When it comes to winter panfish, most anglers tend to think of deepwater basins, but in reality, good numbers of panfish can be found in shallow water as well.
Whether the crappies and bluegills are out deep or in shallow, the key to finding them is by identifying good habitat. Identifying good habitat will help save you some search time by condensing the search area.
When searching in shallow water you should always check should green weed beds or weed lines next to deep water. You should also look for any shallow saddle system that separates deep water.
In deep water look for any hard too soft bottom transitions and look for any main lake points that stick into the deep basins.
All these are likely spots that will concentrate panfish.
Utilizing your electronics can really speed up the process of locating fish. Whether it is an Aqua Vu camera or Humminbird Mega 360 both of these units will help you eliminate the search time when locating bluegills and crappies.
Once you locate a school of fish whether it is deep or shallow there are two styles of presentations you should have ready to go. The first is something that’s a little larger and more aggressive. Small spoons or a jig and plastic are great to start with.
Use these aggressive baits to gauge the mood of the fish. If they are super aggressive and in a good feeding mood then you are good to go.
If the fish are in a more neutral mood make the switch over to a small tungsten jig and a euro larvae or wax worm. Work it real slow to entice bites.
Just remember on most good panfish lakes, not every fish is going to be doing the same thing. Sure there are going to be fish in your classic deepwater basins, but a lot of times there are going to be just as many fish up on shallow structures.