With the continually changing weather patterns possible as the new year approaches, anglers' challenges could find resolution with a trolling motor, insulated waders or an ice auger as changes occur almost daily.
But beginning Tuesday, renewal (license renewal, that is) may outdistance resolve:
Lake trout season reopens for the New York waters of the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario.
Province of Ontario fishing licenses (resident and non-resident) must be renewed before fishing in Ontario waters on or after Jan. 1.
This year, issuing agents have all necessary license forms. All provincial license fees remain the same as last year.
Lower-river fishing halted Saturday, but water clarity Thursday afternoon extended to about 1 foot, indicating a chance for weekend drift fishing. All lower-river drifts were holding steelhead in the 5- to 7-pound range, but lake trout schools were confined to the top of the Niagara Bar around the green buoy off Fort Niagara. Brown trout were significant in their absence from both the river and the bar areas of the lake.
With Tuesday's opening of lake trout season, big Kwikfish (No. 9 or No. 11) should be the mainstay for lakers on the heir pick of fishing implements
top of the bar. Incidental catches of lakers indicated metallic silver or gold bodies with any form of pink over-spray (scale or tint) are good bets.
Anglers working river drifts have been divided between skein and metallic-finished lures. If weekend waters clear to a visibility of 3-4 feet, drifting in warm rains may result in steelhead.
Upper river action has been better along the Fort Erie shoreline. Casters have taken rainbow trout with minnows or egg sacks.
Still-fishing results have been mainly smelt or perch. Shore anglers have been confined to bank fishing, because no safe ice has yet formed on the small, shoreline bays.
Bay of Quinte -- Ice exists over the entire surface of the bay out to Telegraph Narrows. As much as 1 1/2 inches of ice had formed by Thursday, but high water levels and expected warm weather will not allow formation of safe ice this weekend. Also, a spring-like runoff and open water at the Narrows should preclude ice fishing for big walleye until another solid freeze.
Silver Lake -- Ice formed over the entire length of the lake -- nearly 3-inches in places. Conservation Officer Jim Rackl saw signs of anglers in the area of Mack's Marina at the south end of the lake, but no fishermen were sighted. Rackl expects fishermen to attempt access today but suggests checking with area bait and tackle dealers before heading out on the green ice this weekend.
Chautauqua Lake -- Ice formed over both the north and south basin, with unsafe ice at the southern end and the possibility of restored boat fishing in the northern basin. Should warm winds prevail, boat access will open at Prendergast Point, but solid ice has formed in the bay at the Long Point launch.
Cap's Ice Fishing Derby offers a new approach this year.
Perch weighing one-half pound or more and all walleye weighing three pounds or more will be entered for the grand prize.
Weekly prizes will be given for the heaviest fish and for runners-up in both the perch and walleye divisions.
Anglers can enter now at the Tonawanda store for the derby, which begins Jan. 2 and will continue through Feb. 23.