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Pike Fishing in Clear Water (Best Lures and Colors)

Pike Fishing in Clear Water (Best Lures and Colors)

Fishing for pike in clear water with high visibility can be quite challenging. But with the right types of lures, and, even more importantly, with the right lure colors, it can actually be fairly easy to catch a lot of pike in such conditions!

The very best lures to use for pike in clear water are swimbaits, softbaits, and crankbaits with an authentic pattern and swimming action. Natural lure colors that resemble the pike’s prey, such as white, silver, green, or black, have proven most effective.

Uncover all the secrets and hacks of pike fishing in clear water conditions by continuing to read this article.

PRO TIP: Need to gear up for your next pike adventure? Then check out this quality equipment on Amazon.

It’s very cost-effective, durable, and will land you plenty of trophy pike!

What Are the Best Lure Colors for Pike in Clear Water?

Northern pike are visual predators with a highly developed sense of sight and nowhere do they hunt more efficiently than in clear water conditions.

But they can also be very suspicious towards your lures, which is why you should always choose lure colors that match the hatch of the water you’re targeting.

That means you should adapt your lures to the pike’s available food sources so that they can blend in nicely and will be taken by the pike without hesitation. Because trust me, clear water pike can be extremely hesitant creatures!

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen huge pike follow my lure in clear water lakes or rivers, only to turn away after several seconds of observing the bait and never be seen again. Those close encounters that result in nothing at all sting the most, don’t they!

The best way to ensure that the pike will hit your lure is to use natural colors that closely resemble the pike’s prey.

This was also confirmed by the survey I ran in a huge North American pike fishing Facebook group. I asked 100 pike anglers for their preferred lure color for pike in clear water conditions. This is how they voted:

Lure ColorVotes
White or silver50%

The baitfish that most often match those colors, and that can be found in a majority of lakes and rivers, include the following:

Golden shinersBream
Yellow perchBleak

Find out what kind of baitfish the water you want to target holds, match the hatch with the respective lure colors, and start catching those clear water pike!

Most ideally, the lures that you will be using are not only visually matching the pike’s prey, but they also closely mimic the baits’ movements underwater. Remember, try to keep it as natural and realistic as possible!

Let’s move on to the next section of this article and go through some of the very best lures that you can use to catch those clear water northern pike!

RELATED ARTICLE: What even more helpful pike fishing tips and tricks? Then make sure to check out this article as well!

Best Lures for Pike Fishing in Clear Water


Big, slow-sinking swimbaits, such as the BassDash SwimShad, are probably the number one pick for northern pike in clear water conditions.

This lure has an amazingly natural and balanced swimming motion with a unique S-wave action that makes it move irresistibly through the water.

Thanks to its slow sinking ability, you can retrieve it extremely slowly and even fish it in a stop-and-go style without it sinking to the bottom.

This has proven deadly for coldwater pike that aren’t hunting very actively. They’ll hit the swimbait on the stop every time, which will give you an awesome experience and, at times, really powerful bites!

The realistic 3D design on this lure is another great feature that I appreciate a lot because it just looks so much like a live baitfish! The pike won’t be able to tell the difference and hence, your catch rate will go way up!

Take a closer look at this awesome jointed swimbait that’s perfect for pike on Amazon here


The Truscend Shad Soft Swimbait is another really catchy clear water lure for pike. It’s got an amazing swimming action, a super-sensitive tail, which moves enticingly at any retrieve speed, and an awesome-looking two-tone lure coloration.

This top-quality Japanese softbait combines perfect balance and jigging action underwater, making it appear very life-like! I use it myself on a regular basis during the fall and early winter when my waters clear up and I fish a lot for pike and perch.

When jigging or drop-shotting this lure over the bottom, it honestly couldn’t look more like the real thing! And based on all the fish I’ve caught on this shad, I guess the pike think likewise!

Thanks to its precisely engineered shape and the three-dimensional paddle tail, it’s got an excellent performance.

If you ask me, it’s hard to find a better softbait for clear water pike!

Check out the ultrarealistic Truescend soft swimbaits on Amazon here


With its 5.5 inches and 1.5 ounces, the Rapala Super Shad Rap is a big and heavy crankbait that’s perfectly sized for northern pike. The life-like pattern and super-realistic swimming action perfectly mimic the pike’s prey, making it a very effective clear water lure.

The super tough African Abachi wood that this crankbait is made of can withstand the pike’s teeth and gives the lure a perfectly balanced swimming action at any speed.

What I especially like about the Rapala Super Shad Rap is that you can both cast and troll it. The lure movement you’ll get is virtually the same and having this flexibility means that you’ll get the perfect crankbait for any situation!

It’s a truly versatile lure that has caught me plenty of big pike over the years.

As always, Rapala has managed to create an awesomely realistic fishing lure that unfolds all of its potentials in clear water conditions especially. I mean, what’s stealthier than a perfectly natural lure, right?

You can buy the super-effective Rapala Super Shad Rap on Amazon here

Where to Find Pike in Clear Water?

a giant northern pike being released from a boat
Courtesy of Ian Futcher

In clear water conditions, pike can often be found in or near heavy cover or close to features they can hide behind. It is those spots and areas of a lake or river that you should focus on when targeting clear water pike.

Unlike in murky water, in which the pike can practically roam and hunt invisibly, they can be easily detected, and hence avoided by their prey.

That’s why pike often have a sit-and-wait behavior in such conditions, hiding behind a larger structure or in thick vegetation and remaining stationary for a very long time until its prey gets close enough for it to dart out and strike.

This kind of hunting behavior leads, more often than not, to powerful and surprising pike bites that can come out of nowhere, at any given time!

Typical structures and features that northern pike like to hide behind, under, near, or in can include:

  • overhanging trees and bushes
  • sunken tree trunks
  • weeds
  • reeds
  • lily pads
  • docks and boats
  • bridges
  • stones
  • drop-offs

Of course, it’s not impossible to catch clear water pike in open water as well, but I would always try to hit the features and covers first, as the chance of catching a pike close to them always seem to be much higher!

RELATED ARTICLE: What Is the Best Time of Day to Target Pike?

What Leader Should You Use for Clear Water Pike Fishing?

Both titanium and fluorocarbon leaders will do an excellent job in clear water conditions, as these materials are fairly invisible underwater. Of course, fluorocarbon will win this competition and will undoubtedly be your best leader pick!

There is simply no other leader material that is as invisible as fluorocarbon. It’s a truly awesome and stealthy leader that’s just perfect for water that has very high visibility.

And if you’re going for a fluorocarbon material that is fairly soft and flexible, you’ll also get the perfect lure presentation!

Just make sure to use an appropriate pound test when fishing for pike. I recommend a fluorocarbon leader strength of at least 50-60lb in open water and 80lb in snaggy waters. And don’t worry about the line thickness, good fluorocarbon leaders are practically invisible, no matter how thick they are!

RELATED ARTICLE: Make sure to also check out this helpful article on the best fluorocarbon leaders for pike!

Essential Gear Tips

If you’re looking for solid and reliable pike fishing equipment, these tips might be useful for you.

The following tackle is of top quality and sells at a very reasonable price on Amazon:

Rod: 7′ MH St. Croix Premier Casting Rod

A versatile and beautifully made medium-heavy 7′ baitcasting rod that’s perfect for bigger predators. Casts anything up to 2.5 ounces extremely well. Has an awesome balance, action, and sensitivity.

Reel: Abu Garcia Revo Beast 41 Baitcasting Reel

An affordable, high-performance baitcasting reel with amazing strength. Casts super smoothly and will last you forever! Makes for a great pike combo together with the Ugly Stick!

Mainline: Power Pro Spectra

One of the best braids available today. Zero stretch, great feel, and immense strength make this line the perfect pick for pike in both open and snaggy waters. Put on a 30lb test and you’re good to go.

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Featured image courtesy of Catalin Rusu