Each time it's the same: which coloured lure to choose? More often than not, it comes down to the one that worked last time. It's empirical but it works, well, more or less! Let's have a more rational approach and see if it's possible to have better results.
The first thing you need to take into account is the biological aspect. We see lures through human eyes and, what's more, out of the water. Under the surface and seen by a trout things are different. Trout are trichromate beings, like us, they have 3 sorts of cones located in the back of the retina which enable them to see most of the light spectrum. Compared to us they have far more rods which gives them excellent low light vision. Overall they have an excellent perception of light, contrast and movement.
What can a trout really see?
On this basis, we can say that lure colour, pattern contrast, reflections... are key factors. Your choice must also be guided by the ambient light level, the substrate of the river bed and the colour of the water. Ok great, so how do you make the right choice then? Don't worry, a bit of common sense and deduction will do the trick!
Light, water colour and type of substrate are the key to choosing the right lure.
Fish have a gift: they are chromatophore, which means that they are able to adapt the tone of their colour to blend into their surroundings. That's the first thing to remember when selecting a lure. Choose a lure that is as close as possible to the overall colour of the area in which you aim to fish. For example, Gold Ayu is perfect for sandy rivers whereas, the lighter, Rainbow Trout GB, is more suited to chalk streams. If you don't get any bites, try a more "visible" version like the White Fry or the Copper Minnow and Stripe Gold for darker spots.
Gold Ayu: perfect for sandy rivers
Apart from the White Flash, which is monochromatic, all the other colours in the Gunki Gamera range present more or less contrast in between the back and the belly of the lure. A dark back, a light belly, colour dots, stripes... emphasized by the rolling action are just so many signals that the trout can see. The lower the visibility is (dirty water, low light), the more the lure will need to have an pronounced contrast pattern. In that case, the Strip Gold, Zebra Minnow and Impact Brown Trout are perfect.
Stripe Gold: high colour contrast
Underwater, as soon as the sun shines so do the fish, so simply chose a reflective colour. Trout "see" light far better than we do, the Metallic Minnow or Copper Trout are ideal for these conditions. In lower light conditions or if the trout don't react to the metallic colours, then it's time to try a mat or transparent version. In gin clear waters the Ghost Fry Trout as it lets light though it, is far more realistic than a flashy finish. In slightly tainted conditions, the Silver Head of Mat Fire Tiger are a good option, easy to target yet sufficiently muted as not to scare.
With its' metallic finish, the Copper Trout colour really stands out
Ok time to talk "colour". Same logic as before, you start with the most mimetic one: Ghost Trout Fry for gravel beds, Copper Minnow for sand and silt or even Metallic Minnow for weeds. And if that doesn't work, change from a sliver to a gold base or the reverse. If necessary, the orange belly of the
Copper Trout or the yellow of the Spot Bass can do the trick. Sometimes you will have to play on the natural aggressiveness of the trout by using a fluorescent colour scheme. The Snow Chart is great for clear conditions whereas the Mat Fire Tiger will be better when a darker more contrasted colour is needed. Experience has proved that they react well to yellow-green colours, possibly due to a UV reaction.
The perfect colour to wake sleepy trout: Snow Chart
Choosing the right colour relates to a certain logic. You start with the most homochromatic one possible and then adjust: lighter, darker, more contrasted, transparent, metallic, mat, gold, silver.... The combinations are endless, but with a bit of logic and observation it becomes really easy to make the right choice and find that winning colour!
David Pierron, Fishing Guide in the Est of France