Camping is not the only peak activity for the Memorial Day weekend, fishing will also be near it peak for a number of different species that will be aggressive and close to shore.
Many Iowa State Parks are located on lakes and late May can be an excellent time to catch bluegills, crappies, bass, walleyes, channel catfish and bullheads. Campers should remember to pack their fishing tackle and enjoy some time by the water.
"Spring it the number one time of year to catch fish," said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau.
"Panfish will be close to shore as they prepare to spawn. They will be aggressive and not as wary as they are during other times of the year, so finesse is not as important as it is later in the summer. Fishing can be really good all day long," he said.
Larscheid said fishing in May and June can offer kids or novice anglers the action they need to keep their attention.
"Remember to keep the hooks, bobbers and bait small because panfish have small mouths," he said.
"It's not hard to get kids outside and when the fishing is good, kids will stay interested and have fun. Once the interest in fishing is gone, just let them play. When fishing with kids, the goal is not to fill a bucket, but to give them your time and a fun experience," Larscheid said.
"Parents can make the trip more memorable by bringing snacks, taking photos and celebrating each fish as if it were a record breaker. It is up to parents to help pass along this Iowa tradition," he said.
The Iowa DNR has a first fish program that commemorates a person's first catch with a certificate suitable for framing. "We want to celebrate fishing and bring more people to this high quality, family-friendly activity," Larscheid said.
There are fishing tips, the latest reports, lake maps and more on the DNR's website http://fishing.iowadnr.gov