5 Ways to Pick the Best Color Lenses for Fly Fishing

5 Ways to Pick the Best Color Lenses for Fly Fishing

Depending on the conditions you are fishing in, the color of sunglasses you are fly fishing in should vary. Here, we'll look at the ideal color of lenses that should be worn on specific fly fishing conditions.

Fly fishing is often a very long and arduous sport, especially on bright days. Since fly fishermen are outdoors for extended periods of time, they need special sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

The type of sunglasses one chooses should depend upon whether or not it enhances contrast in the water and whether or not it obstructs peripheral vision when looking into trees or bushes to spot fish.

This article will cover some of the best color sunglasses for various types and conditions of fly fishing, including water types, lakes, ocean rivers, cloudy days, etc.

Man holding large rainbow trout fly fishing

The Color of Sunglasses Based on Various Fly Fishing Conditions

Depending on the conditions you are fishing in, the color of sunglasses you are fly fishing in should vary. Here, we'll look at the ideal color of lenses that should be worn on:

  • Low light days
  • Overcast conditions
  • Full sun or partly cloudy conditions
  • For inshore fishing, and
  • For open water fishing

Amber Tented Sunglasses

Sunglasses for Low Light

Yellow and Amber are the perfect lens color to be worn when one is fly fishing in flat, cloudy conditions with no glare. They have a yellow tint which blocks out the blue light reflected from surfaces like glass or water, so they are most often worn on cloudy days. Amber color lenses enable one to see the contrast between the sky and water clarity but can also enhance contrast underwater.

Amber color lenses can be worn when you're fly fishing in bright conditions with low light. They serve to enhance contrast underwater and in low light conditions like that found at sunset and sunrise. Amber lenses also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Blue Lens Sunglasses

Sunglasses for Full Sun

Blue lenses are the most popular sunglasses for fly fishing in full sun conditions. These lenses are the darkest, which provides the best protection from glare. Some blue sunglasses are designed to filter out shorter wavelengths of light, which cuts down on haze and produces greater contrast between objects in the foreground and background. Blue sunglasses are also popular with boaters or anyone who spends a lot of time on or near the water because they reduce reflected glare off the water's surface while increasing visibility below it.

Grey Lens Sunglasses for fly fishing

Sunglasses for Overcast Conditions

Gray lenses provide excellent all-around protection in full sun, similar to blue. Gray is considered an excellent universal color, so it offers good protection during overcast days or when fishing around heavy cover where low-light conditions are prevalent. On sunny days, gray lenses are also great for maintaining natural colors.

Green lenses are the best choice for overcast days, but they're also excellent for fishing around heavy cover any time of year. Green reduces glare and offers perfect contrast, comparable to blue or gray for low-light conditions. However, green is not recommended if you plan on fishing in full sun; because it cuts down on some available light, your rod tip will become difficult to track with this color lens.

Green lense sunglasses for inshore fishing

Sunglasses for Inshore Fishing

Green lenses are ideal for inshore fishing, especially on sunny or partly cloudy days. They cut down on glare to improve visibility, reduce pupil constriction to allow you to see more of your surroundings, and are very effective at distinguishing between light and dark objects.

Inshore fishing is any fishing that occurs in an area where there are no waves large enough to prevent the lure from being seen by fish below. This may be a lake, pond, reservoir, or a calm section of the ocean coastline.

Inshore fishing offers the advantage of seeing your surroundings as much as possible, so green lenses remain a good choice for inshore fishing because green enhances contrast and allows you to distinguish between light and dark objects better than other colors.

Man FLy Fishing for large bass

Sunglasses for Open Water

Blue lenses are effective for open water fishing. Blue also reduces pupil constriction to let more light reach your retina. Still, it's not as effective at distinguishing between dark and light objects - this makes it challenging to pick out fish eyes from backgrounds when fish are near the surface of the water.

When on open water, you'll want your sunglasses to be polarized. This helps reduce glare from the sun reflecting off waves atop the water's surface. It also reduces the effect of light scattering, making it harder to see fish in darker conditions even if they are brightly colored.

Polarized lenses come in various colors these days, but yellow and brown remain reliable choices for open-water fishing because they contrast well with bright backgrounds and let more light into your eyes. They also cut down on glares that might distract you or mask a fish's shadow beneath the surface or a school swimming nearby.

Man Fly Fishing

How to Choose Between Polarized or Mirrored Lenses

While color is incredibly important when choosing your sunglasses, so is choosing between mirrored or polarized glasses. Both options have advantages, especially in full sun conditions, so choosing between them can be tricky. Here are some of the benefits of each type of sunglass lens.

Many anglers prefer mirrored lenses because they block out light from above, which can be beneficial when fishing overhanging trees with bright leaves or when the sun is exceptionally bright. Mirrored lenses provide more UV protection, but polarized lenses allow you to see fish better in the water.

The truth is that polarized glasses help you see more clearly in the water. By blocking out the dazzling light, you're essentially employing a filter to look beyond the glare and see more clearly beneath the water's surface.

Girl Fly Fishing

They cut through murkiness and surface glare while allowing you to see what's beneath and around you. They also offer far greater contrast on the water, making it simpler to spot the fish and, more significantly, hook them.

The clear-cut choice for most anglers is to go with a polarized lens. While mirrored lenses with a copper base can be great for sight fishing, the best choice is to go with a polarized lens for clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the best sunglasses, style, and lens color for fly fishing.

Does Lens Color Matter for Fishing Glasses?

Depending on the color of your sunglass lenses, you may actually see better or worse. Depending on the time of day and conditions when you're fishing, the color of the lenses you choose can make a difference.

Lens color matters when fishing. Depending on the color, it can create a contrast to help you spot a fish or cut down the glare from bright sunlight. It's worth knowing which color lenses are best before heading out on the water for a day.

Man with fish

Lens color can affect the visibility you get while fishing. There are different colors of lenses, each with its purpose and benefit when it comes to seeing what's on the water.

Lens color is essential for fishing glasses because it changes how you see objects. Different light conditions make different colors look brighter or darker; choose your lens accordingly.

Are Brown Polarized Lenses Good for Fishing?

Being the best choice for fishing, polarized lenses still depend on the lens color to optimize your sight. Brown polarized lenses are an excellent option for anglers when fishing in the majority of conditions.

Brown polarized lenses are good for fishing. Their hue is the most vibrant and lively in this category. They have excellent contrast and color contrast, making them ideal for days when the sun is in the moderate-to-overcast range.

Browns are great for early morning or late afternoon, with low to moderate sun exposure. Similar to amber lenses, brown lenses are ideal for foggy or hazy conditions and at sunrise or sunset.

However, brown polarized lenses aren't designed for bright sunlight, so beware of glare off the water if you're fishing out in the full sun all day.

Fly Fishing man with large fish

What Color Polarized Lens Is Best for Inshore Fishing?

Inshore fishing can be extremely difficult to do during certain conditions. One of these is when the sun is directly in your eyes. That's why polarized sunglasses are so useful, especially when fishing in saltwater. 

Green polarized lenses are the ideal lens color for inshore fishing. Green lenses have been shown to reduce the most glare when fishing inshore. Most green polarized lenses also have a brown base, which enhances contrast in low light conditions, making them ideal for transitioning from early morning into full sun.

If you're inshore fishing at sunrise or sunset, you may want to consider a brown or amber lens for better contrast. Brown polarized lenses are best for low-light conditions because they increase depth perception and definition through yellow and red light wavelengths.

Catch more with Drifthook Fly Fishing

What Color Polarized Lens Is Best for Sight Fishing?

Sight fishing is a technique anglers use to spot fish near the surface of the water before casting. This technique is often used for sight fishing with light tackle at night or in turbid waters. Still, it can also be effective during the day when fish feed on insects near shore or around vegetation or debris that tends to collect on the water's edge.

Amber or brown polarized lenses are some of the best choices for sight fishing because they increase depth perception and definition. These colors are most often associated with an early morning or late evening glow, when the water reflects atmospheric conditions like fog, dust, dew, smoke, etc... Still, they also allow anglers to see into shaded areas in low-light conditions.

Man Sight Fishing

In those situations, polarized lenses darken the color spectrum and decrease potential interference from incoming light reflected off objects above the water's surface. Green lenses have been shown to reduce glare best in these conditions through their ability to absorb yellow and red wavelengths while transmitting green and blue ones--the same color spectrum seen underwater.

Are Gray Lenses Good for Fishing?

Gray lenses are ideal when you need to see into shaded areas or when the water is very dirty due to sediment, which blocks incoming light. This means that in clear water with minimal interference from reflected sun rays, gray polarized lenses are best suited for sight fishing applications.

Gray lenses are great for sight fishing because they enable anglers to see more natural colors from the fish. Gray lenses aren't ideal in low light conditions. Choosing a blue or amber lens will give you better results when conditions are sunny or partly cloudy.

Man releasing large trout fly fishing in river

Depending on the conditions you're fishing in, different lenses could help you see fish better. If visibility is poor, blue or amber lenses will give you a clear view into the water and allow you to better spot fish in low light conditions.

As you can see, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. However, if you know what kind of day it will be before leaving the house and choose a lens accordingly, you're golden!

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