Make summer fishing a breeze with these six expert tactics for blustery days
#1 TROLL THE CHOP
If there’s one windy situation most anglers know, it’s the so-called walleye chop. This occurs when there’s a moderate wind making the surface of the lake choppy, but not quite so rough that whitecaps form. A walleye chop does two things: it stirs up the water, and it scatters the light passing through the surface, which diminishes underwater visibility. This combination quickly starts a feeding cycle. Small aquatic creatures will prey on plankton and debris moving in the water, minnows will feed on those small aquatic creatures and swarms of ol’ marble eyes will move in to gobble up the minnows.
Under such moderately windy conditions, your boat will rock a bit, but you should still be able to control your speed and direction. That makes a walleye chop great for pulling spinner rigs or crankbaits over large stretches of the lake to find hungry walleye.
Prime areas to target include shallow water, underwater structures, shoreline flats and weed beds. Once you find the fish, you can continue trolling back and forth over the productive area, or simply anchor in place and jig vertically.
If the wind dies down and the lake flattens out, the walleye will slow down their feeding frenzy and go deeper in the water column, or become neutral and suspend right on bottom. When that happens, you might need to change fishing locations or use a slower fishing technique, such as live-bait or slip-bobber rigs to keep boating fish.