Lindy Land panfish fans know that spring is a time of opportunity. Indeed, fast fishing awaits when sunfish and crappies move into shallow water.

However, a common misconception persists about the motivating factor behind the spring migration. And if you’re not careful, it could cost you fish.

Many anglers believe the spring panfish fling is part of a spawning run, similar to that of walleyes, northern pike and other early spring spawners.

In truth, the first waves of sunfish and crappies aren’t interested in furthering their respective species. They’re just hungry.

In Minnesota, for example, DNR biologists report most black and white crappies don’t spawn until May and June, when water temperatures are in the mid-60s. Likewise, bluegills typically begin spawning in late May, and may continue through much of the summer if conditions allow, in water temps from 67 to 80 degrees.

Which means the fish we’re seeing storm the beaches now are more likely to show up in fast-warming areas offering an underwater buffet than they are in classic spawning habitat, which features firmer bottoms, often located in or around bulrush beds, woody cover or clumps of vegetation.

As you prepare for this weekend’s fishing adventures (or this evening’s, if you’re lucky), think about areas on the lake you’ll be fishing that offer water warmer than anywhere else.

Sheltered, dark-bottomed bays are classic hotspots. But boat canals, drainage ditches, and small ponds connected to the main lake by a creek or ditch can be even better.

And within each hotspot, certain features such as wooden pilings, a brush pile, or small depression in an otherwise flat bottom can be a focal point of fish activity. In areas rimmed with floating bogs, try fishing right next to the bog, to tempt panfish lurking in the shade below.

Presentational options abound, but it’s hard to beat a simple and easy-to-fish setup like a Lindy Little Nipper suspended beneath a small Thill float. Cast to likely areas and move the bobber by pulling it toward you with the rodtip, then let the jig pendulum forward and settle before moving it again.