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Thread: Streamers and Flies, Exact Color, Is it Critical?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Borger, Texas

    Default Streamers and Flies, Exact Color, Is it Critical?

    Hi All,

    I have been dying some white fox to tie up some warm water streamers. Currently I am working on yellow, chartreuse, orange, red, and pink. Brown, olive, black, and maybe other colors are next in line.

    The question is, are we as fishermen and fly tiers a lot more picky about exact colors than are the fish?

    What brought this on is that I am currently using Kool-Aid for the colors listed, and fox hair soaks up a lot of dye before it is intensively colored. I am having to dye the material two times each to get a bright and intense color.

    One bag of Kool-Aid gives pastel colors if you try to dye too much fur at one time, and sometimes even if you just dye a small amount.

    It began to dawn on me that maybe the pastel colors will work as well, or better, than the more intensely colored material.

    What do you think, will a pastel yellow (or orange, or chartreuse, or any other color for that matter), work as well as the intensely colored ones?

    I am wondering if the stuff we buy is intensely colored because fly tiers, and fly fisherman, expect it, not because the stronger colors work better.

    What do you think, and what is your experience?

    Thanks and regards,

    Last edited by Gandolf; 05-05-2013 at 04:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Rockland County, NY


    in general, the rule of thumb to "matching the hatch" is size, shape, and color, in that order. are there anomalies, only 100% of the times.........LOL. Best wishes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Conyers, Georgia USA


    Gandolf, In my opinion, the exact intensity of the colors matter more to the fisherman than the fish, especially in warm water where it is often stained in color. I believe that color contrast matters more in that it calls attention to the fly which is the first step in catching any fish. Jim Smith

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Kapaa, hawaii
    Blog Entries


    I believe you are correct. All the studies on trout vision, that I have read, indicate that color becomes more important as the trout comes closer to the subject. So, I believe it is more important in sub-surface flies than in dries. This is dependent, to some extent on the design of the "dry" fly. If the fly is an emerger or half emerged fly, I think color becomes more important.

  5. #5


    I think another factor is whether the fish are feeding selectively or feeding opportunistically. With selective feeding fish -- eg, fish feeding on specific emerging insect -- color is probably of some importance. However, I suspect that with streamer fishing you are probably catching more aggressive, opportunistic feeding fish and precise color matching is of less importance.

  6. #6


    I think you can use any color you want in your warm water streamers and still catch fish if you present it properly. Bluegills, crappie, and especially bass are not color selective in most instances (I fished a whole tournament season with EVERY lure a pastel pink-saw no drop off in catch rates, actually the reverse). Your 'pastels' may become the new hot color if you just keep them wet.
    It Just Doesn't Matter....

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