Open waters open options for all kinds of angling right now.
A bit too much rainfall has stained or muddied most Great Lakes feeders, but smaller streams could be back to a slight stain by the weekend -- without a drenching later this week.
Inland streams, creeks, and ponds showed nice, slightly stained waters as Randolph Hatchery personnel continued their preseason stocking schedule.
If you plan to get out for the New York State trout opener next Thursday (April 1) and have yet to renew that fishing license that expired last Sept. 30, consider adding a $5 Habitat/Access Stamp purchase.
Funds from the program helped restore the Dunkirk Fishing Platform, the Eighteen Mile creek mouth access on Lake Erie, and extensive stream restoration work on Wiscoy Creek near Pike. "Without H/A funds, the platform would still be closed; with more money in this H/A program, we could work on more fishing-related projects in the area," said Paul McKeown, DEC Region 9 fisheries supervisor.
Ice floes head down the Niagara River as Ice Boom crews remove "log" sections and open-water areas are ice free. But boaters will have to hold off on a trailering run to Sturgeon Point Marina for a while. Northeast winds filled marina areas inside the breakwater and Town of Evans crews will have to wait until ice-out before preparing the launch site for access.
Cattaraugus Creek looked good until Monday's downpour. A few feeders upstream had been fishable this past weekend, but rain stained the main creek from Springville down to the mouth at Irving.
Smaller feeders could clear in a day or two said Rick Miller at Irving and Dave Watts at Dave's Bait & Tackle in Derby. Eighteen Mile Creek stained early Monday but could be good before Friday. Weekend anglers have many good possibilities now.
Randolph Hatchery personnel have had good water conditions throughout March for stocking yearling and 2-year-old brown trout and a good number of yearling brook trout.
Mud stain from feeder creeks has little effect on shoreline cruising brown trout. Boaters from Oak Orchard Creek to the Niagara River mouth can run smaller minnow type bodies on long lines off side planers for bumps from browns and the occasional laker.
Streams have been generally muddy, but night runs for bullheads have been good at Wilson Harbor and Oak Orchard well up from the mouth. Despite the stained water, some nice trout takes have been made under Waterport Dam on Oak Orchard.
Fair numbers of perch have been taken in bays, ponds, and along feeder mouths from Irondequoit Bay to the Niagara River. Irondequoit perchers have been working deeper. Shore casters have been doing well at Long Pond, Braddock Bay, and close to the lake on Oak Orchard Creek.
When winds and waves allow, the Niagara Bar has been only so-so. Incoming trout and salmon have been scattered along the entire shoreline; the bar's structures could become more attractive with just a few more degrees in water temperature.
Despite the opening of the ice boom, steady north and northeast winds have kept ice floes out onto Lake Erie waters well past Cattaraugus Creek.
Boaters drifted lower river shoreline structures for a fair run of steelies. Staining slowed but could not stop the steelie run in the river. A few browns showed on the Niagara Bar, but lake trout have been slow to show around the bar.
Anglers have found rainbow smelt in the craws of trout caught during the past two to three weeks, but night-shift smelt dippers have yet to fill a net. Regulars read the water at 35-36 degrees right now. Generally, smelt move closer to shore when the gauges rise to 38-39 degrees.