Best Walleye Crankbait Colors

Best Walleye Crankbait Colors

Every angler wants to fish for walleye. These aggressive underwater monsters will give you the fight of your life and fishing for them is a ton of fun. However, choosing the right lure color can be the difference between success and failure on a walleye trip.

So, how do you choose the right color? Let’s see what a pro had to say!

“If you know what they are eating, then match it. Then, base color selection on water clarity and light penetration. You’ll catch fish all day long,” says Pro Walleye Angler Jon Thelen.[1]

It’s not just walleye either. Thelen’s advice rings true for pretty much every species of fish (which you can read about in some of our other articles, like “best senko colors for bass“!)

Matching your lure colors to whatever the fish are eating in your area is a tried and true method, but it’s certainly not the only way to go about it. Here are some basic guidelines.

  • Match The Hatch

What are the walleye eating – shad, perch, crayfish? This will provide you with an excellent clue as to what kind of lure you should toss out first. Lures which are familiar are often a good bet to make fish comfortable enough to strike.

  • Watch Your Water Quality & Weather

When choosing a color, be sure to take weather and water quality into consideration. Light penetration and visibility will be more limited in darker waters, and you may need to use a either a bright colored lure, like white, or a dark lure, like black to get bites.

PS. If you’d like to learn more about this make sure to download our free lure chart! It tells you exactly when you should use each lure color!

  • Watch Out For Your Fishing Depth

You also need to watch your depth when choosing a lure. Certain colors begin to lose visibility the deeper you get, such as orange or red. If you’ll be fishing super deep, then your best bet is likely to go for a color like black.

OKAY, now that we’ve got the basics down – it’s time to move on to our top walleye colors! This information was taken from surveyed anglers on the colors which caught them the most walleye.

The lures in this list were among the top choices, but don’t forget to take our information on water quality, weather, and depth into consideration when making your choice.

Best Crankbait Colors For Walleye


The number one walleye lure color for anglers was – the shad lure! No surprise here, but walleye often strike lures which look like what they are used to eating. There are a number of great lure choices in this category, but Strike king’s “Sexy Shad” gets top billing.

Though there are many other varieties for you to test out. If you really want to drive the Walleye wild, try a shad with a rattle! The vibrations drive them crazy.


Our second most popular lure was “Perch pattern”. This style is another natural bait which Walleye will be very familiar with. Natural lures work really well in clear water conditions where the fish can see the bait really well. So, if you want to catch more Walleye, adding a perch lure to your arsenal is a good bet. It’s also good for lots of other fish too!

Fire Tiger

Need something a little brighter? If you’re fishing waters which are stained, or you have a little bit lower visibility, then a more in your face lure like the Fire Tiger is the way to go. This one was one of the top choices from anglers who target walleye, delivering many monster fish. However, this one is also great for a variety of other big catches and it should definitely be in your tackle box!


Blue/white was also a very popular color combo used by anglers we surveyed. This color also looks like a pretty typical bait fish, but is also a color which offers really good visibility in a variety of environments. There are tons of lures of this variety out there, but a popular pick is the glass blue minnow lure if you’re looking for something specific!


Chartreuse is a Walleye fisherman’s best friend! While for a lot of other fish this color might be off putting if not used in just the right conditions, Walleye seem to be drawn to it. Even on clear days, which is typically a no-no for this lure color, anglers report reeling in big Wallies on it. Though for the best effect, this is a color which is typically used either a night or in darker waters.

Purple Tiger/Purple Ghost

There’s just something about purple that Walleyes love! While this is a bit of an unusual color when it comes to lures, the purple and yellow hues on this one are excellent for walleye fishing.

A purple lure of some kind should definitely be in your box, but this Purple Tiger rattle trap is top rated when it comes to pulling in monster walleyes. Though the Purple Ghost variant was also really popular with anglers on our survey.


If you’re in an area where there are abundant Crawdads, then red can be an excellent color to try. Walleye see the colors orange, red, and yellow the best, and mimicking a tasty crustacean is a good way to get bites. However, you should keep your depth of fishing to 15-30 feet, as this color will begin to disappear after this depth range and make it difficult for the fish to see it.

Pink Clown

Walleyes love clown colorways, and the pink clown is a great one! It utilizes bright pink and white to draw in those strikes. Similar to the purple colorway, anglers reported catching a good number of fish on this one.

Hot Tiger

Similar to the Fire Tiger, but also comes in some brighter hues. Rapala has an orange and yellow shad, which are both colors Walleye see really well, but you can also get some green variants of Hot Tiger too.

Red Clown

Similar to the Pink Clown, but, well… red! This color also preformed really well for anglers. Standard versions of this lure are red and white, or even a pearl or silver white color. However, you can also get some other great mixes which combine different clown colorways which you can experiment – like chartreuse, which we already know is great!

Okay, well, that’s our list folks! However, it’s important to realize that there is no one “magic lure”. Some lures may work better in your particular body of water, or they might not!

BUT, if you want to give yourself a good starting point, make sure to download our lure color selection chart. This handy little chart helps you to choose the right lure based on weather, water conditions, and fishing depth!