Sea Life

What Colors Can Fish See?

What Colors Can Fish See

Are you trying to catch a fish but are not able to do so? It is probably because of using the wrong colors. If you think fish can not see colors then you are wrong. They can surely see colors, and using the right ones help catch them quite easily. There might be some fish that are unable to see colors, but for that, you need to know the basis behind the spectrum of light visible to them and how the right colors can help you get a fish. 

If you want to catch a fish, you should understand your target and what color can lure it easily. So, let us unlock the mystery behind the vision of fish: what colors fish can see and what colors they can not see. 

Can Fish See Colors?

Yes, fish can see colors just like humans and animals. The eyes of fish are similar to those of humans, but it is developed to work and see in water. Fish have cones and rods similar to humans to detect and distinguish colors. Their cornea, iris, and pupil are covered with a protective layer that helps them see underwater. 

Humans have 3 cones and they can see three colors whereas some fish species have 3 or more cone cells while some species have no cone cells. The fish that stay near the surface and get more light due to which all colors are visible have double cone cells. 

What Colors Can Fish See?

In general, fish can see a wide range of colors but the exact colors that fish can see depend on the cone cells they have, their species, their habitat, and how deep in water they live. 

Some species of fish like goldfish, zebrafish, etc are tetrachromatic and can see all four colors i.e. ultraviolet light, blue, green, and red. It means their rods and cones are sensitive to these colors and they can see every variation of color. 

There are some fish such as cichlids that are trichromatic like humans and their cones and rods can differentiate between the three colors, blue, green, and red. These trichromatic species can not perceive ultraviolet colors like humans. 

A few fish are dichromatic and can differentiate only the shades of red. Deepwater living creatures like whales and sharks can not see colors and only have gray vision. 

The Vision of Fish Underwater

The fish is designed in a way that it can see in the water. The fish has eyes on the sides giving them a wide angle and ability to see in the water. Moreover, there’s also a protective layer of tissues called tapetum lucidum at the back of their eyes protecting the cornea, iris, and pupil that reflects light and helps them have better vision underwater in less light. 

How To Lure A Fish? 

The best way to lure a fish is to use the right shape, the right size, and the right color of the fishing line and net. Most of the fishing lines are made in a way that is difficult for the fish’s eye to see. Every color will get lighter and fade away as the line goes down deeper in the water. 

When you try to lure a fish, keep in mind these few things:

1: Up to 20 Feet In Water

When you go in the water, warm colors like orange and red stay visible and vibrant up to 20 feet. So if your line goes to 20 feet, it will be visible to the fish eye but when you go deeper, their visibility starts decreasing. 

2: 20-45 Feet In Water

When you go more down the next color to fade away is orange. You can also use the orange line if you go deeper and want to stay incognito. 

3: 50-75 Feet In Water

Going deeper in water about 50-75 feet, the yellow color starts to fade and disappear from the vision of the fish eye. 

4: 100 feet and Deeper

The 2 colors that stay visible until there is light penetrating the water are blue and green lures. So, if you are not likely to go this deeper, using blue and green lures is the best catch. 


Some fish are tetrachromatic and can see 4 colors like ultraviolet light, blue, green, and red. Some species of fish are trichromatic like humans and can see 3 colors like blue, green, and red, and their variations. A few fish are dichromatic and can see the shades of red only. Deepwater living creatures like whales and sharks can not see colors and only have gray vision. 

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