West Lake Park

When the wind is blowing into a rip-rap area along a dam, such as seen here on Railroad Lake in West Lake Park, it often produces some great fishing.

Dan Galusha photo

Wind can drive an angler crazy when casting or controlling a boat. It can also be an angler’s best friend if they allow it to point to the fish, and use the proper techniques.

Whether fishing from shore or from a boat, fish the shores in to which the wind is blowing. The wind works in spring, summer and fall. In the spring, it warms the water and stirs up food; in the summer it provide oxygen, cools the water, and stirs up food; in the fall it mixes the water to keep a stable temperature, and stirs up food. As can be seen there are two main elements – a comfortable atmosphere and food. Just like a human, the fish would prefer the most comfortable place available that has food.

Boat control can be tricky, but it is the best way to fish a shore, which is being wind blown. Casting into the shore is much easier and productive. However, shore anglers can do well by casting parallel to the shore, or if it is a cove or corner area, casting from the shore that is perpendicular to the windy bank.

For most any species, a float can be used with live bait, or a jig. The float rig is allowed to drift toward the windy shore, and being held back slightly from touching the bank. Let the wind do the jigging, and watch the float for any irregular movement, or a quick disappearance beneath the surface.

I’ve caught many species with lures while fishing the windy banks. They have included bass, crappie, bluegill, white bass, hybrid stripers, walleye, catfish, carp and dogfish. In conditions like these, every species can be an aggressive feeder.

My favorite lures to start are the heavier and faster type, like the Rat-L-Trap and Blitz Blade, mainly in shad or bluegill colors. Spinnerbaits fall in this category as well, but here I like to stay with anything from a Stanley 1/8-ounce Baby Wedge, to a Vibra Shaft 1/2-ounce double willow leaf. Vibration and flash is the key with which to start.

From this point, I go with jigs. For bass, it would be a black/blue 1/8 to 1/2-ounce Blitz Spyder jig with a black twin-tail trailer. This can be used with a swimming technique, which has proven very productive. If some sort of cover is encountered than a cast or two should be made where the lure can be crawled over and through it.

Plastic worms and tubes are next. Worms can be alternated from straight tails to ripple tails until the style preferred is found. Most of the time in these situations the worm seems to work best when crawled on the bottom, and coming from the shore. Most strikes are within the first few feet, or if there is a sharp drop off out from the shore the fish may be holding at that point waiting for anything being stirred up from shore.

Minnow type baits are a big advantage when fishing these areas. I like fishing the Natural Forage Baits Jerk Shad on a Daiichi Copperhead Bleeding bait hook, swimming it along with a slow retrieve rather than the normal jerk/twitch, much like slow rolling a spinnerbait, especially when using it with the Butt Dragger style of the hook. Power Minnows in the 2 and 3 inch sizes, and NFB 4-inch Lil Killer work well using them on an 1/8 to 3/16 ounce B-Fish-N H2O jig head, and fished with a quick jerk, bounce or “finger jigging” technique. The 3 and 4 inch Power Minnow or Lil Killer (sometimes shortened to 2.5”) also works well as a trailer on a white Blitz Finesse Spyder jig, and fished with a swimming or “finger jigging” action.

Fishing the windy banks may not be the 100 percent cure-all to finding fish, but it sure is a great starting point. Like every other angler, I hate fighting the problems of wind, but it beats being “zeroed out.”

When I’m talking about windy conditions, I’m meaning a normal wind. If it is too windy to be safe, and heavy storms are in the area, get off the water. No fish is worth a person’s life, no matter how good the fish are hitting.

Remember, “go with the wind” and don’t be “gone with the wind.” Fish a wind properly, and you can find a great fishing pattern.

Dan Galusha caught his first solo fish at the age of 3, started his fishing career in 1973 and in 2012 was inducted as a Legendary Communicator in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.