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Does wind direction affect how or where you fish?

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BoatFever
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1/25/10 3:13 PM CST
(This question is open-water related, not ice fishing)

Just curious if anyone considers wind direction when they're headed out to the lake? Does it affect how or where on the lake you fish?

So, far I never really have, but in my winter fishing research and reading, I've seen several instances of people saying to fish the "windy side" of the lake. I may consider wind direction if it's really windy and need to seek shelter because my anchor won't hold.

Also, if the wind has been from the South for several days and suddenly switches to the East on the day you are headed out, for example, does it affect your tactics?

Thanks,

- BF

1234567890
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1/25/10 10:31 PM CST
last winter I did a ton of ice fishing and i tested the wind theory. I found that the wind direction did not matter.

JUSTIN HEIDER
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1/25/10 10:23 PM CST
I agree with what everybody has been saying so far. I feel especially attached to this topic because I spend a huge percentage of my time on the Winnebago system. On this system in particular wind has almost everything to do with where the fish are and how we fish for them.

First off I find that fish, especially walleyes, bite better overall when theres a breeze. As a general rule of thumb its usually better to troll the mud flats for roaming schools when its calm and better to cast the shallow rock areas of the lake on a windy day.

The waves crashing against the shallow rocks of either a reef or a shoreline work up all the plankton that are hidden in the rocks which attracts the baitfish and it doesn't take long for the game fish to move in after them. On a huge lake like Winnebago I don't believe that one or two days of wind is enough to move many fish from one side of the lake to the other.

For example... lets say there has been a hard west wind blowing for two days, it doesn't mean that all the fish raced over to the east shore. It means that if there were some fish in the area they're probably sliding up into the shallows along shore to feed. However any one of the rock piles on the west side of the lake probably has just as good of a bite going on it assuming its far enough away from shore to allow sufficient wave action. So just because the wind is out of the west does not mean the fish are all on the east side. I belive it has more to do with wave action than a "pushing" of the fish. It is also important to note that the longer the wind blows hard out of one direction the more fish will find there way over to that side of the lake.

You bring up an excellent question in reference to what the wind has been doing the past few days. The answer is the fish don't quickly swim across the lake because the wind shifted. If there was a hard south wind for a few days that suddenly shifted to the west I would head straight for the north shore that day.

I hope this helps you a little, it is a very tough topic to understand completely because there are so many variables and many different opinions on the topic.

The picture is of a 29"er we captured in 40+ mph winds, this fish was one of 13 we caught in under 20 minutes, that day really drove home to me how good the bite can be in strong wind.

Flytrap
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1/25/10 10:16 PM CST
Well, if its real windy I leave the flyrod home. Then I fish teh windy side to see if the fish are biting, when that fails I just go somewhere where I'm out of the wind.

fishermandan
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1/25/10 9:32 PM CST
Here's the conclusion that I've come to: wind is more of a factor in bodies of water with free-roaming baitfish such as shad. Wind is going to push the nutrient-rich surface water to the windblown shoreline, and the increased zooplankton may bring in shad or other baitfish. In lakes where bluegills or other panfish are the main forage, I don't think that they move much with the wind, they would rather just hang out near certain weedbeds. A good breeze does break up the surface and fish can be a bit more active, so that may explain why windblown areas are productive.

VahnTitrio
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1/25/10 5:52 PM CST
Depends on the species you are fishing. I think Walleye's move the most with the wind, whereas bass probably move the least. Also depends on the baitfish in the lake I suppose. Certain lakes will have wind as a much larger factor than others. For the species I pick I fish the best looking structure regardless of wind direction. If it is really windy, I will stick to the calm side spots as the windy side can be difficult to fish with out current set-up.

BugleTrout
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1/25/10 5:33 PM CST
I agree. It sucks in spring and fall to be in the windy side of the lake but the wind does drive baitfish shallow on the wind swept shorelines. I finally figured that out a few years ago and tried it instead of heading into the nice calm bays only to get skunked.

Make sure you have a good anchor or a motor that reliably starts every time. I've seen guys get into trouble on really windy days getting blown into rocks. Not good for the underside of your rig.

fishermandan
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1/25/10 5:33 PM CST
Yep, it sure does, especially when there are 50mph straight-line winds - see picture. We almost sunk a 17' boat that day on Mendota a few years ago.

lvtofish
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1/25/10 4:32 PM CST
find the wind swept shore and you will find fish.

Nyeguy
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1/25/10 3:54 PM CST
I have heard from guys that they love to fish on windy days because they claim that the wind can drive baitfish to one area of the lake. This then attracts the other fish. Don't know how true it is, but it does make sense to a point.

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