Can Largemouth Bass See Color? Ambush Predators And Their Skills

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Two anglers in a boat. Fish for bass in a boat.

Largemouth bass can see color. Red and green are the primary colors bass can see. But they can identify blue, black, and white around half the time, depending on water conditions and light levels. Even if they can’t determine the exact color, the color of your lure matters and helps catch fish. 

As anglers, we can’t help but obsess over every little detail. Whatever information we can learn to give us a better chance at landing fish is worth it. For years, scientists have studied what colors bass see best and which color lures catch the most fish. 

Seeing Red

Like humans, bass have rods and cones in their eyes that allow them to identify colors and still be able to see when light is low. One of the cones within the eye of the bass can identify the color red. 

Scientists completed a study to determine juvenile largemouths’ ability to see red. They could locate the red targets over 80 percent of the time.

When bass chose red in the experiment, the scientists rewarded them with food. Red was the easiest color for them to identify correctly. While the experiment occurred in clear water, their ability to see red doesn’t change.

While there aren’t many natural food options that are red, worms, certain fish bellies, and insects have red on their bodies, so bass know they are safe. Go red if you’re looking for an easy color option for lures that catch fish.

Seeing Green

The cones in largemouth bass eyes also allow them to see green. In the same study, where bass could identify red targets nearly 80 percent of the time, bass could identify green targets with almost 75 percent accuracy. 

There are far more green-colored foods bass eat daily. Insects, sunfish, other bass, perch, and plants all have green on their bodies, so largemouths know what they’re looking at. 

Bright green and dark green were easy for largemouths to find and identify. If you’re fishing a new lake, try green lures. I always start with green and work my way out from there if it isn’t catching any fish. Red is the next color I switch to when the green lures aren’t working.

A fisherman gently holds a big bass hooked with a crankbait lure.

Dark Colors

While largemouths can identify other colors, their senses aren’t as reliable with any colors besides green and red. They struggle to distinguish between blacks, blues, and other dark colors, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eat dark-colored foods.

If the food looks natural, bass eat it. In muddy water or dark conditions, bass often feed on darker foods, so make sure you match your bait color to the conditions of the water. Presentation is important, but natural appearance is vital as well. 

Don’t worry as much about the exact blue, grey, or black color you use for your lures. Just understand when it’s time to use specific colors. Match the lure with the color of the water when possible. 

Bright Colors

It’s no secret that bass love attacking bright-colored lures. Whites, pinks, and chartreuse lures are effective if the conditions line up to use them. Bright colors work well in dark water. If you’re fishing brown water, a bright lure can stand out amongst the dark colors and help you land a bass. 

Light-colored lures work well in clear water or on sunny days. Be careful with how obnoxious of a lure you choose for those bluebird days in clear water. You want to stay natural because bass can identify whether your bait is natural. 

Bass can be pickier on brighter days, so ensure you have the most natural presentation possible.

A guy snagged largemouth bass with a spoon lure.

What Colors are Best for Bass Fishing? 

Chartreuse, white, black, red, and green are the most effective colors for bass fishing. They’re all natural colors that still stand out to largemouth bass. Whether you’re fishing in dark or clear water, they will work. 

Some other colors, like orange, pink, and brown, work well, but they need more specific conditions to thrive. 

I fill my tackle boxes with as many colors as possible. I have several lures in four or five different colors. I know the lures work, but I don’t always know what the bass want at that specific time. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do Colors Matter for Fishing?

Yes, colors matter for fishing. You want your lures and baits to look natural and stand out. A delicate balance goes into figuring out what is natural and stands out. That’s why colors like chartreuse, white, black, red, and green work so well. 

What Colors Can Largemouth Bass Not See? 

Bass can’t see colors like orange, brown, and blue. Orange looks like a bright color. Brown and blue are dark colors. They are all effective in landing largemouth, but bass struggle to identify them.

What Color Lure for Largemouth Bass? 

Stick with red, green, and chartreuse when you’re bass fishing. These three colors will help you land many fish. 

Do Largemouth Bass Have Good Eyesight?

Yes, largemouth bass do have excellent eyesight. They can see through muddy and dark waters as well in brighter areas. Be careful when fishing for largemouth on clear days because they rely on their eyes to help them pick out potential dangers. 

Plus, they use their eyesight to maximize their hunting potential


One of the most miraculous things about largemouth bass are their eyes. They can see colors like red and green. Other than red and green, they identify whether colors are dark or light. 

Color shouldn’t affect success as long as your lures look natural and you present them properly. Stick with shades of red and green to start your excursions. Then, branch out to other colors if you don’t get any hits.

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