Welcome back to our lure series anglers! Today, we’ll be talking about selecting jig colors for Walleye. If you’ve been keeping up with our other articles, like “best lure colors for clear water“, then you’ll know that water quality plays a big part in lure color selection. It will also play a part in your jig head selection to a degree, here’s why.
Walleyes have some of the largest cone cells of any predatory animal. This gives them fantastic night vision, an important adaptation for a mostly nocturnal predator. However, this comes at the cost of them having difficulty picking out details, such as specific colors or markings on those really pretty lures that you’re throwing into the water for them.https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/what-walleyes-see/369966
So, what does this mean for you, the fisherman? It means that you should focus on contrast when fishing for Walleyes. A common strategy is to choose a jig head which contrasts that of the bait you are using. This means if you’re using a natural color bait, then you will likely want to use a brightly colored jig head, like chartreuse in order to grab attention.
However, your selection of bait itself will likely depend on many factors, including the water clarity, weather, depth at which you are fishing, etc. If you’d like to know more about that, you can download our free lure color selection chart to know when to fish which colors!
Best Jig Colors For Walleye
Out of all the colors on the list, this one was tops for the anglers we surveyed. It is overwhelmingly the most popular color for walleye jigs, even beating out the ever popular chartreuse colorway, and fire tiger! Try pairing it with an Alewife minnow for a deadly combo that slays Walleyes from wherever you go.
If you read our “best walleye crankbait colors” article, then you’ll know that this color is a Walleye angler’s best friend! This bright color, which can be off putting to other fish in many situations, is a great pick for walleye. Pairing a Chartreuse jig head with a black worm or minnow is a popular choice for deep water fishing, as it adds the appropriate contrast to your bait. (Can’t decide on a color? Green/chartreuse combos did really well as well for catching Walleye!)
There’s just something that Walleye LOVE about the color purple. In our previous article, we mentioned some purple crankbaits which drive Walleye nuts, but you can also use this tactic for jigging. Many anglers claim that this color performs well for them in almost any location or conditions, so it’s one that’s definitely worth throwing out whether you’re using heads with plastics or hair jigs.
Good old black is a surprisingly good color! You might want to use this color if you’re fishing a brighter colored companion bait on your jig. While black seems like it’d be a bad color for fishing deep or in low visibility, it’s actually a great color for it. Black adds good contrast which can help fish to make out your bait in the water. Sometimes black is the way to go for your jig head.
It can also be a good color to use in special situations, like the mayfly hatch! We’ve spoke before about “matching the hatch” and taking advantage of what the fish are already eating, well this is a good time to do that. A black (or brown) jig head matches insects well, and fish are quicker to strike at what they are already used to eating.
Fire Tiger is a Walleye staple when you’re using crankbaits, but it can also be a fantastic pick for jigging. Try pairing it with a color like Arkansas Shiner to get good contrast. This color can be a good one to use in water which is a little bit stained, because the bright colors of the head will draw in the fish when they might otherwise miss a duller colored bait in dirty water.
In closing, while there are a ton of jig colors out there, you really only need a few in your arsenal to cover a variety of situations. While having the right colors is important, it’s also important that you know when to use these colors, because there is a time for all of them.
PS. If you need help learning when you should use each color, make sure to download our free lure color selection chart! This handy cheat sheet tells you when to use different colors based on weather conditions, water clarity, and fishing depth to help you catch more fish.