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Lures of Varying Shapes and Colors Attract Fish Species

Many species of freshwater fish are attracted to colored lures or baits, and will often mistake them for food. This results in the concept of fishing.

The fish that was caught is known as a black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus). The crappie was caught on a Berkley Flicker Shad with Firetiger coloring. The color pattern known as “Firetiger,” is a popular color for fishing lures and tends to be effective on this particular watershed. The reason for its effectiveness has to do with the concepts of visible light spectrums and filters. We all know what it’s like to wear sunglasses that change the colors of objects and phenomena that we see, and it’s essentially the same with lake water. In green water, like the water in the Okoboji Lake system, the colors that the “Firetiger” lure uses are more vibrant. Think about what it would be like to have green-tinted sunglasses! Another consideration when picking this lure, is that the black crappie has a tendency to attack and feed off of small fish, such as minnows. One final consideration is the time of year. Late spring into early summer is the fish spawn for almost every species in the Okoboji watershed. When you add in the vibrancy of colors and the visible light spectrum, the shape of the lure and its resemblance to live bait, and the protective tendencies of fish during the spawning period, you get an almost perfect lure to cast and reel in fish such as the black crappie, as well as others!

June 22, 2023/8:50 pm/ West Lake Okoboji, Iowa

Driving Question

How do lures and baits help fishermen catch fish?

Probing Questions

  1. Review the video Fishing with Lures for Beginners - When to Use (Underwater Fishing Lures). As you watch the video of fish biting on different baits or lures, think about why the fish would attack each example. What context would encourage a fish to follow or attack a lure?
  2. Does the color of the bait or lure matter to fish?
  3. Why would the shape of a lure or bait matter to a fish species?

Classroom Suggestions

Students could:

  1. Go on a field trip to visit the local DNR center and have a fishing day, where they would try out different lures that they think would attract a fish. Springtime would be best.
  2. After instruction, and with the help of an expert, students can create homemade fly fishing lures to use in trout streams (if location permits).
  3. Students can also learn about what foods a specific species would enjoy based on the kind of lures and baits they are attracted to.


Iowa Core Alignment


Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs

Credit Info

Submitted by Max Miller.

REAPCorporation for Public BroadcastingAlliant EnergyMusco Lighting Pella