What Color Fishing Line Should I Use? [The BEST for ...]

What Color Fishing Line Should I Use

If you are a beginner, and you just recently discovered a world of fishing, you have probably noticed that fishing lines are available in different types, sizes, and more importantly, colors.

While type and strength of a fishing line are logical, color can be a bit confusing. You have probably been wondering what color fishing line should I use?

Color of a line should be chosen according to a water color and clarity. Some colors, like green, are usable in many situations, while other colors suit some specific situations.

I will explain more about what color fishing line is best, and answer a few common questions, in the following chapters:



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Firstly: Can Fish See Fishing Line?

When thinking about the color of fishing line, many anglers ask can fish actually see it?

Logically, the answer is YES, fish can see the line. If that wasn’t the case, you would only have one color choice.

First of all, there are three main types of fishing line, and those are monofilament, braided and fluorocarbon.

Copolymer fishing lines has also become very popular in recent years ...

They all have certain advantages and disadvantages and a different purpose.

When it comes to visibility, fluorocarbon, mostly used as a leader line, is less visible. Braided lines, despite the fact they are thin, are more visible to fish. Monofilament ones are a bit less visible than braided ones.

Secondly, if the color is wrong, fish will see the line even better. Many fish species are very cautious and a simple thing like a visible line will easily turn them away.

Keep in mind that fish do not perceive shapes and colors in the same way as humans do, and that different fish species have different vision.

Does Fishing Line Color Matter?

As already mentioned, fish can see the fishing line. So YES, the color really matters.

You also have to consider how a certain color looks under water column, not on the ground. So, let’s start with almost invisible line type, the fluorocarbon.

Fluorocarbon, especially in clear water, is almost invisible. It has light reflection properties very similar to water light reflection properties. This type is excellent for fish that are easily scared and suspicious.

You can find red/pink fluorocarbon on the market and it can seem crazy, but with water depth, as certain wavelengths of the sunlight can’t reach very deep, these colors are the first one to disappear. For fishing in deep waters, this is a good option.

For the same reason underwater filming is usually done with special camera lenses and although it may seem that red will be highly visible in the blue ocean, that is not the case. Besides fluorocarbon, you can frequently find red monofilament.

Monofilament lines are a bit more visible than fluorocarbon, and available in different color options.

You will usually see them in yellow, red, blue or green color, or even a transparent option. All these colors appear differently at various depths and colors of the water. And how to choose a perfect color for a certain situation is going to be explained in the next chapter.

Braided lines have some excellent properties, but being invisible is not one of them. If fishing with braided lines, you will have to pay attention to the color and choose a suitable one for a given situation.

If you asked yourself does fishing line color matter, now you got the answer.

What Color Fishing Line Should I Use - Does Matter

What Color Fishing Line Should I Use? [Which One is BEST?]

So, what is the best fishing line color? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, and every serious angler will have multiple fishing lines to choose from.

So, let’s start with the common colors and their uses:

Yellow/Murky water [BEST for Darker Conditions]

Water clarity dictates the line color. Bright colored lines like yellow have a few applications.

Anglers can see it well and observe it in darker conditions. This could be beneficial for inexperienced anglers who rely more on their sight, instead of how the line feels.

In murky / dirty water, yellow won’t be that visible to fish. Unfortunately, this color is not the best one for clear water and even in murky waters, suspicious fish may avoid it. Luckily, hungry predators will focus on the lure and ignore your line.

Green/Various conditions [BEST for Freshwater]

If you are looking for a color that can be used in numerous situations, green is the way to go. Among all fishing line color choices this can be described as all-around.

This color will blend in many surroundings, even outside of the water, for extra suspicious fish like carp, which can see you on the riverbank.

Green is best color fishing line for freshwater. Freshwater usually has some green tint, as well as the surroundings. In extremely clear water, and clear saltwater, green will be visible and, in those conditions, think about other options.

Transparent/Clear conditions [BEST for Clear water]

Transparent is very good color for saltwater fishing, or extremely clear freshwater.

These work well in many conditions, but they are the best when the water is transparent too. They reflect light in almost the same way as water does and they will blend in perfectly. This option works great for careful and suspicious fish in ultra-clear water.

Blue/Saltwater [BEST for Saltwater]

Light blue is the best color fishing line for saltwater because the color is similar to saltwater color. When the water is not completely transparent, blue line is the best choice. Of course, you can always play with different colors and see what works the best.

Many anglers ask what color of fishing line should I use for certain fish species? Here is the answer but keep in mind that you should consider other factors too.

What Color Fishing Line Should I Use - Yellow or Green

For Bass

As already mentioned, fish see differently than land animals. Also, not every fish can see the same.

Bass, for example, can see red-orange well, but not blue. When fishing for bass adjust to the light conditions. When there is more light, use pale colors but in bright light you can use more visible ones. If you want to use just one color for bass, use green colored fishing line, or if you have a chance, a camo. It will break down the light and appear as a shade, not a foreign object.

For Carp

Carp is aware of the surroundings and you should choose colors of everything, not just the line, that blend into the environment. Many anglers use dark green and brown shades of fishing line.

For Catfish

For catfish, you can use whatever you want!

Catfish are not picky eaters and they are not easily scared. Many catfish anglers use multiple rods, reels and lines and often use bright colors like yellow to be able to see what is happening. These high-visibility line options enable precise line watching. Catfish often live in muddy waters and do not rely on their eyesight a lot. You can use your favorite color whatever that is!

For Trout

If you are fishing for trout, go with the transparent fishing line. It will perfectly blend into the surrounding environment and the trout will ignore it completely.

What Color Fishing Line Should Use - Best for Trout

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing Fishing Line

Does fishing line color matters? The answer is YES. But it is not the only factor that determines which line to choose. Here are a few tips on how to choose a line:


First of all, decide between mono, braided and fluorocarbon.

Mono is stretchy but has a greater diameter than braided line of the same strength. Braided are stronger but not flexible. Fluorocarbon is excellent to be used as a leader line because it is resilient. All of these have a lot more differences, and you should learn about them before choosing. Popular line choice for complete beginners is mono due to price and ease of use.

Existing gear

Reels can accommodate certain lengths of fishing lines. Never overfill them because it will cause knots and tangling. Also, there is no point to put thick and strong line onto the small fishing reel because it will not withstand the force of a large fish. Everything has to match.

Line features

When choosing a line, you must consider diameter, breaking strength, flexibility, stretch, durability, buoyancy and abrasion resistance.

It depends on a location, fish species you are trying to catch, and even time of the year. Did you know that some lines are made especially for ice fishing?

When comparing ice fishing line vs regular line, you will see that the ice one is less visible, has a special coating to prevent freezing, and performs better in cold conditions.

Make an informed decision instead of just filling the spool with a first line you see.


Abrasion resistance is frequently overlooked by some anglers; however, it is not the same to fish on rocky shores and weedy riverbank.

Also, sun will damage the line after some time and UV resistance is another important feature. It is not the same to fish on the lake in the forest where the shade always accessible and to fish from a small boat on the sea.

FAQs about Fishing Line Color:

In case you still have some questions or doubts, I will answer some of the important questions regarding fishing line color.

How Does Fishing Line Color Impact Fishing Success in Different Water Clarity Conditions?

As already mentioned, fish can see under water. Every living creature, including fish, has an instinct not to go towards danger or suspicious things. If the line is highly visible, no matter how tasty the bait or hungry the fish, that fish will avoid it.

If you are using highly visible colors in crystal clear waters for example, the fish will see it from a great distance and will feel threatened.

In murky waters, line is naturally less visible, so bright colors here can actually benefit the angler who is observing them. Seeing your line can increase your fishing success.

But not all fish react the same. Some see better and are more cautious by nature, while other fish, like catfish, rely on smell more than sight. So, wrongly, or even correctly chosen line in regard to fishing conditions does not impact all fish equally.

What Color Fishing Line Should I Use - Clear Water

Does the Color of the Fishing Line Matter When Fishing During Different Times of the Day?

Time of day is related to light conditions. If there is bright sun at noon, visibility under water will be highest. Around dusk, dawn, or even night, there will be much less natural light, so everything, including lines, will be less visible.

This greatly affects how the line is visible at greater depths. When the sun is shining and it is positioned high on the sky, it will illuminate deeper parts of the water column and make your line visible at greater depths. As the sun is going down, this visibility at depths will drop and only the parts near surface will be more visible.

As already mentioned, with depth some colors fade and disappear, and during day those depths are higher than during dusk or dawn.

The same goes for cloudy days. So, when choosing line color in accordance with time of day, pay special attention to midday on sunny days and choose less visible options. At night, you can get away with more visible lines.

What Color Fishing Line is Best for Fishing Over Rocky or Gravel Bottom Structures?

Rock and gravel can be a great place to position your bait for numerous species. Rocky structures are excellent hiding places and hunting grounds for various species (like for bottom feeders).

Most often, rocky structures are grey or brown in color. You want your line to create as low contrast as possible. If the water is clear and the bottom has grey rocks, you most definitely won`t lay a fluorescent orange line over it.

What you want to accomplish here is to create natural shades. That is done by using the line that resembles rock or watercolor, or even the completely transparent one.

In blue waters and light-colored rocks go for blue, grey, or white. In green waters and brownish rocks, go for green, brown, or even shades of yellow.

Should I Use a Specific Fishing Line Color for Fishing around Docks, Fallen Trees, or Other Cover Types?

When it comes to fishing around obstacles, go for colors that blend in the habitat, as already described in the previous chapters.

As docks, trees, and other structures vary in color, if you want a “one color for all” my advice would be to go for green lines in freshwater as they go well in numerous conditions, water clarities, and daytimes.

However, there is one other thing to consider here. Obstacles can cause line snagging and even breaking. Here you will need lines with high abrasion resistance and a bit stronger one.

Don't worry about visibility a lot as the structures will hide it. Use leaders for lower visibility but go for stronger main line.

What Color Fishing Line Should I Use - Fish


If you have been wondering what color fishing line should I use, now you got the answer. Keep in mind that the water color and light are the most important factors when choosing colors of fishing lines.

Except for color, consider the line features as well, because not every fishing line is suitable for a given situation.

And remember, fishing lines have an “expiration date”. Depending on how often you use them or how long they have been sitting in a storage, their properties will change and the line won’t be good for fishing.

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