BWCA Color patterns on Crooked Boundary Waters Fishing Forum
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member (6)member
12/20/2023 10:22AM  
What are the best color patterns for Crooked (all three species)? Trying to sharpen and lighten my arsenal.
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12/21/2023 12:41PM  
Smallies - I've always liked earth tones. Crooked was no different.
Walleye - I typically use bait, but combined with chartruese (sp?) or white, maybe gold
Pike - Pike seem to bite on earth tones or bait with chartruese or white, maybe gold.

Ya - I haven't specifically ever targeted pike, at least not that I can remember
12/21/2023 01:07PM  
You are way overthinking BWCA fishing, IMO. Besides, color patterns on a specific lake really depends on wind direction and phase of the moon.
distinguished member(1210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/29/2023 07:37AM  
Our trips to Crooked seem to focus more on location than they do on color. I'm sure there's more to know than I am aware of but I don't give color a whole lot of thought. I will say though that once we get there if my partner is doing well with a color I will gladly switch over! Good luck.
01/03/2024 10:26AM  
The only time I give color a thought (rarely) is when the water is very clear or very dirty.
01/03/2024 08:22PM  
black/gold is always in my tackle box
01/04/2024 08:45AM  
All great answers. I think in general any color can work on a lake like that when the bite is on. Crooked get's a lot less pressure than entry lakes and so the fish are much more willing to bite. That being said if the bite is tough sometimes the little things can mean the difference between a slow day and a good day. I tend to follow a few general guidelines when fishing up there so for Crooked here are usually my color choices:

1st: Gold colors - I try to match the water color/clarity so gold usually matches that tannin colored water a lot of the lakes have and gold is a good natural occurring bright color.

2nd: Burnt Orange - Another good natural occurring color that stands out well in clear water and mimics the colors of many of the wildlife in the water.

3rd: Black - Great color that contrasts well in clear water and also naturally occurring.

Bonus: PURPLE! I don't know why but purple works great if it's paired well with any of the above three.

Tight Lines!
01/04/2024 10:45PM  
No one mentioned it besides lyontyl, but the water on Crooked is tannin-stained. It's not super dark but it's definitely a moderately steeped tea color. It is not crystal clear like some of the shield lakes further east. There's not tons of sediment though; clarity is still pretty good, maybe 8-10ft, maybe a little more in some spots? A lot of lakes drain into Crooked, so there is always water being churned up, but it also spreads out a lot. Lac La Croix is very similar.

Given stained water, I'd focus on white/black/gold/chartreuse for hard baits. I caught my PB walleye on Crooked while trolling a white/silver/black Shad Rap with a red front treble. I think Crooked has rusty crayfish, so a reddish-brown crayfish imitation (shallow crankbait and plastics/jigs) is probably a good idea. Green pumpkin and similar natural brown colors should look natural and are generally always a good idea for finesse plastics.

In the end you're just creating visual contrast with most baits, and getting the fish angry/curious enough to kill it or eat it. I do like fooling fish into eating realistic looking baits, but reaction strikes are a huge part of fishing as well and realistic presentations are much less important in that case. You don't want to use super bright loud stuff in ultra clear water (that's more for murky water) but thankfully a little tannin stain makes fish less able to see your bait clearly and it will help your bait look slightly more realistic as well especially if you go for more natural colors.
senior member (66)senior membersenior member
02/28/2024 11:15AM  
I killed it with a white hula popper with a red belly and a red and white daredevil spoon for bass and northern. Didn't get into walleye fishing until recently.

member (7)member
02/29/2024 12:30PM  
Everyone has given great responses. I'll only add that throughout much of the actually boundary lakes; Cisco, golden shiner, yellow perch and white suckers are the most prevalent baitfish. Add to that crayfish and stickle back minnows and you've got most of the baitfish covered. All BWCA species are also cannibals so, anything looking like a baby small bass (rust/orange) or baby walleye black/white will work.

I tend to bring a lot of black/white, red/white, blue/silver, and Chartreuse/white. But as another guy mentioned, bring a couple purple and even pink lures/jigs. Pink jig heads and purple crank baits have been killers on Lac La Croix for years. We started using pink and white jigs back in the 70s and they never leave by tackle box for BWCA trips.

member (17)member
03/28/2024 01:53AM  
Crooked lake is a gem! I fish it hook, line and spilt shot.
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