How Windy Is Too Windy for Kayak Fishing

Any wind over ten miles-per-hour is too windy for kayaking in general.

For fishing, you want to fish from your Kayak when the wind is less than four miles-per-hour.

Can you fish when the wind is over four MPH? You could. But a better question is “should you.”

You will need to manage your fishing rod and if your Kayak if equipped with a rod holder than can be doable.

You also need to be able to control your kayak and keep it safe.

When the wind picks up on lakes or body’s of water, it causes the water to become choppy.

Kayaks can overturn if caught in swells.

For that reason, you fish in kayaks when the water is calm and the wind is less than four MPH.

Pro fisherman fishing in light wind


Knots Vs. MPH

One MPH is equal to 0.87 knots.

When we talk about wind speed on water it may be presented in Miles Per Hour or Knots.

A wind speed of four Miles Per Hour is about 3.5 knots.

Ideally you want to fish from a kayak when the wind is still.

You want to avoid fishing from a kayak if the wind is greater than 3.5 knots or four MPH.

Fisherman navigating windy ocean water with Kayak

People often ask:

  • Is 10 mph wind too much for kayak? Ten MPH is the most when you would ever want to kayak in. For fishing, you would never want to fish from a Kayak in winds that are 10 MPH or stronger.
  • Is 15 mph wind strong for kayak fishing? Most definitely Keep fishing from your kayak to calm days with little wind or on windy days when the wind is less than four MPH.

Even fishing from shore 10-15 MPH winds are a headache.

Personally, fishing in a constant wind of ten MPH or greater is not very fun.

The drag of wind on the line keeps the line moving.

Casting is more difficult and people try to compensate by adding more weight, which creates its own set of problems.

The exception to fishing in the wind is when there is a special migration of fish.

For example, fishing for king salmon on a windy day is somewhat tolerable if you are catching big fish.

If you are just sitting there hoping for a bite, the wind is not your friend.

General Rules: How Much Wind Is Too Much Wind for Kayak Fishing?

  • Anytime wind speed is more than four MPH.
  • Anytime the water becomes choppy, even if you are in a sheltered cove.
  • Most times when a change in weather is expected

Is It Bad to Fish when It’s Windy?

You can catch fish in the wind. Though there can be some issues.

Mostly, it is uncomfortable for the angler.

If you have good gear, such as a quality windbreaker, hat, and eye protection, you can manage to fish in the wind.

If you are in a boat or a kayak, fishing is the wind is not a good option.

You spend too much time managing the boat than fishing.

Kayaks demand even more management to keep yourself safe.

Little changes in the water can spell disaster for kayakers.

Is a Windy Day Good for Fishing?

A windy day can be a good day to fish. The fish, after all, are not that impacted by the wind.

If you adjust for the wind you can have amazing catches during windy weather.

Windy conditions cause the water to:

  • Become choppy which makes it difficult for fish to see food or lures on the surface or the water.
  • Become Murky which makes it difficult for fish to see food in the water column.
  • Become more volatile under the surface.

A good angler can read the water.

You can look at the surface of the water and see the impact that wind can have.

You can see the chop, the murky conditions, and sometimes you can see that the current may change slightly due to the wind.

These visuals are present in freshwater and saltwater fishing, though you get more line drag rather than current shift in saltwater.

You would not want to fish in a kayak if you can visibly see the water is choppy.

However, after a storm and when the water is murky and the wind is mild you can fish.

How to Overcome the Wind when Fishing

Fishing Is a Term that Implies a Few Types of Approaches.

First, you can fish in the general sense – Casting your line out to see what might bite.

You can also target fish – setting up your rod, reel, and tackle to attract a specific range of fish or a single species.

For example, you can fish for small fish – bluegill, perch, etc.

It doesn’t matter the fish, because they are all similar.

In contrast, you can go salmon fishing or fishing for northern pike.

The set-up that you rig is going to be specific to a single type of fish.

How Do You Overcome Fishing in Choppy Water?

If the water is choppy you want to move your lure, fly, or bait either to the bottom or away from the surface.

Fish have a harder time seeing food when the water is choppy.

They also tend to switch from hunting by sight to hunting by smell or vibration.

You can improve the chances of finding fish in choppy water by:

  • Using smelly baits – such as bait nets or cut bait using oily fish – oil floats on water, but fish will be able to track it back to your hook.
  • Use Lipless Crankbaits or Rattle bait lures – These are thin lures often with a pair of treble hooks, and they wobble as you reel them in. Some have BB’s in them that cause the lure to make a rattle vibration which allows visual hunters to “feel” the lure rather than see it.

How Do you Overcome Fishing in Murky Water?

Whether you are fishing from shore, a boat, or a kayak, murky water can be challenging.

There are a few tricks that can help you be more successful fishing when the water is murky due to wind or rain.

As the surface of the water becomes more active – small whitecaps or waves – it can cause the silt at the bottom of the water column to stir, especially in shallow water.

If there has been rain, the tributaries and inlets will usually turn murky and then feed all of that sediment into a lake or even into the ocean. You can:

  • Switch your lures or flies to brightly colored options – chartreuse, reds, oranges, etc – are all colors that fish may see better in murky water. Brightly colored lures or flies help to attract visual hunters like largemouth bass and trout.
  • Add stinky baits to your hook. Oily cut bait or netted bait balls work well. If you are in freshwater, consider netted bait balls with corn kernels or roe. If you are fishing in saltwater, consider cut bait using herring or sardines.
  • Use rattle baits or lures that make a noise as you reel them in. Lipless Crankbaits are an example.

Can you Kayak fish in the wind?

Yes, but the wind should be mild – less than 3.5 knots or 4 MPH.

Wind speeds that are heavier than that are dangerous for kayakers who also want to fish.