Cool weather in the forecast bodes well for Lindy Land ice fishing fans anxious to get the season started. As water and air temps plummet, savvy anglers know it’s high time to make plans for your first panfish forays of the winter.

 If you’re in a knot about where to fish first, consider the advice of veteran guide and stalwart Lindy pro-staffer Jeff Sundin. The hard-fishing Northwoods ace says small, shallow, “first-freeze” lakes can be hotspots for broad-shouldered early ice bluegills.

 His favorite fisheries are lightly fished waters that fly under the radar of the rest of the bucket brigade. Lakes with small, hard-to-access public landings are good bets, while remote waters you have to hoof it to reach can be even better.

 Besides freezing fast, small lakes are easy to quickly break down on the hunt for fish. When a lack of snow helps weedbeds flourish, Sundin punches holes along promising edges on seven to 12 feet of water.

 His first strike is a red Lindy Frostee Jigging Spoon tipped with waxworms—at least one per time, with one sideways across the treble. He pounds the spoon two to three feet off bottom to attract the attention of nearby panfish.

 “Even if the sunfish aren’t aggressive enough to hit the spoon, they’ll typically move in to check it out,” he explains.

 When incoming bluegills look but don’t bite, Sundin downsizes to a Lindy Toad or Bug and tones down the presentation.

 Since small, fertile lakes can also hold slab crappies and portly perch, Sundin advises packing a tackle box well stocked with an assortment of weapons. Likewise, a selection of different live baits and artificial trailers is also a plus.

 “Having a variety of jigs, spoons and tippings helps you improvise as needed,” he says.

 For example, a crappie minnow skin-hooked on a size 4 or 6 Lindy Frostee Jig can trigger lights-out crappie action when skittish slabs hesitate to hit other presentations.

Armed with such strategies, it’s possible to enjoy great ice fishing action right out of the gate, so don’t put off planning your attacks and gearing up for first-ice success.