How to Catch Bass in Clear Water | Tips and Tricks

Anglers should pay attention to the clarity of the water when they arrive at the lake or river. Depending on the clarity of the water, every aspect of a fishing trip can be affected - from presentation selection to depth at which the intended species can be found.

Whenever water clarity approaches one of two extremes, either too muddy or too clear, the fishing is usually tough - something that may surprise anglers who associate clear water with healthy fisheries.

When the water is crystal clear, fish are at their most cautious. Water with clear visibility provides predators with optimal viewing conditions, which provokes caution in all fish species. It can sometimes be tough to get any bites when it's calm and sunny because clear water has such an impact on fish behavior.

However, super clear water isn't an end to the world. It shouldn't be too difficult to catch fish even in the clearest waters if you pay attention to what you're doing and follow the following tips.


Natural colors

Most freshwater fish hunt primarily by sight, despite having a whole range of senses for figuring out what's for dinner. They are much more scrutinizing of what they eat when they are in clear water as they can see better. Black and blue jigs are excellent for tracking fish in dirty water because they provide an excellent silhouette.

This same jig, however, will look unnatural in clear water and your results will suffer. Make your jig more crayfish-like by changing it to a green or brown color. In clear water, greens, browns, and translucent lures will be more effective than blacks, blues, and chartreuse lures - for all lure types.


Stay back

In clear water, game fish are even more aware of their surroundings since they are primarily visual feeders. In the clear water, boat noise, trolling motor whirrs and other disturbances are amplified. In order to minimize the chances of spooking the fish, it's best to stay as far back as possible. While pitching a row of bushes, stand back as far as you can while still being able to pitch accurately. Keep your distance when fishing deeper and launch your casts at your targets instead of getting up close to the spot.


Use lighter line

You've probably read before that it's important to downsize your line in super clear water for visibility reasons. There is less likelihood of it deterring a bite the thinner the line. In clear water, however, there's another important reason to downsize your line - to maximize the depth and action of your bait. With an 8 lb line, a crankbait will dive far deeper than the same crankbait with 14 lb line. Jigs and plastics will do the same.

If the line is thinner, the bait will move more freely, which will seem more natural to the fish and lead to more bites.


Face the sun

Anglers rarely consider their shadow in clear water, but it is vital. Fish are naturally trained to search for shadows. Birds such as eagles, ospreys, and herons hunt from the air, and nothing spooks fish more than a shadow cast over them. Focus on casting your shadow behind you while fishing into the sun. This is particularly important when fishing in shallow waters.


Look for shade

You can tilt the odds in your favor even in the clearest of waters by maximizing the element of surprise. Targeting shade is the best way to do this. A shaded area decreases visibility, increases activity, and relaxes all fish species just like a cloud cover.

By targeting shady pockets, docks, and other shady spots, you are more likely to catch fish that are less picky.



It is extremely easy for fish of all species to see in clear water. If the water is clean, your bait will be picked up much faster than it would be in dirty water.  Because of this, it is important to give them a realistic profile, which often means decreasing the size of your presentations.

In clear water, try downsizing to a 4 12 inch worm if you're catching them with a shaky head and 7-inch finesse worm - Because of the increase in visibility, smaller baits have just as much influence as bigger baits, and they maximize the number of bites.



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