What Color Jig Will Work Best On My Local Lake?
This question frequents all forums and groups that I belong to in the crappie fishing world. Everyone wants to know the perfect color combination crappie jig that will lead to the most fish catches on their lake on a given day.
Each lake does have its own staple color jig that consistently catches fish, and every angler will swear by their confidence color but the best choice at any given time will change along with the conditions and water clarity.
What Factors Go Into Finding The Best Crappie Jig To Use On Your Lake?
We should first look at all the variables that would cause a change in water visibility forcing you to adjust your jig color correctly.
I will use the following variants:
- Water Clarity
- Sky Conditions
- Lake Structure
How Water Clarity Determines your crappie jig color
Water clarity is the single most important variable to me when I’m choosing the proper jig to fish for crappie. If you’re fishing in a clear lake, you can draw fish in from a longer distance but upon closer observation your jig will have to resemble something close to what the fish will feed on.
Sky Conditions Can Quickly Change Your Jig Selection
A sunny sky turning cloudy can cause your jig color to become less visible to the fish from a distance but also hide its flaws from the crappie. This has the biggest effect on clearer lakes as the visibility can have wild swings throughout a day.
Wind Can Cause You To Have To Change Your Jig Color
While not quite as detrimental to water visibility, wind does cut down light penetration which opens you up to a wider range of colors.
If the winds are over 10mph and the skies are cloudy, then you can get away with just about any color combination in your tackle box. This helps explain why some of your best days out on the water are during low light conditions as crappie will have a tougher time telling if your bait is real or not.
Lake Structure Can Have An Effect On Crappie Jig Color
This applies mostly to grassy lakes, as baitfish can shade their colors to blend in with the plant forage that they feed off of and hide in.
If I’m fishing a clearer grassy lake, I will actually try to use the color that matches the grass the best as the fish will only be able to make out its profile!
Putting It All Together For Determining The Correct Crappie Jig Color
Below is a table that will cover all of my favorite color combinations to keep on hand and when to use them once the conditions change by using a grading system above the chart.
*Also, keep in mind that this is just a guide. It’s not possible to keep every color combination on hand and there will be times that you don’t have the perfect combo.*
Clear Water (over 5′ visibility) 0
Stained Water (2-5′ visibility) 3
Dirty Water (0-2′ visibility) 6
Sunny Sky 0
Cloudy Sky 3
Wind (3-5mph) 1
Wind (5+mph) 2
While not a perfect science, the color chart above can help you out when you’re new to fishing or visiting a new lake. There are always exceptions to the rules and just because you’re on a clear lake doesn’t mean the crappie won’t bite a purple and chartreuse colored jig.
The color combinations above will catch you a lot of fish. The next thing is determining the best possible jig profile so that you can maximize your fish catches.
If all else fails ALWAYS use your favorite color combo first. It’s your confidence color and as the great Bill Dance says, “Confidence is the most important tool in your tacklebox.“