilament or fluorocarbon lines. You may need to lighten up jig sizes (especially in shallow water) to get the type of action out of your jig or lure you want. These lines really excel in deep water or current situations, and you can get lighter jigs deeper more quickly as there is far less resistance on these lines.

If one partner is having more success with one line type or diameter, jig color, or size, over the other when you are both doing the same thing…make sure your mama didn’t raise no fool! Change. You can both get in on the action!

This is a great time of year to get out and experiment, practice, learn, and improve your on-the-water skills. Plenty of open water yet.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)

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