Best Color Sunglasses for Fishing

What’s the Best Lens Color for Fishing Sunglasses?

The longer anglers spend on the water, the more valuable they find sunglasses. Where novice anglers may consider all sunglasses to be the same, knowing the differences in something like lens color can be a phenomenal tool that allows you to land even more fish than normal.

So, whether you’re deep-sea fishing, fly fishing in the mountains, or spending time targeting bass on a Midwestern Lake, choosing the proper lens color is necessary.

Certain lens colors work better than others depending on when and how you’re fishing. Grey, BRONZE yellow, blue, green, and orange are the most common and productive lens colors for anglers.


Grey Color Fishing Sunglasses
Grey Color Fishing Sunglasses – photo credit Smith Optics 👈 Link to read more

If versatility is what you’re after, grey lenses are the ideal option. Whether you’re fishing on sunny or partly cloudy days, grey sunglasses work. Grey base sunglasses have about 10 percent light transmission, so they allow for objects to be seen in their purest form. There’s no color distortion like you would see in most other lenses.

Guide Pro Tip: Read more about light transmission in this article. 👉 What is Light Transmission for Sunglasses

Anglers who spend their entire days on the water will also find themselves happy with grey lenses. As light conditions change throughout the day, color and contrast won’t be as impacted as they would be if you were wearing a different color of lenses.

Where grey lenses find themselves lacking is in darker or more overcast conditions. Due to their natural color, you won’t get any assistance from the lenses to improve light conditions or give you a better experience on overcast days.

For anglers who want a pair of versatile sunglasses to work for their days on the water, rounds of golf, and general day-to-day operations, grey lenses will do the job well.

What Sunglasses Do I Recommend?

A great pair of polarized sunglasses is a game changer. Spending a little bit more for quality sunglasses is well worth it. Think of it this way – you might have hundreds of dollars wrapped up in a fly rod that just sits in the closet. You can wear sunglasses all the time. My Recommendation? Check out the Smith Guides Choice Link to Smith Optics Below 👇

BRONZE – High Contrast Winner

Copper Color Fishing Sunglasses
Copper Color Fishing Sunglasses – photo credit Smith Optics 👈 Link to read more

Bronze lenses are more of a high-contrast lens. If you’re a sight angler, bronze/copper lenses are exactly what you would want. Generally, bronze lenses help define things below the surface of the water. So, if you’re fly fishing a gin-clear mountain stream on a bright and sunny day, bronze lenses would be perfect. You could see through the surface of the water and identify fish sitting in and around structures. Even if you’re fishing clouded water, bronze lenses are going to be a great amount of assistance for anglers hoping to stop some underwater features.

I think the copper color is the most versatile color for most fishing conditions
I think the bronze/copper color is the most versatile color for most fishing conditions

These lenses also work well if you’re out in the flats and are looking to follow fish or searching for big bass on beds. They increase your depth perception to give you a better idea of where fish are and how deep they’re located.

They aren’t the ideal option for anglers looking to spend most of their time fishing in the ocean out in deep water. The amount of contrast can become uncomfortable after a while.

Bronze lenses are best used in dim or overcast conditions because of the higher light transmission. While they work on those bright days, keep that in mind.

Trout, flats, and bass anglers especially enjoy the bronze lenses.

Guide Pro Tip: Sunlight is tough on a fisherman’s eye’s. Read about what UV protection is all about in this article. 👉 UV Protection for Sunglasses

Yellow – Low Light King

Yellow Color Fishing Sunglasses
Yellow Color Fishing Sunglasses – photo credit Smith Optics 👈 Link to read more

Yellow-based lenses are the favorites for anglers who spend most of their time fishing in low-light conditions. These lenses help reduce blue light and do a great job of brightening your environment. So, if you’re the type of angler who needs to be out early or fishing late, yellow lenses are exactly what you would want.

These lenses also work well when you’re fishing on those overcast days. Anglers are well-aware that the overcast days can lead to extremely productive fishing, but the light conditions aren’t always easy to work with. A pair of yellow lenses will help you stay focused on not having to spend as much time squinting and adapting to the challenging light.

I remember fishing in the mountains of Montana last summer in a region with some wildfires. There was quite a bit of smoke in the air, so I decided to try my yellow lenses to see if they would work well in the lower light. It was the best decision I could have made. Not only did the glasses protect my eyes from the smoke, but they helped me see through it and easily locate rises and my fly.

Guide Pro Tip: Different coatings for your sunglasses can increase your fishing success. Read more about the best coatings for sunglasses in this article. 👉 Best Coatings for Fishing Sunglasses

Blue – Great for Deep Sea Details

Blue Color Fishing Sunglasses
Blue Color Fishing Sunglasses – photo credit Smith Optics 👈 Link to read more

Blue lenses are some of the more popular lenses that anglers wear. These lenses are great at showing small details as well as changes in color. However, their best asset is how well blue lenses reduce extremely strong glares. You won’t see any hardcore deep-sea anglers without a nice pair of blue mirrored lenses.

Not only do they reflect the color of the ocean water, but they do a great job of reducing any sort of eye fatigue that can happen on an especially sunny day. As anglers, we should prioritize protecting our eyes, and blue lenses are one of the best for keeping us safe and protected for as long as we’re exposed to sunlight.

Blue lenses also do well in misty conditions. They do a good job matching the overall color, so you don’t have to worry about removing your glasses while fishing. They can still provide the color and contrast that’s necessary to make you as successful as possible.

If harsh sunlight is the most popular fishing condition you find yourself in, then do yourself a favor and purchase a set of blue lenses.

Green – For Color Distortion

Green Color Fishing Sunglasses
Green Color Fishing Sunglasses – photo credit Smith Optics 👈 Link to read more

Green lenses are the best choice if you’re hoping for little to no color distortion. Plus, they enhance the color contrast. They do a great job for anglers who spend quite a bit of time sight fishing. They’ll brighten some of the darker parts of the water while also protecting you from any unnecessary glare.

Due to their ability to minimize distortion and increase contrast, they’re great in both sunny and cloudy conditions. Also, if you’re fishing in especially weedy areas, then the green lenses give you exactly what you need to see into them and identify any fish. As a result, bass and pike anglers find the green lenses to be extra productive.

Cruising weed lines and other vegetation can be a challenge without sonar and other technology. The green lenses give you as much of an advantage as possible. We often miss fish or skip over the weedy areas due to the challenges they present, so if your water is extra weedy, try a pair of green lenses.

Orange – Low Light Versatility

Orange Color Fishing Sunglasses
Orange Color Fishing Sunglasses – photo credit Smith Optics 👈 Link to read more

Orange lenses are fairly similar to the copper/bronze or amber lenses in their ability to perform well in lower light conditions. Overcast days, dawn, and dusk have minimal light, but there still can be a frustrating glare that can interfere with your time on the water. However, if you want a pair of versatile sunglasses that can function well at all times of the day, orange lenses aren’t for you. You will quickly get eye fatigue, and find yourself squinting in the bright conditions.

Last Cast

Each condition of light you find yourself in has a lens color that works well for it. However, it’s not realistic for every angler to purchase multiple pairs of sunglasses to fit all of their fishing adventures.

As a result, it’s not a bad idea to stick with grey, blue or green lenses due to their versatility and ability to function well in a variety of light conditions. However, if you’re spending time fishing in low light or on overcast days, then bronze, yellow or orange lenses will work well for you.

Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fly fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fly fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It’s a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels

Sources and Thanks

  • A big thanks to Smith Optics for picture use. ChromaPop TM has been a game changer for me. LINK 👉 Smith Optics
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