October 5, 2022

Does Kayak Color Matter?

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from anglers who are considering kayak fishing is, “What color should I get?” The answer to this question is not as simple as one might think as there are several factors that need to be considered beyond what looks the most stylish on the water.

In the past decade, I have been kayak fishing in many sorts and colors of kayaks and have found success in them all. However, the two colors that have stood out among the rest are solid yellow and camo. While some might argue that fish seeing the yellow kayak is a negative, I would argue quite the contrary. In fact, I would advise kayak anglers to purchase a solid yellow kayak over any other. At least 4 or 5 times per year I will look down while fishing and there will be a big bass, northern pike, or muskie staring up at me from only a few feet away. Last year alone I had two muskies, one estimated at 45” and the other at 50-52” come up to my yellow kayak without hesitation and follow me a short distance as I floated downstream. It is even more commonplace to have schools of bluegills on my tail when I look back while paddling. Based on what I have seen during my time kayak fishing, I would not only say that the yellow color does not deter them, but I would go as far as to say that the color actually attracts fish.

Another advantage of a yellow kayak is that it can be seen from a long distance by fellow anglers and boaters. This is important on cloudy days, especially so that motor boats can steer clear of your position as they approach. There have been numerous occasions when I have had an encounter at the landing and was thanked by fellow boaters for having a yellow kayak because of how easy it was to see me.

The other color that I would recommend for kayak fishing is camo. Camo with hues of gray, black, white, and green are all good options. While this color has not been nearly as productive as solid yellow for me, there have been times on clear lakes with visibility of greater than 10 feet where it seemed that color mattered, as I caught fish and my companions who were in bright-colored vessels did not. Another advantage of the camo kayak is that in addition to fishing, they can be used for bird hunting. If you hunt ducks or geese, the camo kayak is a perfect fit for your arsenal. They allow you to effectively hunt as you do not have to alter them in any way because of perfectly blending with cattails and bulrushes. The only negative that I have found with camo kayaks is that they are very difficult to see when there is a chop on the water or on cloudy days. In these conditions, which are sometimes the best time to be out fishing, it can get dangerous if other boats have difficulty seeing you.

So, based on my experiences with kayak fishing and literally thousands of trips completed, I would first recommend a solid yellow kayak for its fish attractant qualities and safety. If you also hunt waterfowl, I would then suggest a camo kayak because of the versatility of using it for fishing or hunting.

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Mark Maule

Blackduck, MN Mark is an avid multi-species kayak angler from northern Minnesota. He spends around 120 days per year pursuing northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappies, blugills, walleyes, and muskies in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015304038694

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