It takes effort and planning but you can have fishing success on a holiday weekend. With most of the area lakes well above normal pool, and the water stained from the recent rains, game fish will be shallow and active.

This bass was caught on Memorial Day a year ago. The recently spawned female was set up in just a couple feet of water in some flooded bushes. When I rolled my spinnerbait by, she crushed it. The water level was high last year as well and the cooler water temps kept the fish shallow. After recovering from the spawn, they’re usually hungry and looking to ambush what they perceive as an easy meal.

Similar conditions are setting up this Memorial Day weekend as well. This fish was caught this week on that very same spinnerbait. Notice the flooded bushes and water color behind me. A slight breeze was blowing into this pocket and within a few casts, I had a few fish in the boat. Chartreuse and other brightly colored baits will be more visible to the fish. Willow leaf and Indiana blades will work best. If the waters really stained, go with Colorado blades to add the extra “thump.”

You’ll want to get on the water early or later in the evening, away from the traditional skiing and tubing time. Plan to fish in the upper ends of the lake away from most pontoons and cruisers. Look for coves with scattered flooded bushes. Too much flooded cover is difficult to pinpoint where the fish may be set up. Lure selection is pretty simple too. Since you’ll be fishing around cover, stay away from anything with a treble hook. Again, a spinnerbait or buzz bait will do the trick. If the fish aren’t aggressively hitting the moving lures, a jig or a soft plastic creature bait pitched into the shady side of the bush will usually draw a strike.

If you’re taking the kids, tie them on a smaller Beetle Spin type of bait. Those will come through the brush without getting hung up as much. Sure, you’ll need to go get their bait out of a tree or a bush from time to time but they may also be rewarded with a size sized bass on their line. The smile on their face will be worth the extra hassle. White bass too may be roaming the flatter windy banks. Again, the kids won’t care as long as they getting bit and 12 inch white will put up a heck of a fight.

So don’t talk yourself out of going fishing this weekend because “all the crazies will be on the water.” Sure, it takes extra effort and planning but holiday weekends can be productive. For me, a day on the water, success or not, is better than hanging around the house. Plus, it’ll get you and kids off those tiny screens. Good luck!