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The Backstage Pass

What is the Best Color of Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing?

May 03, 23

Top guides have an amazing ability to spot fish whether on the flats or subtly rising on a freestone. Your eyes may not be as trained, but you can help yourself by wearing high-quality lenses on the water. Polarized sunglasses are an absolute must-have for fishing and not only make spotting fish easier but also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

The glasses market is flooded with high-quality options in both polarized glass and polycarbonate options and almost any style or color you desire, but certain lenses will perform better in different fishing conditions and situations. While it isn’t necessary to travel with pair for every light condition, it is preferable to have a backup pair with you because accidents happen!

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  • Attach some sort of retainer to your glasses (even if it’s tippet tied around your glasses) will help prevent losing your shades.
  • Try to keep your extra glasses in a case with a microfiber lens cloth (or the disposable lens cloths available at drug stores) to keep salt spray or other spots off your glasses. We recommend keeping your lenses as clean as possible and especially free from salt.
  • When selecting lenses for fishing, polarized lenses are essentially non-negotiable and will make a huge difference when you are struggling to see the bonefish that your guide has spotted 80+ feet from the boat.

While the style of glasses might be important, the real difference maker is the lens, particularly the color. Three of our favorite companies that make polarized sunglasses for fishing are Bajio, Costa Sunglasses, and Smith. You really cannot go wrong with any of these terrific brands when buying a pair of sunglasses for fishing. Below, we go into the different lens colors and their unique application for these companies:


  • Blue/Grey Base: Dark lens that is great for offshore fishing and bright sun
  • Green/Brown Base: Second darkest lens. Great for flats fishing and application in shallow waters
  • Silver/Copper Base: Middle-of-the-road. Great for bright sun and lower light conditions
  • Rose/Red Base: Great for bright sun and lower light conditions. Works well on Western rivers and lake fishing
  • Grey: Low contrast lens without mirror
  • Copper: High contrast lens without mirror


  • Copper: A great all-around lens color for both fresh and saltwater fishing
  • Blue (Mirror): A top option for open water fishing, particularly offshore
  • Green (Mirror): Excels both in the salt and freshwater in shallow water situations
  • Gray (Mirror): Classic look with solid performance in various light conditions
  • Yellow/Sunrise (Mirror): A great option for low-light conditions and a favorite of our staff at Yellow Dog
  • Copper Silver (Mirror): Great for stream fishing and varying light conditions


  • Green (Mirror): Brown base lens best for high sun exposure and flats fishing
  • Ignitor: A universal lens meant to serve in all conditions and fishing applications
  • Bronze (Mirror): Ideal for everyday use. Great lens for flats fishing
  • Low Light Amber: High contrast and low light lens for numerous fishing applications in both fresh and salt
  • Platinum: A gray-based lens that excels in high sun and bright light conditions. Great for offshore

Have any questions? Give us a call here at the office 406-585-8667 and ask for our Bozeman fly shop team.

Recommended Articles:
- How to Spot Bonefish Like a Saltwater Flats Guide
- Building a Travel First-Aid Kit For Your Fly Fishing Trip
- 5 Secrets to Untangling the Mystery of Lines