Wind can either be an angler’s best friend or fiercest foe, depending on how hard it is blowing. Few are motivated enough to get on the water when large waves are crashing into shore, but is a 15 MPH wind too strong to fish in?
Most of the time a 15 MPH wind is perfect to fish in. It is just enough to spur the feeding behaviors of fish, while not strong enough to turn fishing into a chore. Ultimately this depends on what you are fishing for and how you are going about it.
Let’s take a closer look at some situations when a 15 MPH wind can be advantageous, and when it can hamper your ability to catch your limit.
What Does A 15 MPH Wind Look Like?
Depending on where you are fishing you might not have access to technology that tells you what the current wind speed is.
Knowing what the wind does to the water’s surface can give you a rough idea of how hard the wind is blowing that day.
If the surface of the water is easy to see through with very few ripples you can bet that the wind is under 15 MPH while whitecaps generally start to form around the 20 MPH mark.
How A 15 MPH Wind Affects Fish
A 15 MPH wind will make the water choppy which triggers a chain reaction of events below the surface that can increase your chances of catching more and bigger fish.
The main things to remember about how a steady wind can affect fish are:
- Chop creates cover – wind creates waves that act as a visual barrier on the surface from flying predators as well as obscures the amount of light that penetrates
- Wind churns sediment – suspended sediment causes baitfish to cast shadows that are easily seen from down below where predatory fish tend to hang out
- Current moves bait – waves will push plankton toward shore, with baitfish and larger predators sure to follow
- Waves create more fish food – waves crash into shore pulling in snacks like frogs, crawdads, and insects that fish are known to love
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When Are 15 MPH Winds Good?
A 15 MPH wind is enough to keep the flies and mosquitos at bay, without affecting the most popular types of fishing.
15 MPH winds are great when trolling for species like walleye, salmon, trout, or bass.
The most important part of trolling is the ability to maintain a slow speed over a specific area where the fish are hiding.
A 15 MPH wind is just enough to stir up the bait fish and get these predators biting without pushing your boat all over the lake.
Casting Heavier Tackle
If casting for fish like northern, muskie, bass, or salmon is your game, then you need not fear a 15 MPH wind.
Using heavier lures for these larger species will cut right through a nice breeze without curtailing the distance and accuracy of your casts.
Casting a larger lure with the wind is a great way to maximize your casting distance.
A 15 MPH wind is ideal when using drift fishing for catfish, perch, and crappie.
It creates just enough movement to carry your rig over a large area without having to reel in and recast every couple of minutes.
Ideally, you will want to have the wind blowing from your side to avoid the bait blowing into shore or becoming stationary after your line tightens.
When Are 15 MPH Winds Too Much?
Even though a 15 MPH wind is helpful in most situations, there are still a few that will leave anglers with a headache as they head back to the dock.
Casting Lightweight Tackle
The only time a 15 MPH wind will ruin your day of fishing, is when you are trying to cast very light bait or lures.
Flyfishing for most medium to small species like stocked trout becomes much harder in a 15 MPH wind. Constantly casting flies and other popular baits with this much wind makes it next to impossible to cast accurately.
Even your favorite spinning rod or baitcaster will have trouble in this amount of wind if you are fishing for small species.
Panfish and perch lures are generally too small to consistently cast during a 15 MPH wind. Using a lure that is heavy enough to combat this much wind will generally be too large to attract these small fish.
The caveat to these situations depends on the direction of the wind. It is possible to get away with these techniques with the wind at your back.
Fishing like this won’t hinder the accuracy or distance of your casts as much as head-on or crosswinds.
When planning your next outing make sure to check how hard the wind will be blowing. This can save you the aggravation of fighting the wind on a blustery day or at least let you modify how and what you are fishing for.
You can’t change the weather, but you can change your techniques to maximize the amount of fun you will have the next time you hit the water.