Refresher on lure colors & water depth.

Posted on January 18th, 2022

There are so many colored lures available to anglers. I often wonder are they so colorful and naturally colored to catch fishermen, or fish, or both?

I learned a long time ago that the colors we see in the air isn’t necessarily what fish see underwater, especially if the water is murky where there is low light and especially in deeper water.

UV fluorescent colored lures maintain their colors even in deeper depths with less sunlight penetration.

At what depth underwater do colors disappear?

Red – 15ft

orange – 25ft

Yellow – 35-45ft

Green – 70-75ft

– Water progressively absorbs or blocks light of different wavelengths, meaning that colors effectively “vanish” one after another as “white” sunlight travels through the water column.

– The overall intensity or brightness of visible light also diminishes rapidly underwater.

– The amount of light that penetrates the surface depends on surface conditions, the weather, water clarity and the time of day.

– Choppy waters reflect more light than calm waters.

– Sunlight from the horizon is reflected much more than sunlight from straight above.

– The brightest conditions underwater will occur on a sunny day, with a calm surface between 10AM and 2PM.

– the clarity and color of the water itself, and the presence of any suspended matter such as weed or plankton affect light penetration.

This phenomenon has a profound impact on the way things look to us, and to fish underwater. White objects will appear bluish or gray underwater, and the darkness of that blue/gray appearance increases rapidly with depth. Red objects will begin to look dark brown or even black within a few meters of the surface. Down at 40 or 50 feet, even in very clear water, the world appears to be composed entirely of shades of gray, blue, and black.


Make sure to check the fishing videos on our Italo Labignan YouTube channel and if you have any questions just email them to me at Ask Italo throughout our www.canadian-sportfishing.com website.

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