The wind-drift retrieve uses the motion of a lake’s surface ripples and waves to vertically move the fly. Additionally, a boat’s or float tube’s wind-drift advances the fly horizontally. A 90 degree cast into the wind allows both you and the fly to horizontally move at about the same rate. A floating line is used because the wave action is limited only to the surface and the depths are sheltered from this action. You simply wind-drift through the desirable locations. Your motion is silent and concealed because the rippled surface allows a quiet, close approach that doesn’t alarm the fish. A sinking line is used to troll through an area by wind-drift. The fly can be given added motions by lifting and dropping the rod; also, the wave action affords it some natural-like animation.
An alternate method is to strip and release line for the stop and go motion. It is imperative to select the optimal sinking density line to suspend your offering just over the bottom.
Both methods are great searching techniques. When fish are found, return to their location and concentrate your efforts there. Dry flies drifted through foam lines are especially effective. Callibaetis spinners are effectively fished by wind-drift.