An In-Depth Look at Fishing Light Colors

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Whether it’s a freshwater lake or saltwater, nothing helps you catch more fish between the hours of dusk and dawn than floating and submersible fishing lights.  Fishing lights are usually available in blue, green, and white colors depending on the type of water you want to fish in.  You’re probably wondering “why not other colors such as purple or red? Does color really matter?” With all due respect, yes it does.  In fact, it matters quite a bit.  And there is years of research to back that up.

A Bit of Fishing Light History

Ironically, green light has only become popular within the past couple of decades.  Up to that point in time, fishermen always used white light when fishing at night.  The first types of fishing lights were crude and simple.  In fact, they weren’t much more than a Coleman lantern mounted on a styrofoam ring and secured with a cord, rope or some type of weight to hold them from drifting.  Today’s night fishing lights are considerably more sophisticated and come in a variety of colors.

What Color Works best?

According to several studies, green and white light is the most attractive to plankton and they will usually migrate towards it in order to reproduce.  But it also attracts baitfish as well, which in turn draws in the larger predator fish that can’t pass up an easy meal.  As a second light choice, white has been known to be effective although not to the extent that green light is.  White light gets absorbed quickly and therefore cannot penetrate very deep.  Consequently, green light is more effective at luring in the fish.

Interestingly enough, there are some baitfish and sportfish that are attracted to the light instead of baits and plankton.  However, green is still the superior light color to use for attracting baitfish.  You might be wondering about blue fishing lights since it was initially grouped in with the effective colors to use.  Like green light, blue light can be extremely effective for night fishing.  But surprisingly, it is more effective in saltwater and usually won’t attract baitfish in freshwater.

A research study that was conducted by the marine biology department of the University of South Florida experimented with 5 different colors by putting all of them in the water at the same time.  They conducted the experiment multiple times in multiple locations and the results were always the same.  Green light worked and attracted baitfish every time.  It’s makes sense then that green would be the popular color of choice among serious nighttime anglers.  So when you decide to try night fishing and you’re shopping for the right lighting to use, green is probably going to be your best option of all colors.


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