Wind – Important Role in Outdoor Experiences

Beafort Scale for estimating Wind Speed

Wind plays an important part in the outdoor experience. It can ruin your fun or make it great.

Weather fronts bring big changes in wind velocity and direction; observant outdoor people time activities to deal with the conditions.

Sudden strong winds generate dangerous waves on big water. Shallow lakes are more dangerous than deep ones, due to sharp breaking waves close together and the possibility of the boat hitting bottom between them. In deep water, a good boatman in a seaworthy craft can ride over the waves that are farther apart.

A day or two after a front has gone usually brings calmer weather and bright skies. That doesn’t mean you can forget about the wind.

On a calm morning a lake a can look like glass but later in the morning or by early in the afternoon the wind can come up and blow hard.

What happened? When the sun heats the land, air warms and starts to move. Later when the sun sets the wind may calm but in some case it gradually reverses and comes from a different direction.

Enjoy calm mornings on big lakes but always be aware that it may be necessary to get off the water before the wind and waves become a problem. This goes double for small boats, inflatable pontoons, and float tubers.

Be aware that if you get caught out there paddling around, you may be in for an exhausting and frustrating workout getting back to shore or worse yet a relatively helpless and possibly dangerous drift across the lake.

In some canyons, thermal winds blow regularly. Cool night air flows down from the mountains at night until some time in mid morning; then it calms and when the valley air warms, it blows back up toward the mountains.

If fly fishermen try to fly cast upstream in the morning, the wind in their face is tough to deal with; but later afternoon breezes make casting upstream almost effortless. Work with the wind or against it but you can’t ignore it.

Nature photographers find that for pictures of flowers, trees, etc., it’s almost impossible to get sharp images when the wind has everything moving. It’s possible to shoot with fast shutter speeds in very bright light but this usually makes for flat looking pictures. The times for best light and less wind movement problems come early and late in the day; plan to capture images then.

One of our Fly Fishing Videos – Catching Big Utah Brown Trout on Dry Flies


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