7 Ways On How To Fish Murky Water More Effectively

  • Author: Craig "Howie"
  • Date: April 26, 2023

How To Fish Murky Water. Image Redfin Perch caught in dirty water.

Fishing in murky water can have its challenges. As it makes the lure or fly harder to see for the fish.

When the water is dirty, the fish depend less on their eyesight to locate food and rely more on their other senses, like smell, hearing and feeling vibrations. So in this article we are going to discover seven ways on how to fish murky water more effectively to improve your catch rate.

How To Fish Dirty Water

Here are some ways to improve your hook up rate.

    1. Bigger Lure or Fly
    2. More Vibration or Action
    3. Use a Scent or Fish Attractant
    4. Change Location
    5. Use Bait
    6. Change Lure Color
    7. Fish Slower

Lure color in murky water.

We will then look at these tactics, ideas and fishing tips in more detail below. 

  1. Bigger Lure or Fly

A bigger fly or lure will displace more water and also be easier to see then a small lure or fly in turbid water.

The larger lure / fly pattern will have a bigger silhouette helping it be seen in low light. As an example if you normally use a 3 inch length lure, you might use a 4 inch size lure, or a thicker profile.

For fly fishing, try a bigger streamer pattern or a larger search patter like a black Wooly Bugger or Muddler Minnow. If you normally fish a certain size nymph pattern bigger in size and use a bulkier body pattern depending on how bad the water visibility is.


  1. More Vibration or Action

spinnerbait or jig spinner

As the water gets dirtier, try a lure with more noise, action and vibration, such as a rattling crank bait.

Try a spinner bait or double blades for more action and noise.

If you use soft plastics for fishing, switch to something with more vibration. Or you could put the soft plastic as a trailer on a chatter bait or put a spin jig on it.

For the fly fisherman / lady, a team of flies can also increase your chances of the flies being seen and felt by the fish.


  1. Use a Scent or Fish Attractant

Pro-Cure fish bait scent
As we know, fish also use their keen sense of smell to find food, so we can add some fish attractant or scent to the lure.

You can use the scent on hard body lures, soft plastics and even fly patterns. (Be careful as some commercial scents are not suitable for putting on soft plastics.)

There are plenty of options and brands like:

  • Berkley Gulp Alive
  • Dr Juice Fish Scent
  • Spike-It Dip-N-Glo Soft Bait
  • Shimano Squidgies “S” Factor Fishing Scent
  • Trigger X Fish Scent Spray
  • BANG Fish Attractant
  • Megastrike Fish Attractant
  • Pro-Cure Bait Scents
  • BAITFUEL X55 Formula Gel
  • Baitmate Classic Scent Fish Attractant

These come in a wide range of applications like gels, sprays, liquids and powder form.

Also you could make your own, DIY fish attractant like a garlic fish scent dip.


  1. Change Location

Another option is to move and try a spot where the water clarity might be better.

If you are fishing a lake, the wind might be blowing silt and debris, stirring up the water in a bay and make it muddy. (Although food can also be stirred up and could be a good place to fish.) On the other side of the lake, it might be calmer and as a result the water clearer.

A river might also be pushing dirty water from recent rain into the lake. A simple move a few hundred yards away from the mouth might be worth it.

If you are fishing streams or rivers, a move up or down stream might put you on clearer water.

Some water just might have a dirty layer of water or algae on top and clear underneath, so double check before moving.

Overall though, be prepared to move to a new location to try and find a clearer patch of water to fish.


  1. Use Bait

Fishing for carp using corn as bait.

If you are predominately a lure or fly fisherman, maybe it is time for a break and switch to bait for something different. As bait can have a scent and also movement. Like a bunch of worms / night crawlers wriggling or baitfish.

Grab a camping chair, throw out a bait rod and sit back relax and wait for a bite.

For ways to set up a fishing float rig, click on – Set Up A Fishing Float

Another idea is to use two hooks or even three on the one line.  As this can help increase your odds of the fish finding the bait, as you have more baits, instead of one on the fishing rod. The down side is you can get more tangles though.

If you still want to flick lures, have one bait rod set up and use a spinning rod as well.

(Double check you’re fishing regulations and rules as to how many rods or hooks you are allowed.)


  1. Change Lure Color

Fishing dirty water
Most colors will appear to change when in murky water, deep down or low light. The available sunlight penetrating the water and also the waters turbidity will effect what colors can easily be seen.

So you don’t want to use a natural color lure that will be washed out and hard to see.

A dark color like black or purple will have a silhouette that will stand out more in dirty water.

Other options a chartreuse and bright fluorescent colors. I suggest to put them in the water a foot or so down and see what colors stand out the best in the type of water you are fishing.

Snaps and clips like the Mustad Fastach Clip make it easy to change lures quickly to test.

Surprisingly, white can work well in dirty water, but only very close to the surface with available light penetrating the water.

A reflective metal surface that can reflect light might also be a good idea. A gold color or copper can also reflect the limited light in murky water. (Some anglers like using a silver color in clear water on sunny days.)

A large black fly pattern with some wide bright gold or copper ribbing can also help reflect some available light in dirty water as well.


  1. Fish Slower

Try moving the lure slower in the water. As long as it doesn’t affect the lures action, meaning it still has a lot of vibration or noise.

By moving the lure slower in dirtier water, you give the fish more time and a chance to find the bait.


Check out the quick fishing tips video below for how to fish dirty water.



How to fish murky water.
While there is no guarantee that if a fish does sense or see your lure it is going to eat it. But, if the fish doesn’t know your lure is there, there is a hundred percent chance you won’t catch fish.

So increase your odds when fishing in murky water by using one or more tactics and tips as above, like bigger lures, more action, different color and scent, etc.

Thank you for reading “how to fish in murky water” and happy fishing.