Having gear ready to go and keeping things simple are keys to capitalizing on opportunities to head for the lake. Unfortunately, even when you're geared up, getting on the water isn't always easy.
In my home state of Minnesota, we saw a very late ice-out in May, and many areas have experienced heavy rains—especially on the weekends. A number of lakes are under no-wake restrictions, some tournaments have been cancelled, and even accessing the public ramps has been a challenge in some areas due to high water. At a favorite lake I've fished for more than 40 years, for example, water levels rose to the point you need to drive through knee-high water to get to the ramp.
Good news is, water levels and fishing patterns have stabilized in many lakes. With a little patience, you can find everything from bass, pike, panfish and walleyes in or close to their normal haunts. All of which is good news, because the sweet patterns of summer will slip by before you know it.