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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 11-11-2012, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nrp5087 View Post
On Thursday evening at my flyfishing club my professor told me that the color blue has been proven to excite the rainbow trout and other species. This was determined from placing a sensor into the optical lobe of the trout and presenting the color blue to the fish. I decided to test it out and tied a blue wolly bugger with red hackle and this is what i caught out of spring creek PA
I have a contrary view to your professor.

First let me state that I have also heard that rainbow trout are sensitive to blue, hence the Patriot fly which is a version of the Royal Wulff with blue floss substituted for the peacock herl. So I have had time to think about the proposition that blue is a good color because the color stimulates the trout brain.

Click the image to open in full size.

However, I hate it when professors say that kind of stuff. It is way more complicated than the response in an occipital lobe of a trout. I think your professor has overstated what actually occurs. Color vision depends on the cones that are in the retina of the trout. Trout have 4 types of cones to our 3.

Humans have red, green and blue cones:

erythrolabe; peak absorption at 565nm; red
chlorolabe; peak absorption at 535nm; green

cyanolabe; peak absorption at 440nm; blue

Trout have 4 sets of cones

Red 600nm
Green 535nm
Blue 440nm
Ultra Violet 355nm

Note that their green and blue cones are IDENTICAL to our green and blue cones. They see into the infra red with a longer wavelength of 600nm and into the UV centered at 355nm. The UV cones disappear as the fish matures so adult trout have exactly the same green and blue vision that we have. Adult trout do NOT see into the UV and are not sensitive to UV.

How does you professor know that trout are more sensitive to blue than humans? I can understand operating and put a sensor on a fish brain. However, have they done that to a human? I doubt it. If not, then he cannot say that the trout is more or less sensitive to blue than humans are.

In addition, even if the color blue has a greater response in the brain that the color red, there is no proof that this has a linear effect in feeding behavior. We could as easily theorize that the color blue is more vibrant and scares the fish.

I could state that the reason blue has a stronger response is that it is a survival benefit that helps them identify predators and that therefore, the color blue scares trout. Do I have evidence for that? No, but if a professor said that in a lecture would it be believable? Yes.

I have heard many things in lectures that have later been shown to be false. I suggest that this is one that needs further evidence. How can further evidence be provided?

There must be chain of evidence to "prove" a theory AND there must be NO OTHER reason that could explain the result. Both tests must be met. In this case, there is no such chain of evidence PLUS there is an alternative explanation. Here we have only the evidence that blue results in a response in the occipital lobe but WHAT DOES THAT MEAN in terms of behavior?

The reason I say this is that I tied up the Patriot fly and found it to be ineffective on rainbows compared to a regular Royal Wulff. The peacock herl was better in my experience.

Is there other phenomena than can explain why fish might respond to blue when they don't to red? Yes, there is. It is because the color blue has a shorter wavelength than the color red and blue light has higher energy so it penetrates deeper into water. The color blue is also more easily reflected back. That is why the ocean looks blue and not red. Water is colorless but deep water looks blue because blue light penetrates deeper and is more easily reflected back to us. So fish can see blue from further off.

So if fish react to blue and your professor says it is because of the occipital lobe response, he needs to disprove that it is because they can see the color blue from further off and in deeper water.

Why is the ocean blue?
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

never said trout were more sensitive to blue than a human.... just said it excited them.... nice post though I like the details never thought about the cones aspect
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

@silver creek,
You said it before I could!

Blue light is more energetic, and attenuates less in water. It also refracts less than red or green light, meaning a more direct path. It is the most energetic portion of the visible spectrum that we and trout can see. On a dark winter day, the fish will see blue further off and brighter than other colors.

I started using blue lagartun wire on tiny nymphs last winter with much success. Similar to the blue poison tungsten. Blue and purple seem to be great attractor colors, but perhaps not the best when working a hole repeatedly over a few hours. I've also had good luck with the UV ice dubbings used as a collar. Just a touch of UV blue to get their attention.

Side note: Ever notice the bluish/green/purple sheen on a Brown trout's cheek? That kind of holographic spot over the gill flap. That's what got me started on putting some UV dub in as a collar.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:36 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
I have a contrary view to your professor.

First let me state that I have also heard that rainbow trout are sensitive to blue, hence the Patriot fly which is a version of the Royal Wulff with blue floss substituted for the peacock herl. So I have had time to think about the proposition that blue is a good color because the color stimulates the trout brain.

Click the image to open in full size.

However, I hate it when professors say that kind of stuff. It is way more complicated than the response in an occipital lobe of a trout. I think your professor has overstated what actually occurs. Color vision depends on the cones that are in the retina of the trout. Trout have 4 types of cones to our 3.

Humans have red, green and blue cones:

erythrolabe; peak absorption at 565nm; red
chlorolabe; peak absorption at 535nm; green

cyanolabe; peak absorption at 440nm; blue

Trout have 4 sets of cones

Red 600nm
Green 535nm
Blue 440nm
Ultra Violet 355nm

Note that their green and blue cones are IDENTICAL to our green and blue cones. They see into the infra red with a longer wavelength of 600nm and into the UV centered at 355nm. The UV cones disappear as the fish matures so adult trout have exactly the same green and blue vision that we have. Adult trout do NOT see into the UV and are not sensitive to UV.

How does you professor know that trout are more sensitive to blue than humans? I can understand operating and put a sensor on a fish brain. However, have they done that to a human? I doubt it. If not, then he cannot say that the trout is more or less sensitive to blue than humans are.

In addition, even if the color blue has a greater response in the brain that the color red, there is no proof that this has a linear effect in feeding behavior. We could as easily theorize that the color blue is more vibrant and scares the fish.

I could state that the reason blue has a stronger response is that it is a survival benefit that helps them identify predators and that therefore, the color blue scares trout. Do I have evidence for that? No, but if a professor said that in a lecture would it be believable? Yes.

I have heard many things in lectures that have later been shown to be false. I suggest that this is one that needs further evidence. How can further evidence be provided?

There must be chain of evidence to "prove" a theory AND there must be NO OTHER reason that could explain the result. Both tests must be met. In this case, there is no such chain of evidence PLUS there is an alternative explanation. Here we have only the evidence that blue results in a response in the occipital lobe but WHAT DOES THAT MEAN in terms of behavior?

The reason I say this is that I tied up the Patriot fly and found it to be ineffective on rainbows compared to a regular Royal Wulff. The peacock herl was better in my experience.

Is there other phenomena than can explain why fish might respond to blue when they don't to red? Yes, there is. It is because the color blue has a shorter wavelength than the color red and blue light has higher energy so it penetrates deeper into water. The color blue is also more easily reflected back. That is why the ocean looks blue and not red. Water is colorless but deep water looks blue because blue light penetrates deeper and is more easily reflected back to us. So fish can see blue from further off.

So if fish react to blue and your professor says it is because of the occipital lobe response, he needs to disprove that it is because they can see the color blue from further off and in deeper water.

Why is the ocean blue?
I remember an experiment reported in Scientific American back in the 1960's that demonstrated that fish can see colors and that they preferred blue foods to foods of other colors. I can't find the reference to this article, but I remember it well. Based on this information, I have always been partial to blue flies and I tie a blue wooly bugger that works well for trout. I also like the Blue Assassin.

If anyone has Scientific American from the 1960's I would love to know the reference for the original article.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by throssing View Post
I remember an experiment reported in Scientific American back in the 1960's that demonstrated that fish can see colors and that they preferred blue foods to foods of other colors. I can't find the reference to this article, but I remember it well.
Well. I hope you're correct because I'm heading out tomorrow to run a bunch of blue copper johns past some steelhead.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

In addition to blue, purple, and pink are the colors du jour of recent popular flies. The Purple Haze and Pink Pookie foam hopper are recent example of fads that will pass.
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Last edited by silver creek; 11-12-2012 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

Some days pink is hot, some days olive is hot, fly fishing has been around now for how many centuries? If there was a magic bullet fly color it would have been figured out by now.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

silver creek,

You said:
Quote:
The UV cones disappear as the fish matures so adult trout have exactly the same green and blue vision that we have. Adult trout do NOT see into the UV and are not sensitive to UV.
Where do you get that information? Most fisheries biologists acknowledge that the dorsal temporal zone of the trout retina still retains UV specific cones after smoltification.

Further, as Inigo Flamarique, who believes that trout lose all but a small percentage of their UV-specific cones at smoltification, wrote:
Quote:
DOES THIS MEAN THAT THE TROUT THAT IS A SMOLT AND OLDER DOES NOT SEE UV LIGHT? NO, EVERY VISUAL PIGMENT ABSORBS IN THE UV REGION OF THE SPECTRUM BUT ITS PEAK ABSORBANCE MAY NOT BE IN THE UV REGION OF THE SPECTRUM (SEE TYPICAL CURVES IN CHENG ET AL. 2006. J COMP NEUROL). BECAUSE THE LENS OF SALMONID FISHES TRANSMITS WAVELENGTHS IN THE RANGE 320-800 NM, ANY WAVELENGTH IN THE UV (320-400 NM) WILL BE SENSED BY THE BLUE, GREEN AND RED VISUAL PIGMENTS, ALBEIT THE SENSITIVITY OF THESE PIGMENTS TO UV PHOTONS WILL BE LESS THAN THAT OF A UV VISUAL PIGMENT. SO THE OVERALL SENSITIVITY OF THE SMOLT TO UV LIGHT (<400 NM) DECREASES DRAMATICALLY BUT IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE ANIMAL CANNOT SEE UV LIGHT. THE MAIN SENSORS OF THE UV LIGHT WILL NOW BE THE BLUE CONES (WHICH HAVE THE PEAK ABSORBANCE-LAMBDA MAX- NEAR THE UV PART OF THE SPECTRUM).
Humans have yellow pigmentation in the lens of their eyes to absorb UV and protect the retina. Trout lack this, so they inevitably receive UV; however, they have stem cells that regenerate any cones "burned out" by UV light.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

I went to a presentation on what and how, trout see. Blue is apparently the colour that they see the best in the darkest water. They of course do not see it as blue at depth but they see it. The course was put on by a fellow who fishes in the Nationa Team here in Canada as well as Internationally. He is pretty successful so I tried to listen. There is a book out I believe called What Trout See I think that I have been meaning to look for.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Does blue excite the trout?

The other day my only trout came on a blue copper john variant...
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