While ponds are standard fare for panfish fans in southern states, many northern anglers write off small waters as winterkill victims that rarely yield more than hordes of stunted bullheads or scads of hardy baitfish.

But as Lindy pro staffer and devout panfish stalker Bob Bohland has discovered this summer, even the smallest of ponds can turn out to be panfish paradise.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time pond-hopping in northwestern Minnesota, and you’d be amazed at how many panfish some of these ponds have in them,” he said.

Indeed, Bohland has so far pulled perch, bluegills and crappies from waters ranging from one to 20 acres in size.

“Some are pretty deep and others have streams running through them, which helps prevent winterkill,” he said. “And some ponds probably do see die-offs, but bounce back with a vengeance, producing a good crop of big panfish for a few seasons before the cycle starts over again.”

Bohland’s pond panfish epiphany came when he noticed a pair of unusual signs while driving down a rural back road.

“As I passed a pond on my way to town I saw a sign next to it that said, ‘No Parking,’” he said. “Then I saw another sign that said, ‘No Fishing From Roadway.’ That got my attention. I found a place to park down the road, walked back and started catching big bluegills. Now I’m hitting every little blue dot on the map.”

At the moment, Bohland says his local panfish are in postspawn mode. “Water temps are warming fast,” he said. “They’re in the 70s now and might jump higher with the warm weather in the forecast.”

Bluegills are hugging deep weed edges and hitting a Lindy Bug ice jig tipped with two waxworms, suspended under a small Thill Mini Shy Bite.

“Fish next to the weedline,” he advised. “The sunfish are using the edge as an ambush point to feed without being eaten.” 

On the crappie front, he’s long-line trolling 1/32-ounce Lindy Watsit Jigs .5 to 1 mph on 4-pound monofilament line. “Some fish are hanging around the weedlines, but most of the crappies are generally scattered over mud flats in deeper water,” he said. “Trolling is a great way to find them.”

Bohland says so far the stable of panfish ponds he’s found has seen little if any fishing pressure, allowing the fish to attain slab proportions. He also notes that similar opportunities exist across Lindy Land, just waiting for adventurous anglers to discover them.

“Don’t be too quick to write your local ponds off as fishless potholes,” he said. “They just might hold the best panfish action around.”