I always treasure the wind's magical way of activating baitfish and walleyes in the shallows. In fact, wind often dictates where I decide to fish.
A few obvious reasons why wind tends to activate walleyes in the shallows. In spring, warmer water attracts all fish preparing to spawn. On warm sunny days, waves crashing into mud or gravel shorelines mix sediment into the water, providing shade for baitfish and walleyes and adsorbs sunlight, warming the water which attracts prespawn fish.
But the upwind side isn't always the best location. While, during the prespawn period, wind blowing from the same direction for consecutive days tends to push cool surface water to the upwind side of the lake. In this scenario, the water on the sheltered side of the lake usually is warmer and may be a better spot to find active walleyes.
After the postspawn, water temperature becomes a less important factor, and the upwind side of lakes tends to host the best fishing opportunities. Wind crashing into the shoreline stirs up the bottom, which attracts baitfish into the shallows to feed. As baitfish continue to congregate and feed, walleyes eventually move in to feed on the baitfish.
Current and current breaks attract baitfish and walleyes. Wind and waves create current, which temporarily changes what's going on in the underwater world. In fact, current created by waves is probably the most overlooked variable for locating walleyes in the shallows.
How much current is being created is difficult to measure and how much the current is causing walleyes to react and possibly relocate is hard to determine. But its safe to assume that bigger waves create more current in the shallows which often draws both baitfish and walleyes to key spots near shore.
Subtle drops near shorelines, even sandy shorelines with scattered boulders, are excellent spots to find walleyes hunkered near a rock, waiting to ambush baitfish passing overhead. One of my favorite spots is a drop-off near shore when the waves are rolling parallel to the break. Walleyes generally face into the current (into the waves) and often stack along the leading edge of the break. When wind conditions are ideal, spots like these produce an amazing number of walleyes.
Wind direction and speed can dictate where to look for walleyes near shore. On any body of water, specific spots near shore are better than others due to wind direction. Study lake maps and identify key spots that could attract walleyes shallow, based on wind direction. Then just trust the wind to work its magic...