Why Sunglasses are Essential When Trout Fishing

There are two main reasons to wear sunglasses when trout fishing. Firstly, they make seeing through the glare significantly easier, which assists greatly in spotting trout or likely lays.

Even more importantly, they protect the eyes, not only from the sun’s rays but also from wayward flies, hooks, and twigs.

For both reasons, sunglasses are an important piece of a trout angler’s kit.

Trout fishing glasses need to provide excellent eye protection.

This is by far the main reason every fly fisherman should be wearing sunglasses. They provide excellent protection to the eye.

Removing a badly cast fly from your ear or chin hurts, but can you imagine how painful a hook in the eye will be? I certainly can so I always wear my glasses to prevent it from happening.

Even if you are the best caster in the world, the person nearby might not be. Always wear glasses when fly fishing and spin fishing around other anglers.

Protective eyewear, which when properly fitted, has been shown to reduce risk of signifcant eye injury by 90% in other sports activities, should be worn by bystanders and active partipants.

Fishing-related ocular trauma. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 139(3), 488–492.

Quality sunglasses also need to protect the eyes from UV, having sunburnt eyes is not fun.

I have suffered from it several times and usually results in seeing pink for the next few days is not much fun. The sun’s rays hit the water and reflect back hitting our eyes. The effect is very similar to snow blindness. Everything becomes a nice shade of pink.

I have gotten it after a day on the water without my glasses. I even once got it when I was kayak fishing on a lake in the middle of winter. Time of year is no protection.

The final protection sunglasses offers is simply from the environment. There are small insects, windblown and general irritants that can hurt our eyes. Secondarily, they protect against stray twigs and branches when pushing through the scrubs to that secret trout pool.

How do eye injuries occur while fishing?

  • Most eye injuries occur when an angler is trying to free a snag. This is how I got a cicada fly in my chin (see photo below)
  • According to a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, 19.54% of sport related oscular (Eye) injuries occur in anglers. Second only to baseball.
  • 24.5% of eye injuries occur in by-standers – keep track of your back casts.
  • Most eye injuries occur from getting caught with hooks, or from blunt force truma from lures / weights.
Hooking yourself is all too easy. This fly embedded itself into my chin.

Sunglasses make sight fishing easier.

Wearing polaroid sunglasses makes spotting trout easier, not only do they cut down the glare, which makes it easier to see through the water. Also via lens color they can increase the contrast which can make spotting trout easier.

This makes trout easier to see, but also makes the floor of the river easier to see. This assists in identifying likely looking lays such as guts or submerged logs / boulders.

They also make wading significantly safer. Less guesswork when taking the next step.

This brings me to the next point, different color lens suit different lighting conditions..

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