What is the UPL?

"The Ultimate Panfish League provides something for both the competitive angler and recreational angler."
-- Matt Johnson, Owner and Founder of the UPL

The Ultimate Panfish League started in 2002 and began as a year-round panfish league, consisting of both open water and ice fishing events, but now it only runs throughout the winter. They are team events, where each team consists of 2 anglers. Payouts at each individual event. Overall standings are kept and the winning team gets the coveted UPL Champ plagues!


“…A league that consists of Crappies and Sunfish… The Ultimate Panfish League!!!”

UPL Records


Matt Weber and his 2.075 pound UPL record crappie.
Caught on 3/2/14 on Clearwater Lake.

Sponsors & Partners:

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    ***ALL RULES are subject to Tournament Director final say


    • Team events (2 anglers per team, although you may first alone if you choose)
    • Max. of 30 teams per event
    • 4 Ice Fishing Events
    • All events will be on Sunday.
    • Pre-fishing is allowed up until 11:59pm the day before the event.
    • No pre-drilling holes or setting up on a spot the morning of the event.

    Times (6 hour events)

    • Ice Fishing Events: 8am - 2pm (Weigh-in at 2pm)
    • If you're late for take-off (and you let a league official know that you'll be late), then you only lose that time for fishing. You MUST still check-in with a league official before fishing though, failure to check-in will result in automatic disqualification.


    • Both team members must be present at weigh-in (unless something comes up and league officials are notified)
    • Any late teams will be penalized (every minute late will result in a 0.1 pound reduction from your total weight. If you're more than 15 minutes late than you're disqualified)
    • Dead-fish penalty will be based on over-all participant observation. If it appears that the fish were caught prior to the event (i.e.: frozen fish from the day before, obvious over- discoloration, etc), then that team will be immediately disqualified with-out reimbursement.

    Limits (15 fish total per team)

    • 7 Crappies (per team)
    • 7 Sunfish (per team)
    • One bonus fish of either a Crappie or Sunfish to give you a 15 fish total but only after 7 Sunfish and 7 Crappies are in your weigh bucket. No more than 8 fish of one species can be weighed in.
    • Minimum Size Limits: Crappie = 8 inches, Sunfish = 7 inches
    • Culling is allowed (However, if you're caught throwing back dead fish your team will be disqualified, no exceptions)
    • You may keep a full limit of crappie and sunfish if you would like to take fish home for a meal or whatnot, that is fine, but MN regulations still apply though and it's still a 15 fish limit for the event
    • All special regulations regarding size limits for the particular body of water must be followed at all times

    Morning Takeoff

    • Morning takeoff will consist of 4 flights - 2 flights of 7 teams and 2 flights of 8 teams. There will no longer be a free-for-all shotgun start. Flights/teams will be drawn the Wednesday prior to the event and emailed to the team captain that evening.
    • Each flight will be given a number 1-4 prior to the first event. That number will be there take- off number for the first event. Then for the remaining three events it will just shuffle one place for who goes first, still staying the same order but having a new flight go first...
    • - 1st Event Order: 1, 2, 3, 4
    • - 2nd Event Order: 2, 3, 4, 1
    • - 3rd Event Order: 3, 4, 1, 2
    • - 4th Event Order: 4, 1, 2, 3


    • The scoring system will be based on weight.
    • 7.86 pounds = 7.86 points.
    • If a team weighs nothing, then they will receive 0 points.
    • Heaviest total weight wins each event (Crappie and Sunfish weighed all together)
    • Tie breaker: which ever team has the largest crappie (weight) will win the tie breaker, and if that's still a tie then it will go to the largest sunfish, and after that it's a coin toss.

    Fishable Waters & Transportation

    • Any fishable water available by safe ice is acceptable. No going on land unless notified before event. (Emergencies are exceptions)
    • Events may have restrictions based on ice conditions and certain bodies of water. Any restrictions will be noted well in advance. Safety comes first.
    • Only the use of an ATV or snowmobile is allowed. No trucks or cars are allowed during the day of competition. The use of trucks and cars is allowed for pre-fishing.

    Distance Constraints & Misc.

    • Teams must respect other teams. No fishing within 10 yards of another team will be allowed unless invited by said team to do so. Non-league anglers and fish houses must also be respected at all times.
    • No fishing within 10 feet from a permanent fish house.
    • During events, team members must remain within 100 feet of each other.
    • Each TEAM is only allowed to use two holes during competition. So if the Panoptics is down a hole then that counts as one of their active holes and the team is only allowed one more hole. You MAY fish out of the same hole as the Panoptics (mostly because you can use the "flasher mode" on the Panoptics as well). So if your Panoptics system is down a hole then that counts as one of your two holes whether you're fishing in it or not--so in that case you may NOT fish two additional holes. If you're not using a Panotpics system--or the Panoptics system is out of the water--then each angler is free to each fish out of a hole but still abiding by the distant constraints according to the league rules.


    • Pay-outs are on an individual event basis. No over-all season standings pay-out.
    • 100% Pay-Out per event, based on fees going towards the events
    • Pay-out by placing (Top 5 places will receive a cash prize):
      • 1st Place = $500.00
      • 2nd Place = $350.00
      • 3rd Place = $250.00
      • 4th Place = $150.00
      • 5th Place = $100.00

    Season Points Winner - League Champion

    • This award goes to the team that has earned the most points throughout of the season. This will not be a cash or product award, but rather the team members will each receive a "League Champions" plaque and their entry fee will be covered for the following season.
    • Points awarded goes as follows:
    • Total weight per team, per event is transferred to points. So 7.86 pounds = 7.86 points. Each team's points are added up throughout the four events and the most points at the end of the season is the League Champion. 2nd most points is 2nd, and so on.
    • Each team gets two subs each season, but they may not both be used on the same event, So, an original team member must be present at an event for the points to count towards Team of the Year. A team member may fish an event solo and those points will count.
    • If two or more teams end up tied for final season points, then it goes to which team has largest overall crappie weighed in during the season. And if it's still tied after that, then it's the largest sunfish. And if it's still tied then it goes to a coin toss.


    Contact the UPL

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