Does wind direction affect fishing?

Yes, wind direction does affect fishing. The direction of the wind can greatly impact the behavior and movement of fish in a body of water. When the wind blows towards the shore, it creates a current that pushes food and insects closer to the shoreline, attracting fish to feed in those areas. On the other hand, when the wind blows away from the shore, it can create a choppy surface and disperse food, making it more challenging for fish to locate and catch prey. Therefore, understanding wind direction is crucial for anglers as it can help them determine the best fishing spots and techniques for a successful fishing trip.

Does wind direction affect fishing?

The significance of wind speed and direction cannot be underestimated when it comes to fishing. As an age-old proverb suggests, when the wind blows from the West, the fish are more likely to bite, whereas when it comes from the East, their interest wanes.

How do fish respond to wind?

The influence of wind on fish is profound. It agitates the water, causing nutrients and sustenance to rise from the depths. Moreover, it oxygenates the water, enabling fish to respire. The waves generated by the wind serve as a shield, safeguarding fish from the harmful effects of solar radiation. Additionally, wind engenders currents in the water, which can propel small schools of fish. In turn, larger fish pursue these smaller ones as a means of sustenance. Furthermore, wind has the capacity to raise the temperature of the water, thereby stimulating the feeding behavior of fish.

What time do you catch the most fish?

Anglers debate endlessly about the most effective bait for catching fish. However, they generally agree that weather plays a crucial role in determining a successful day of fishing. Just like humans, fish are influenced by weather conditions.

Apart from the obvious challenges of fishing in windy or rainy conditions, anglers must also consider the impact of natural light on fish behavior. According to Joe Larscheid, the chief of the DNR fisheries bureau, fish are most active during crepuscular times, which are the periods of dawn and dusk. During these times, fish are feeding, making it the ideal time for fishing. As the light levels in the water decrease, prey fish venture out from their hiding spots to feed, and predators follow suit. Some predators, like walleyes, have even developed special adaptations to thrive in low light conditions. For example, walleyes have a tapetum lucidum, a layer in their eyes that enhances their vision in low light, giving them an advantage over their prey. This is why walleye fishing is most successful during low light conditions.

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How does wind direction affect surf?

On some days, the sea is filled with surfers, while on others, it is empty and the beach is crowded with people longing for a change in conditions. The question arises: how does surfing work and why does wind matter?

The existence of surfing is ultimately dependent on wind. When wind blows across the ocean, it creates ripples that combine and grow larger as they travel across the sea. The energy from the wind then transforms into waves, as the water particles collide and transfer the wind energy. These waves spread out from the originating storm until they dissipate or encounter an obstacle like a continent or island.

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These waves, also known as surface gravity waves, get their name from the restoring force of gravity. As a wind wave passes through the ocean, the motion of an individual water particle becomes circular. These circular motions decrease in size with depth, as the transfer of wind energy decreases further from the surface. This is why it is easier to swim underneath waves at the beach rather than letting them crash into you.

When waves hit a sloping coastline, they start to drag on the bottom. The energy at shallower depths and at the surface moves faster, creating steeper waves. Once the waves reach a critical angle, the top crest of the wave topples forward into the trough in front of it, resulting in whitewater and the crashing sound of breaking waves. This sound primarily comes from air bubbles entrained by the waves.

The rate at which waves break and the shape of the resulting breaking wave depend on the bottom topography. Gradual shallowing of the sea bed leads to gentle spilling waves, while abrupt changes in bathymetry create steeper waves. The ultimate goal of surfing is to ride along just in front or underneath the breaking edge of a wave along the blue face.

The angle at which waves approach a coastline also plays a role. Waves that approach parallel to a straight coastline will break all at once along the beach, making them unsurfable. Waves that approach at an angle or where the beach is curved will break gradually or peel, allowing surfers to ride along the steepening face of the wave. Peeling waves often occur at beaches with a headland at one or both ends, or where there are underwater reefs that break up the monotonous bathymetry of a sandy beach.

While wind and coastal bathymetry control the general shape of breaking waves, local winds also matter for surfing conditions. Onshore winds blowing from the ocean towards the land create a choppy sea surface and encourage waves to break before they become steep. Offshore winds, on the other hand, blowing from the land out to sea, can keep waves from breaking until they become steeper than usual. Surfers prefer steeper waves because they have more power and are more exciting to ride. Offshore winds tend to occur in the morning, while onshore winds prevail in the afternoon.

However, intense offshore winds can make it nearly impossible to ride waves without getting blown off the back or blinded by spray from the breaking wave. The constantly changing conditions of surfing make it one of the most interesting aspects of the sport. The same stretch of beach can have different waves depending on swell direction, size, tide height, and local winds. Other factors, such as kelp or other organisms growing on the ocean floor, can also affect the shape and condition of breaking waves.

By considering the interplay between wind, waves, coastal bathymetry, and local winds, one can gain a deeper appreciation for the art of surfing.

How windy is too windy to surf?

Does wind direction affect fishing?
Finding the right waves is crucial when learning to surf. Understanding the complexity and variety in wave conditions is essential. Surf forecasts can help predict ideal conditions for surfing. It is important to know the different factors that contribute to suitable waves, such as size, power, shape, surface conditions, speed, and direction. Learning to read surf forecasts can greatly improve surfing skills and allow for better wave selection.

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When considering wave size, it is important to understand the different measurements used by surfers. Descriptions like “2 ft” can vary depending on the region. Instead, it is more helpful to describe waves in terms of shoulder height, overhead, or double overhead. For beginners, waves ranging from waist high to head high are generally safe and suitable.

Power refers to how forcefully the waves break and the volume of water involved. Gentle breaking waves are ideal for beginners, as they provide more margin for error and fewer consequences. The shape of a wave can be either hollow or spilling. Hollow waves are more challenging and require more skill to handle, while spilling waves are softer and more suitable for learning.

Surface conditions can be smooth and clean or choppy and bumpy. Clean conditions are preferable for better surfing experiences. Speed refers to how quickly waves transition from a rolling swell to a broken wave. Slower breaking waves are easier for beginners to ride.

Direction refers to whether the wave breaks to the left or right. Having a preference for left or right-breaking waves is common among surfers. Understanding the weather and location variables that create ideal waves is also important. These variables include swell size, direction, period, geography, wind direction and strength, sea floor profile, tides, and the type of surf spot.

Swell is the most crucial factor in creating waves. Ground swells, which come from a long distance away, are generally more powerful and organized. Wind swells, caused by local winds, are less organized and more choppy. Both types can create good waves, but ground swells are usually preferred.

The size and direction of the swell, along with the geography of the coastline, determine the size of the waves at a specific surf spot. Understanding the local spots and their characteristics, such as the direction they face and the surrounding landscape, is important for wave selection. Wind plays a significant role in creating waves, but ideally, minimal wind is preferred for smooth surface conditions.

The profile of the sea floor also affects wave characteristics. Steep profiles result in powerful waves breaking closer to the shore, while gradual profiles create gentler waves suitable for learning. Tides also impact wave conditions, with lower tides creating steeper waves and higher tides producing fuller, spilling waves.

Different types of surf spots, such as beach breaks, point breaks, reef breaks, and river mouths, offer varying wave conditions. Beach breaks are often considered safer for beginners, but reef breaks can also be suitable if they have gentle waves and deep water. River mouths should be approached with caution due to unpredictable and strong currents.

To predict wave conditions, surf forecasts are essential. Websites like provide comprehensive information on swell size, direction, period, wind, and tides. By selecting the nearest surf spot and analyzing the forecast, surfers can make informed decisions about when and where to find good waves.

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In conclusion, understanding the complexity and variety in wave conditions is crucial when learning to surf. By paying attention to factors like size, power, shape, surface conditions, speed, and direction, surfers can select suitable waves for their skill level. Additionally, considering weather and location variables, such as swell, wind, tides, and surf spot characteristics, can further enhance wave selection. Surf forecasts provide valuable information for predicting wave conditions and improving surfing skills.

What is the best and worst wind for fishing?


Focus Questions

Learning Objectives

Preparing to Teach this Lesson

Suggested Activities

Further Resources


Standards and Benchmarks

Lesson Plans

Student Work



Sayings: Wind
from the West

Wind from the West, fish bite the best.
Wind from the East, fish bite the least.
Wind from the North, do not go forth.
Wind from the South blows bait in their mouth.


Suick’s Muskie Thriller,
made by Frank Suick of Antigo, WI, on display
at the Northland Fishing Museum in Osseo, WI.

Photo by Ruth Olson



How does wind direction affect surf?

Wind direction plays a crucial role in determining the quality of surf conditions. Different wind directions can create varying wave patterns, affecting the overall surfing experience. Here are a few key points to consider:

1. Offshore Wind: Offshore winds blow from the land towards the ocean, creating clean and organized waves. These winds help to hold the wave faces up, resulting in longer rides and better surfing conditions.

2. Onshore Wind: Onshore winds blow from the ocean towards the land, causing the waves to break prematurely and lose their shape. This can make surfing challenging and less enjoyable.

3. Cross-Shore Wind: Cross-shore winds blow parallel to the shoreline. The impact of cross-shore winds on surf conditions depends on their strength and angle. In some cases, they can enhance the wave quality, while in others, they may create choppy and messy waves.

4. Wind Strength: The strength of the wind also plays a significant role. Strong winds can create larger and more powerful waves, which can be ideal for experienced surfers. However, excessively strong winds can make the waves too chaotic and dangerous for surfing.

How windy is too windy to surf?

The answer to this question depends on various factors, including the surfer’s skill level, wave size, and local conditions. Generally, surfers tend to avoid extremely windy conditions as they can make it difficult to paddle out, catch waves, and maintain control. As a rule of thumb, if the wind speed exceeds 20-25 knots, it is considered too windy for most surfers.

In conclusion, wind direction and strength have a significant impact on surf conditions. Offshore winds are generally preferred as they create clean and organized waves, while onshore winds can make surfing challenging. Cross-shore winds can have varying effects depending on their angle and strength. It is important for surfers to consider these factors and assess local conditions before heading out to catch some waves.

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