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Wind Blown Walleyes
By Ross Grothe & Bob Riege

Winter is a great time to reflect on the seasons that have past.  Itseems that winter is the longest of all seasons and I sometimes wish my life away hoping that spring will come.  Standing on the hillside overlooking the wind-blown river, I feel the chill of winter in my bones like the nagging ache of persistent flu.  Whitecaps march in uneven rows, blown southward to their deaths on a rocky shore.  The sky is ghost-gray, with scudding low clouds moving rapidly across the frozen, uncaring terrain.  I imagine what it would be like to be on the water at this time fishing some wind blown walleyes.
Walleyes in the wind is not a subject that you read about everyday. Most fishermen probably wonít go out on windy days because they canít control their boats or they canít feel the jig on the bottom.  Walleyes in the wind can and does produce walleyes and sometimes the best walleye fishing comes when it is windy.
Wind also has an effect on light penetration.  The wind creates waves, and waves cut down on light penetration.  Thatís why youíll find walleyes on a shallow reef on a bright day if itís windy.  Take the same reef on a bright, calm day, and frequently it will be devoid of fish. I generally start looking for walleyes on the wind-blown side of the lake, and the wind-blown side of a structure.  Walleyes will usually be most active on the side of the lake or reservoir that the wind is blowing into because thatís where light penetration is reduced.  On a
given piece of structure the same will hold true with baitfish being disorientated because of wave action.  This is a key area, because the predators will congregate at the outside edge and feed on the baitfish.
However, keep in mind that a good walleye structure that is not windblown will still be better that a poor walleye structure that is not windblown.  Walleyes are opportunistic fish and will go where the meal is the easiest to catch. There are some wind directions that I prefer over others.  It seems that north, northeast, and northwest winds can have detrimental effect on fishing success.  They usually indicate a coming change in weather. Winds coming from the northwest are a good indication that a cold front is pushing across your favorite fishing hole.  In the spring and fall this usually turns the fish off and the bite is very slow.
Winds from the south or southwest are frequently good fishing winds.
They bring warmer air, which can be a good deal in the spring and fall. They are commonly known indicators of stable weather conditions. As I mentioned before boat control is always a problem in the wind. With a little practice and a drift sock you can control your boat even on the toughest structure.
Backtrolling downwind is also possible and necessary on some days, when your boat doesn't rock so much in waves.  This reduces the jigging action of your bait, and at times, walleyes are turned off by too much vertical action.  The Tournament Series Drift Control sea anchor acts like a big tail.  You get excellent boat control by going with the wind and easing the throttle in and out of gear. When fishing a windy, unprotected point, one option is to deploy two
sea anchors and drift the tip.  But a better option might be to use only one bag off the bow and backtroll into the wind to cover both the tip and each inside turn.  Be sure to tie the bag on the bow eye, not on a siide cleat. The position where you tie off is critical to control. You should experiment with your positioning of the sea anchor, and how it affects your boat, before launching out into gale force winds.  Along with that, if you fish with a partner, you both should get used to fishing in and around a bag.  If your partner doesn't reel in the bag when you have a tournament winning walleye on, it can be disastrous.  Practice with the bag, as well as with the positioning of the tie off rope on your boat. Consider wind direction, but donít stay home just because the wind is
blowing from the north.  The wind is a tool you should use just like your rod, boat or your depthfinder.  In conjunction with all these tools the wind can be a useful, tool so you can experience more success.

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