Chip Leer witha spring bluegill

Overlooked Spring Panfish Hotspots:

Spring is a great time to get your fish on—as schools of hungry spring panfish swarm into shallow water to feed. Unfortunately, fish-hungry anglers also flock to popular fishing areas, creating “combat” conditions that fray your nerves and spook skittish slabs.

If you want to avoid the mob scene this spring, find overlooked hotspots by following the advice of veteran panfish hunter and Team Northland Pro Chip Leer of Fishing The WildSide.

“You don’t have to hike deep into the backcountry or drive cross-country to find overlooked pockets of panfish because they can be found in just about any lake,” says Leer.

“To find them, look for areas similar to community spots that hold spring panfish,” he continues. “Key considerations include shape, structure, cover, water depth, water temperature, and bottom content. For example, if one dark-bottomed, narrow canal with 55-degree water temps in the afternoon and easy access to deep water holds panfish, it’s a safe bet that a similar waterway a mile down the lake will produce fish, too.”

Leer notes that electronic aids like sonar, GPS chart plotters, and mobile mapping can help you identify fish-holding areas. “However, since this is largely a shallow-water game, your eyes and a good pair of polarized sunglasses can be the best tools to help locate hungry spring panfish,” he adds.

When Leer pinpoints a potential panfish nirvana, he tests the waters by visually scanning for fish while cruising the area with his trolling motor. “Watch for telltale swirls and fish darting away from the boat,” he says. “In water too deep or dark for visual recon, fish a search presentation like Northland Fishing Tackle’s Mimic Minnow Spin. Bobber and drop shot rigs work well, too, especially for slowing down once fish are found.”

Northland Fishing Tackle® — EST. 1975

In 1975, a young Northwoods fishing guide named John Peterson started pouring jigs and tying tackle for his guiding clients in a small remote cabin in northern Minnesota. The lures were innovative, made with high-quality components, and most importantly were catching fish when no other baits were working! The word spread like wildfire, the phone started ringing for Team Northland®… and the Northland Fishing Tackle® brand was in hot demand!

For over 45 years Team Northland® Tackle has been designing, testing, and perfecting an exclusive line of products that catches fish like no other brand on the market today. Manufactured in the heart of Minnesota’s finest fishing waters, Northland® is one of the country’s leading producers of premium quality jigs, live bait rigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and spoons for Panfish, Perch, Walleye, Bass, Trout, Northern Pike, and Muskie.

Northland Fishing Tackle® products are designed by fishermen for the quality-conscious anglers of the new millennium. The entire management team are fishermen who surround themselves with experienced Northwoods fishing guides, veteran charter captains, professional tournament anglers, and the famous Team Northland Pro-Staff! These fishing experts provide us with valuable product feedback and innovative fishing ideas that keep us on the “cutting edge” of the fishing tackle industry.

The Northland Fishing Tackle® Team has some of the best promotional fishermen in the industry such as Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, Jason Mitchell, Brad Hawthorne, Joel Nelson, and Nick Lindner to showcase our innovative shapes, colors, and designs. Our Pro Staff and professionals spend hundreds of days each year on the water and are the backbone of our organization. Our social media channels reach millions of people across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Our content-rich Northland Fishing Tackle website serves as a home base for new product information and an excellent resource for fishing tips, tricks, and hacks.

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