October 5, 2022

Does Diver Color Matter?

This is a very common question and one that I am asked to answer occasionally. At the conclusion of the article, my answer will be very clear.

Let’s start with these questions for you. Would you run any color flasher to attract and catch fish? Would you run a bright orange and yellow diver day in and day out, regardless of the results? If the answer is no, we are headed in the right direction.

Having over 30 years of trolling experience, most of which have included divers, I can say that certain colored divers consistently produce more results than others. Now, that is relatively common knowledge for some, but not every angler may know that fact. However, think about this question: Can running divers with the mindset that they are an attractor or a part of a “team” produce more fish for me? When you begin to look at divers as more than a method to get your offering down to the fish, you will begin to produce more fish day in and day out.

Let’s talk about the color black. Black may be the most popular diver color. Why? Because black is neutral and less visible than colored or metallic divers. In my opinion, black is boring or BB (boring black). However, I have plenty of black divers on my boats and most definitely deploy them when my colored diver program struggles or conditions scream black. I can summarize my thoughts on black divers by stating this: One cannot go wrong using black divers 100% of the time if you want to be conservative but also have a productive diver program.

So, why would I want to entertain buying and using any diver color other than black? Because black will probably never boost your diver presentation by producing more bites. And yes, it will never hurt you either, thus it is what I consider a conservative presentation.

Now that we moved past “black divers”, I want you to ponder why different flashers at different times work better than others. I am specifically talking about attractors that have meat or other presentations trailing behind them 6 or 7 feet. If the color of the flasher did not matter, we all would possess one color flasher and use it at all times. Attractor manufacturing companies would not be pleased if that was the case.

On the Vision Quest, I have discovered that changing our divers throughout the day will, in fact, produce more bites for us versus leaving the same diver in the water all day. This applies to walleye, salmon or trout, now, how do I know this?

  • I have changed diver colors numerous times and had instant bites when re-deploying them back in the water.
  • I routinely ask my peers how many diver fish or bites they had after a day and compare that to what we had. Then I might ask them what diver colors they were using.
  • When one of my peers is generating diver bites, I will not only ask them what’s behind it and the setting of it, I will ask them for the color of the diver. If I replace it with their hot color and start pulling diver fish right away, it tells me it was all about my diver color – and I owe my friend a big thank you.
  • When the bite is good, I will switch out a productive diver with another diver and notice what happens. When the results diminish, I will replace it with the same diver and note the results. Through this process, I have found certain diver colors are only good for one use: the trash can.

When the bite is tough, we will start swapping divers out from aggressive to neutral or vice versa. Often, those changes will generate more bites, which tell me that I made a good and timely move. An example may be to pull a black diver out and replace it with a metallic crush glow diver during a high sun period. That particular diver has now become “an attractor” and may excite a fish into biting or pull one into my spread from afar because it saw the flash of my diver.

I won’t give you all of my diver knowledge and theories in one article. However, I will tell you that we fish our divers like we fish our lures and flashers. We want a highly visible presentation in the morning, evening, overcast days and when fishing ultra deep. Why? Because fish are on the prowl and looking for something to eat, especially first thing in the morning. Then again in the evening, they will be on the feed, looking and listening for prey. Attraction divers help the predators see your offering. Another scenario may be to present a flashy diver presentation under sunny conditions combined with a shiny offering behind it. Keep in mind that every day can be different as well as the mood of the fish. Remember these tips when considering diver colors:

  • The color rule: what colors are more or less visible as colors sink?
  • What colors and tapes on your divers are more visible in dark or low light conditions VS the opposite?
  • If you are a UV believer and use UV spoons or flashers, why not use a UV taped diver?
  • If making an effort to change up your lures or flashers, then color must matter, so try altering diver colors as well.
  • Does the fish see a diver before a spoon more times than not? If so, does that excite him, cause him to be pulled in or spook him?
  • Those that think outside the box are often anglers that have more fish “inside the box.”

If you’re a “diver color doesn’t matter” naysayer, I will simply challenge you to use the weirdest looking diver or gaudiest colored diver and fish all season with them. If the answer is a “no way” to my challenge because you fear the end results, then you may have just answered the question.

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Tony Roach

Mille Lacs, MN Tony Roach is part of FishUSA's growing Pro Staff. Tony has fished professionally for over a decade and is one of the most respected fishing guides in the upper Midwest. Roach brings with him much knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for the sport of fishing.

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