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BillyBrookTrout

The Color Purple

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Good stuff all and Im not even going to comment on that evilution :wacko: comment. Anyway, I have used burple (black and purple) plugs and flys for stripers as my primary night, low light or dirty water lures and flys. Never really wondered as to the science of it but I knew they were always the most productive.

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First. Thanks for the ultra scary flash backs to eight grade. I now have resurfaced memories of a thee hundred pound nun cracking a ruler over my knuckles. :bugeyes: Second, My head hurts from all the education that has now been stuffed into my aging brain :wheelchair: and finally, now that I think of it, every bass that I caught in Lake Hopatcong, NJ was caught on a purple worm, or a spinner with purple some where on it. And to think as kids we always said why do I need take this class I'll never use it in real life anyway. Time to start tying some Purple Flies :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

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Since I know less about ichthyology than I do about Spectromology, I won't begin to ponder a guess as to the make up of a Trout's eye. That is, the rods and cones that make vision possible in humans both at night and during daylight. I suppose it would be naive to assume a fish has the same pathology as a human eye.

So while light science is irrefutable, how a trout "sees" the fly --whether on the surface as one poster mentioned or down deep where the big boys live--is a matter for the great Robert Behnke, pHd. The man wrote the book on Trout (literally).

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Since I know less about ichthyology than I do about Spectromology, I won't begin to ponder a guess as to the make up of a Trout's eye. That is, the rods and cones that make vision possible in humans both at night and during daylight. I suppose it would be naive to assume a fish has the same pathology as a human eye.

So while light science is irrefutable, how a trout "sees" the fly --whether on the surface as one poster mentioned or down deep where the big boys live--is a matter for the great Robert Behnke, pHd. The man wrote the book on Trout (literally).

 

In response to the great information provided by Searching Solitude: Although it has been proven that blue, indigo and violet are the last colors to fade in diminishing light and red is the first, this doesn't necessarily explain why trout still seem to prefer the color purple in flies fished on or just under the surface, and in clear shallow streams. It takes a depth of around 3 meters, or about 10 ft., for red to disappear, so this would exclude many trout streams or at least the riffle and run sections of streams where many trout are caught. I figure there has to be more to it than that.

 

Ok, so I whipped out the old Ichthyology textbooks and research papers and here is the condensed version of what I found.

 

Salmonid eyes are similar to ours in that they have both rods (black and white vision) and cones (color vision), but in different ratios than our own. They can actually see a slightly wider bandwidth of the color spectrum than humans, extending into far red, past 800 nanometers. Salmonid vision is most sensitive to shades of purple and blue.

 

Last fall provided an example of this. A popular stream in the Black Hills gets a fall run of nice sized brook trout, brown trout and fall run rainbows. About a dozen large brookies as well as some very large browns and rainbows made their way to the dam and staged in a shallow, boulder filled glide, no more than 4 feet deep. The standard nymphs, midges and streamers we usually fished wouldn't budge them. The only thing that would provoke them to strike and caught some really nice fish was a bh nymph dubbed in purple with black starling legs and tail. Once we tied on this nymph the fishing became easy. At the time we didn't know exactly why they preferred purple but I think I now have a good idea.

 

post-20827-1239139642_thumb.jpg

 

Unlike human eyes which are most sensitive to greens and yellows, a trout's eye is most sensitive to shades of blue and purple. So a purple fly is to a trout what a green traffic light or a yellow school bus is to our eyes. Look at the color spectrum above. Which colors stand out most to you? Green and yellow especially seem to pop out at us because our eyes are sensitive to those colors. If you were a trout and you were looking at that color spectrum, blue, indigo and violet would pop out as yellow and green does for us. So in my opinion, it's all about contrast. I think they hit purple because it is a color that stands out and is appealing to them.

 

-Cody

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very interesting thread.

Time to start tying some Purple Flies :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

maybe we should have a purple fly swap?

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I did some research for a talk I gave recently on tying flies for Bass Muskie and Pike and got reacquainted with the "prism" effect of water on the visible light spectrum. Bass, Muskie and Pikehave good colour vision except they have poor to no response in the Blue colour band. I didn't research trout or the chars, so I can't say what colours they can see, or what colours they may be colourblind in.

 

One interesting thing I discovered was that fish may be relying more on their rod vision cells ( night or black and white vision) than we suspect they do. I am reminded of the days of black and white TV, where the newscaster in the studio might be wearing some horrid shade of colour in his suit simply because it provided a pleasing shade of grey, when viewed on a black and white TV set. Maybe , trhe colour purple has a similar effect.

 

I suspect that purple , when seen in rod ( B &W) vision appears dark, maybe even black to a fish with little or no Blue response. It wopuld appear dark even with perfect colour vision. As such, it would provide good contrast when viewed up against the sky, and that may account for some of its success as a fly colour, especially if fished deep.

 

 

 

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One of my most successful patterns lately has been a purple Zebra midge tied with copper wire and a copper tungsten bead. Just goofing around one day a guy asked me what I had been catching fish on .. it had been a very procuctive afternoon. I told him a Grape Knee-High .. since I am a major MASH fan and I was also wading in knee deep water .. and the name stuck. :rolleyes:

 

 

Mike

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For those that download Podcast from iTunes, there is a 3 part discussion with Norm Albiston in a Wylie Thomas and Mike Overton podcast where they discuss exactly why you all are talking about with light and color penetration in respect to trouts vision. Itunes has a ton of great free podcast on fly fishing and I highly recomend it to anyone.

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Hahaha evolved http://www.flytyingforum.com/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/hysterical.gif Sorry but I just think evolution is a ridonculous idea http://www.flytyingforum.com/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/cursing.gif

On the subject I have never really fished purple, maybe this season I should turn up the purple on some of my flies http://www.flytyingforum.com/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/dunno.gif

Well while I'm with you that I don't think macro evolution (species to new species) occurs only because we haven't documented it taking place... there really is lots of proof and documentation of inter species (micro evolution) taking place. We see birds with purple, blue and bright green colors, but rarely fish especially in rivers. I believe God created things (that's my belief) but I can totally see how if he created something that is easily seen by predators, that that species might die off due to not being able to pass on their genes before reproducing. That would be micro evolution, or as I like to call it, survival of the fittest. We see this all the time. For instance, there was some research done in a forest that had primarily white bark trees (like birch) and there were two types of moths I. The area, some black, some white. The white ones were more prevelant because they could camaflauge better. The birds would eat the black ones cause they were more easily seen. Then a fire came through and charred all the bark to black, and then the white ones started dieing off, and the black ones became more prevelant because they could camoauge better in their new environment.

 

I hope that makes sense to you. Not sure if you are religious or believe in God. However I do... That doesn't mean I don't have a head on my shoulders. Fully dismissing anything that has to do with science is the main reason why those that are Christian's tend to be thought of as blind followers and non thinkers. The Bible tells us not to be that, to study and show ourselves approved. This means even studying other subjects, and make the conclusion for ourselves along with prayer. So, if there is hard evidence that species can change slightly, then I believe it after researching it. That doesn't mean I believe that species change over time to be completely new species... it's ok to study science, and still believe in God... hope that helps...

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Ummmm Mcfly you do realize this thread is 8 years old right? How did you even dig this up?? LOL ;)

Maybe he was looking up the Eggs Benedict fly and popped up Pope Benedict instead:)

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Ummmm Mcfly you do realize this thread is 8 years old right? How did you even dig this up?? LOL ;)

Reading about the color purple and trout... someone said something about the color purple being seen better so I researched it, found this... I didn't know it was that old. Is there a way to tell?

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