Most keen anglers have a favorite lure or fly color, and swear that their choice will out-perform all other offerings. But just how important is color when it comes to lure and fly selection? Well, according to science, not very important at all!
Red is the first color visible to our eyes to disappear, and is typically gone within 15 or 20 feet of the surface. much less in turbid water. Orange disappears next, then yellow, green, and purple. Blues penetrate deepest of all, both the tones visible to our human eyes and also the shorter, ultra-violet wavelength many fish can see.
This phenomenon has a profound impact on the way things look to us, and also to fish underwater. White objects will appear bluish or gray underwater, and the darkness of that blue/gray appearance increases rapidly with depth. Red objects will begin to look dark brown or even black within a few meters of the surface. Down at 40 or 50 feet, even in very clear water, the world appears to be composed entirely of shades of gray, blue, and black.