One of the most improved senses of the trout is without doubt, the vision. To gain a better understand of how a trout's eyes work and why they are so important to their existence, we will compare them with the human eye.

Similarities found between the human and trout's eyes include:

  • Both have a Cornea
  • Both have an Iris
  • Both have Lens

• Both have Rods and Cones, which are light sensitive cells

As you begin your stalking of trout, once you know how they use their eyes, you will gain a significant advantage. Since trout have monocular vision, they have the ability to see things on both sides of the body.

The huge advantage that trout have with monocular vision is that each eye works independently. In other words, as the left eye is looking at the surface of the water, the right eye might be looking downward toward the bottom of the lake, river, or stream, or vice versa. The great thing for the trout is that the minute it spots food coming toward it or a predator stalking it, it has the ability to focus both eyes together, thus having binocular vision. This skill is what helps the trout determine the distances of any objects approaching from the front.

Since trout have this uncanny ability of using both monocular and binocular vision, they have a definite advantage over the angler. It is this very reason why you need to approach your fishing area for trout with extreme care.

Since trout can use both types of vision, they can see both food and predators at a 320-degree sweep. In comparison, the human eye can only do a sweep of 180 degrees. Now when you take this amazing skill and combine it with the fact that trout can see the outside surface environment through the refractive window, you can understand why trout have such amazing seeing abilities.

Because trout can use the refractive window, the lower they position themselves in the water, the more of the outside environment they can see. This means when trout are lying in deep waters, they can see more outside environment than if they were lying in shallow water.

This is why approaching trout in deep water is such a challenge. With their vision improving the lower they are you have a greater chance of being detected. In fact, many of the older fish know this secret and therefore, find deep pools to live. This is why the older fish are larger, as they can avoid predators while spotting food easier.

Trout do have one disadvantage in that they have two blind spots. The first spot if below their body and the second is directly behind. Therefore, if you want to fish for trout upstream, you will typically have good success. By positioning yourself in the blind spots, you can cast your spinner in front of the fish that is pointing toward the streams current or upstream.

Another advantage trout have over anglers is that they have excellent vision in low light conditions. On average, the human eye has an aperture of f2.0 while a trout's eye has an aperture of f1.2. The lower the aperture number goes, the more light can enter the eye and the better the vision will be in low light conditions. Since the trout's aperture number is lower than that of the human eye, they can see better in the dark than we can.


For years, there has been debate whether trout are colorblind. Some longtime angers swear they are while others swear they are not. The answer is easy - since trout, like humans, have the Rod and Cones for light sensitivity, they do in fact see color.

Over the past several years, numerous research studies have been performed to confirm this fact. What scientists have discovered is that not only can trout tell the difference between colors but they also have an amazing ability to distinguish shades or color. This ability provides the trout with yet another advantage in that they can distinguish objects in the foreground from those in the background.

Trout use movement as another tool for detecting food and predators. If you were to fish a river or stream, remember to wear waders or clothing that blends in with the natural environment.

Since trout can differentiate between shades of color, if you were to wear dark green waders in crystal blue water, it would be as though you were wearing a huge sign that read, "I'm here fishing for you! Swim away quickly!" Remember, it does not matter if you are standing perfectly still or not.

A quick note that can be very beneficial for you is that not all colors are seen the same by trout. For instance, colors that a trout can see the best include yellow, orange, and red. On the other hand, colors that are seen least would include green and blue.

This is why the color of your spinner is so important. A trout can even distinguish between these colors and trout do not just base their food on movement and shape, but color as well. Since the color of food will naturally vary from lake to lake, river-to-river, and stream to stream, it is crucial that you use a colored spinner that blends with the natural environment.

It is also important to understand that trout are nosey and curious creatures. Many times, when they see a spinner, rather than just strike, they will nudge it with their nose to determine exactly what it is. This is why some anglers catch a trout by the tail or body instead of the mouth. Feeling the spinner being nudged, they mistake this for a strike rather than an act of curiosity.

Sensitivity to Light

Some anglers believe that since a trout has the incredible ability to see so well at night since they are most active at this time. It is true that trout have great vision when there is less light simply because they are photosensitive. Think of it this way, if a trout's eyes were the same size as that of a human eye, three times the amount of light would be allowed in because of the aperture level.

It is the sensitivity to light that helps a trout locate its food when there is less light. When a trout is searching for food on a bright, sunny day, you would want to use a spinner that had a dull or dark blade since one that produced flash or light would provide too much light and spook the fish.

Think of it the same as if you were sitting at your favorite baseball game on a sunny day. As you are trying to watch the play on the field, you have trouble because you forgot your sunglasses to filter out some of the light. The trout's vision is the same - in sunny conditions, they do not see as well.

Since fish of any kind do not have eyelids, when the bright environment increases, they become uncomfortable in that they have no way to block or filter out the light. On sunny days, you will find trout looking for shelter in areas that offer shade.

Typically, trout will look for food in the early morning hours or in the late afternoon when the sun's intensity is less. Anglers wanting to fish in mid-day can be successful but only if they fish areas with shade, which would include rocks, overhangs, trees, logs, and so on.

For this reason, you will have more success on a sunny day by fishing shaded pools, areas with fallen trees, or sections with foliage that hangs over the water.

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