June 6, 2014 Share

Wind Strategies

Originally Published on May 3, 2012 “From the Dock” NBC Sports

According to the little weather-caster in my phone, it’s 66 here right now with a southeast wind blowing 14 mph, with gusts to 30. It’s one of those days you could get blown off if you are fishing big water like the Great Lakes, and even smaller lakes and rivers could be dangerous in some cases. This is when having wind strategies to fish productively is critical.

Anglers act in a predictable fashion when the wind is blowing…most avoid it! Some even stay home to mow the lawn or paint the garage on days like this, while others look for windbreaks like an island or point to hide behind. A good move? Your call. I don’t know your significant other and the extent of your honey-do list. However, if you are asking the question from a fishing perspective, avoiding the effects of wind usually means you are missing a prime opportunity to put fish in the point.

Consider the effects wind has on a body of water and the creatures that call it home. A big wind will push warm surface water with as it moves across the system. With most species, this is a plus. Also, waves stir up the bottom, some much so in some cases that a distinct mud line forms. This mud creates another edge that fish use when fishing. Muddy water can trigger fish to move shallow. They use the protection of the now-stained water to feed, which makes sense because the area is now loaded with insects and baitfish pushed there…

I could continue.

Years ago, Karen and I were fishing walleyes on famed Leech Lake in northern Minnesota. It was a hot summer day, flat calm, and we were in the process of putting our gear in prep to head home when the wind began to suddenly pick up. Within minutes it was blowing 20-plus, so I told Karen to grab her muskie rod and a big crankbait, then high-tailed it to a rocky, main lake now pounded by 4-foot waves. On her third cast a big spotted muskie grabbed her bait, then jumped from the top of a wave like an orange missile. The hooks didn’t hold, but the memory of that fish is a constant reminder that the wind is a friend in most circumstances.

I use wind in a few keys ways:

1. It allows me to cover a lot of water efficiently and quietly, a nice combination when working shallow weed flats and similar areas.

2. To position fish (usually shallow) or trigger feeding behavior. You must move quickly as this bite doesn’t typically last long.

3. Wind can also help you fish more efficiently by making longer casts, even with light baits.

So let it blow and enjoy fishing that many anglers simply miss.–Steve