Many factors affect catching trout - water conditions, bait colors, presentation, etc.
   Bottom line?  Have a good time fishing and enjoy your day.

General information    Trout Vision    Trout Smell    Trout Hearing    Water & Habitat    Trout Baits    Rod/Line Setups

General Trout Vision

                                                            Easy Summary - Clear water.

(This is a best effort on summary. There are many other variables for color selection - to many for me to include as then it would get confusing for you. This is a good baseline to understanding color and water as a fish sees it. If you really want to absorb some serious data and understand how the pro's choose their colors for fishing, read all of the supportive documentation linked here and spin your brain)

1.  Early Morning:  Day Break to 8:00 - Greens, Blues, Purples.
2.  Mid Morning: 8:30-10:30 - Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, *Pink, *Chartruese.
3.  Noon:  11:00-1:00 - Red, Oranges, Yellows *Pinks, *Chartruese
4.  Mid Afternoon: 2:00-4:00 - Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, *Pink, *Chartruese.
5.  Late Afternoon:  5:00-Sunset - Greens, Blues, Purples.
6.  During Dusk, Night and Dawn:  Chartruese/White, Yellow/White, Red/White with White being a stripe.
     Basically Chartreuse, yellow and red colors will show up as black being the predominate color with depth and lower light.

Water chart below: use clear water at noon chart. Divide each color depth in half for each hour before/after noon (peak sun)
Cloudy days are a major factor in color depth. Longer wavelength (reds, oranges, yellow colors fades to black and intensity also drops with depth. Thus at 5 ft yellow is more intense but at 30 feet still looks yellow.

*Pink and Chartruese have a natural UV reflective characteristic thus go deeper along UV lines than reds/oranges/yellows

Contrast of colors, size and shape are also very important. Read more about Trout Baits here.

A little more detailed Summary of how trout see:

  1.  Trout move up and down according to intensity of light and temperature in water - Trout Environment
  2.  Trout cannot see down. They can see 320 degrees around them and 97 degrees in front.
  3.  Trout can see colors more vividly than we do and color fades and decreases intensity with depth till it turns black colored.
  4.  Trout can see different shades of color and distinction is best first with blues then greens and so on up the spectrum.
  5.  Trout can see up to 15-20 ft with clarity and then items become blurred and colors fade.
  6.  Trout vision is limited to 2.26 x depth.  If a trout is 2 ft down they can only see clarity up to 4.5 ft
  7.  Trout like people have cones for vision. Also a 4th cone, those under 2 years of age, can see Ultraviolet
  8.  From Dusk to dawn the eyes color cones stop working and eye rods becomes active.
       Then they see black/white with black being the most visible thus black and white colors are best to use.
  9.  Chartruese and Pink colors have natural UV reflective characteristics thus extending depth of its same normal color.
10.  In stained or algae'd water UV is useless with blues and purples greatly diminished and green is seen best.
11. Glitter, Silver, Gold, Flashy is seen much in longer distances. This attracts fish to come closer.
12. Cloudy and Turbid waters will reduce color depth.

What can trout see - Class Code 206
Color Vision in trout - Class Code 406
Understanding Color Loss Underwater
Sight in Fish
Color accurate underwater imaging
Water and Light in Underwater Photography
Shining a Light on UV Materials
Water Colors
Water Clarity Measurements
Fishing Gene - Trout Vision Posts


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