right now the pannies are in very shallow water. i'm putting on my waders and going out about hip deep and casting down the shore line and towards it. the big gills are tight to shore in any cover you can find. if they are out from shore they are about the 1st. break out. for gills wax worms are best and for crappie small minnows. the crappie right now are moving in to the shallows and you will find them around any wood, reeds or rocks that will hold the heat at nite, in about 3-8ft. of water.
but once the spawning starts you can find the fish on the break line that forms at the 8-12' mark. drag a small jig or favorate bait along the bottom, works for me. but don't forget the fly rod and fly's at this time of year also. because some of the biggest gills will lay right on the surface with their backs out of the water just before and after the spawn.
and during the summer times or early fall what dave d said about going deep is also right. i have fished in 100' of water before about 30' down, but most of the time 15-25 is all i have to go. the best bait at this time is either a small crawler or a half of crawler works the best for me.