I know there are good hatches right now on the rivers and bait fisherman are out in the boats again going after walleye, but it is also a great time to go panfish fishing. Many people often overlook panfish once the seasons for game fish have opened, but yet they probably call tell you a bunch of lakes that have good fishing for panfish.
Panfish can be readily caught on a fly rod and make for a fun time on the water. If you are new to fly fishing, sunfish and crappies make an excellent target to work on your cast all while still actually being catchable for a beginner. I have gone out with quite a few other friends who were new to fly fishing to help them catch some fish on a fly rod. Often the casts are poor and before they realize it a sunfish has come up and taken the tiny popper, or some other fly. A fish on the line always make fishing more fun.
When it comes to fishing rods, I would recommend something between a 3-weight to a 6-weight rod and line. Reels will only be used for holding the line, as the hooked fish are not going to run and get into your backing. Panfish usually do not get spooked from the line so a five to seven foot light leader works great.
I like fishing for panfish using a popper, as I find surface fishing more fun. Other small nymphs, dry flies, terrestrials and streamers also work well. As for poppers a small one about the size of a pencil eraser is my favorite. White, yellow, green and black are my favorite colors. I usually bring a good variety some with rubber legs some without. That way I can see if one pattern is working better than another. Remember to pinch the barb as it will make removing the hook a lot easier.
Both crappie and sunfish will be available in shallow water for probably the next week or so, but then the crappies will be done spawning leaving only sunfish shallow. It is a great time to go and be out on the water.