Water Clarity - Values and Definitions

Water Clarity norms vary across lakes, geographical regions, and lake types. The debate regarding what values are best, and what they mean exactly, is ongoing in fishing forums and websites.

LakeWire offers a generic set of predefined water clarity values that we believe accommodate the majority of conditions. For your reference, we have provided these definitions below in hopes of enabling consistent usage by the community.

User Tip:

In the event that none of the Predefined Water Clarity Values suit the lake condition, choose the best value and provide clarifying details in the message text itself.

Predefined Water Clarity Values

  • Clear as it gets for specific lake
  • Green or Orange with algae and matter floating
  • Cloudy and grey, brown, or green
  • Think dingy dishwater with small debris
  • Brown and muddy

Water Clarity Definitions

Clear as it gets for specific lake

A lake's Water Clarity is deemed to be Clear when an anger has maximium visibility into the water. In some lakes, visibility can exceed 60 feet. In others, visibility may never exceed 2 feet or less. Most lakes turn Clear after several days of light wind and low currents.

Green or Orange with algae and matter floating

Water is consider Stained when matter such as algae is stirred up by water current and floating. For many lakes, stained water is typically green in color (first image below). For other lakes, stained water is orange (second image below). Visibility into Stained water is much lower than a Clear water situation.

Cloudy and grey, brown, or green

Many anglers use the term Murky to describe situations where the water is dim, grey, cloudy, and even metallic looking. When peering down into a Murky lake, you can see your image but it will look distorted. Murky is typically a step down in visibility from Stained.

Think dingy dishwater with small debris

The picture below does a good job of illustrating a Dingy water situation. The water is light brown in color, much like Dingy dishwater. Floating and suspended debris are quite common.

Brown and muddy

The term Muddy requires little explanation. Its usually thick and brown or orange in color. Visibility is usually constrained to inches. See the picture below: