If you’re looking to buy your first pair of polarized fishing sunglasses you are probably a little confused as to what color lenses you should choose.
In order to buy the best polarized sunglasses for the type of fishing you do most often, you have to pick the best lens color for fishing. But with so many different lens colors out there, it’s hard to know where to start.
I never even considered it when I got my first polarized sunglasses for fishing but when I became a fly fishing guide and it came to selecting sunglasses, I did some research and ended up with the right colored lens for my environment. I could see a lot more and it made sight fishing a lot easier.
Join me as I run through everything you need to know about the different colored lenses so you can pick the best lens color for fishing for your needs the first time around.
In this article...
Is Lens Color Important For Fishing?
Yes, lens color is incredibly important for fishing sunglasses, especially if you’re sight fishing and need to spot fish before you cast, like in fly fishing.
All lens colors for fishing sunglasses are designed to help you spot fish in different environments depending on the type of fishing you are doing and the light conditions you’re fishing in.
Blue lenses on your fishing sunglasses, for example, will be better when in deep blue water but less effective in shallow water, and the same goes for other lens colors too.
But it’s not just the lens colors you need to think about when it comes to buying a pair of sunglasses, as having a mirrored lens is also important too.
Lens Color Vs Lens Mirror
To make things a little bit more complicated, you’re not only going to have to pick the right color polarized sunglasses, you’re going to have to pick the right mirror for your fishing sunglasses too or you won’t get the color enhancement or the protection you need.
The Color Of Your Polarized Lenses
The lens color on your polarized fishing sunglasses will cut the water glare, enhance your color perception and contrast, give you better depth perception, and enhance your vision overall so you can see more fish.
The Mirror Of Your Polarized Lenses
The mirror on your polarized fishing sunglasses is about eye protection. The mirror acts as a reflector to eliminate light transmission into your eyes from the light bouncing off the water.
By blocking the light transmission, the mirror will reduce eye strain, eye fatigue, and overall keep your eyes healthier. But, you need to pick the right mirror for the type of light you’re going to be fishing in.
What Are The Polarized Lens Color Options
Every manufacturer has a range of lens colors and they might even name them something special like sunrise silver mirror for example.
The names are more marketing spiel than anything so when choosing some fishing sunglasses that you will absolutely love, look at the picture of the lens colors and apply them to the colors laid out below.
Neutral Gray Lenses
Gray lenses, or grey lenses, are neutral lenses and the most versatile lenses out there. Gray allows a uniform amount of light to pass through meaning you get true color vision without any enhancement. Gray blocks a lot of light too, providing you with excellent protection on bright sunny days.
Gray is the best color to choose for your polarized fishing glasses if you want to be able to use them in freshwater, offshore, inshore, and while even playing golf.
A lot of offshore captains choose gray with blue mirror polarized lenses for their fishing sunglasses as it also helps you see fish when looking over a deep bottom.
Amber, Rose, & Copper Lenses
Amber lenses, rose and copper lenses are known as the brown range of lens colors as then all work in the same way.
Rose, amber lenses, and copper lenses all increase color perception and provide an enhanced color contrast providing good definition so you can spot fish more easily.
These are perfect for sunny days, are the top trout lens colors, and the best for shallow water flats. They also work quite well in low light conditions and are therefore very versatile, going from lowlight conditions to bright sunshine with ease.
All fly fishermen use these lenses on their polarized glasses as they are especially helpful for sight fishing when you don’t even cast until you see a fish. They enhance your vision so you can see fish and track them with ease, allowing every fly fisherman to make the best cast possible.
Yellow & Orange
Unlike other lenses, orange and yellow polarized lenses are low light lenses and are designed for low light conditions on cloudy days.
Sight fishing on cloudy days is the worst as you need the light to show you what’s going on under the water, as even the best polarized fishing glasses can remove all the glare.
Orange and yellow lenses are designed to reduce blue light, use all the low light available to brighten your vision, and provide as much color contrast as possible.
In essence an orange or yellow lens will take all the light available and maximize while providing as much color contrast as possible so you can see fish. They also help in muddy water due to this too.
Anyone who enjoys sight fishing should own a good pair of polarized glasses with a low light yellow lens for overcast days. But, these should not be worn on bright days with lots of light as the lenses will create eye strain by adding too much light to your vision.
What Are The Lens Mirror Options?
When looking for polarized sunglasses for fishing you should always have a mirror on the front of your lenses to protect your eyes. Without a mirror, too much light passing through the lenses will cause both eye fatigue and eye strain.
There are only three types of mirror when it comes to polarized fishing sunglasses and the key to picking the right one depends on where you’re fishing and matching the color of the water to the mirror.
Blue mirror is designed for offshore fishing in the deep blue sea. Blue mirror sunglasses like the ones from Costa Del Mar, will block a lot of the blue light from the glare on the blue water to ensure less eye strain and better peripheral vision while you fish.
Green mirror works in the same way as blue but is designed for shallow water where the sea looks green. The mirror reflects a lot of the light back to protect your eyes while you fish but it also does a bit extra too.
Green mirror sunglasses enhance your vision even more as it removes the browns from the water and enhances the greens, making it easier to see fish. These are the best for sight fishing and ideal for flats or shallow freshwater fishing too.
Sometimes green mirrored polarized sunglasses are mistakenly referred to as green lenses, but they aren’t green lenses, it’s just the mirror on top of the polarized lens color, so be aware of that. Green is not a lens color option.
Silver mirror fishing sunglasses are designed for low light conditions as they reflect the white light that comes off the glare on overcast days. This provides excellent protection for your eyes as the glare on overcast days increases light reflection levels a lot.
What Color Lens Is Best For Fishing?
There is no one lens color that is best for fishing sunglasses as it depends on three things:
- Where you’re fishing
- The light conditions on the day
- Your personal preference
You first need to pick a pair of polarized sunglasses with the lens color to match where you’re fishing – offshore, inshore, freshwater, etc.
You then need to add a mirror to the lenses to protect your eyes, again based on your environment. And finally, you should choose the lens based on the color enhancement you want from it too.
If that is a little confusing, I will run through which lenses will be best for your sunglasses below based on different fishing situations.
What color lens is best for Saltwater Fishing?
The best lenses if you’re looking for some sunglasses for saltwater fishing will depend on whether you fish inshore or offshore.
If you are offshore fishing you have the option to have some glasses with a blue mirror and gray polarized lens or a blue mirror and amber/copper/rose polarized lens.
The mirror will protect your eyes and the gray will give you true colors but with the amber/copper/rose option the colors will be enhanced. I prefer Costa Del Mar Copper Blue Mirror as they provide extra contrast to spot fish with.
If you are inshore fishing then your sunglasses must have polarized green mirror amber/copper/rose lenses. These not only protect your eyes and cut glare but also enhance everything so you can see fish way off in the distance.
I personally only used the Costa Del Mar Amber Green Mirror lenses for shallow waters, flats, and anything inshore.
What color lens is best for Freshwater fishing?
When fishing in freshwater you should have amber lenses with a green mirror, just like for inshore flats fishing. The mirror will protect your eyes and enhance colors along with the amber, helping you to see more fish with your glasses.
What color lens is best for Lake fishing?
Lakes are just like any other freshwater environment so a combination of green mirrors and amber/rose/copper backing is ideal. Glasses with these lenses will enhance the colors and protect your eyes so you can see fish all day long.
What color lens is best for river fishing?
Again, river fishing is best done with sunglasses that have green mirrored and amber/copper/rose lenses as they provide better contrast and color enhancement so you can see all the fish that go past.
What Is The Best Lens Material?
Another thing that makes buying sunglasses complicated is choosing the right material for your lenses. Manufacturers like Costa Del Mar or Maui Jim will offer both polycarbonate and glass lenses, so what’s the difference?
Well, there aren’t actually that many. Glass lenses are more expensive, heavier – especially in prescription sunglasses, and also less scratch resistant, but provide a lot more clarity.
Polycarbonate is light, super resistant to scratches, thin when in prescription, and more affordable. Polycarbonate glasses are not as good when it comes to clarity but they are still excellent.
Choosing which one is based on personal preference and budget. I have always fished with polycarbonate glasses and it has never held me back from seeing fish.
Mirrored Lens vs Polarized Lenses
Don’t be confused by mirrored and polarized lenses, as all fishing sunglasses are polarized to cut the glare off the water and then you have the option to add a mirror on top of this.
So you will have both mirrored and polarized lenses in one if you opt to have a mirror at all, which I would strongly recommend.
Thanks very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now know everything about lens colors and mirror options. It’s actually quite simple at the end of the day but picking the right combination is key to seeing the most amount of fish possible.
Please share this article about the best lens color for fishing with your fishing friends, leave a comment below with any questions, and check out some of our other articles too. We cover everything from the best polarized fishing sunglasses to how to rig for trout and walleye.