That extra evening hour of Daylight Savings Time and some thawing has increased options for some angling activity.
As always at this time of the season, ice conditions change daily and a foot of honeycombed ice may not be as sturdy as three inches of newly formed “green” ice.
On ice or in the limied open-waters fishing available, the top tip is go small and light. Ice jiggers who got away with 1/8 or even 1/16 heads might have to drop down to 1/32 or possibly 1/64-ounce heads to lure and hook unaggressive panfish.
Egg sackers should consider either going to a single-egg setup or cutting back on sack sizes and egg counts for use on feeder streams and the lower Niagara River.
Line weights and composition are big considerations. Thinner lines, the newer lines of fluorocarbons and super-thin braids all make a difference.
Snow-cover depth and ice thickness decreases, stream levels remain lower and virtually all waters now, except for a heavy rain or runoff, are clear enough to gin up caution even with the more aggressive of panfish and trout.
• Capt. Bob’s Outdoors Ice Derby continues to Sunday and sizes in several divisions can still be topped. Entrants can sign up at 10295 Main St. in Clarence prior to entering one or more of the species divisions. For derby registration details, check with Steve Hawkins at 407-3021.
• The Ice Masters Elite finished its last contest at Conesus Lake on Feb. 7. Final standings should be posted soon on a Facebook account. For final results and prospects for next year’s ice season, check with director Mark Dusablon at (607) 742-0343 or co-director Paul Toamino at (585) 226-8404.
WISCOY CREEK DIARY PROGRAM
Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 9 Fisheries Office will conduct an Angler Diary Program for those who regularly fish Wiscoy Creek in Allegany and Wyoming counties.
The program began March 1 and continues to Oct. 31. This program is similar to one conducted in 2012 and will be included in a late-summer electro-fishing survey to assess the overall quality of the creek’s fishery.
Interested anglers can get more details and register for the program with the DEC Allegany Office at 372-0645.
RAINBOW SAMPLING DAYS
Anglers can be fined for intentionally targeting trout on inland streams before the April 1 season opener, but DEC officials encourage the public to enjoy viewing trout upstream runs in two major Finger Lakes tributary waters.
For an enjoyable outing good for grownups and curious kids, the Region 8 DEC fisheries staff conducts annual samplings of rainbow trout that are starting to move into feeder streams from the south end of Honeoye Lake and the Keuka Lake Outlet.
Viewers can gather at key sites and see trout electro-shocked and surveyed for their numbers, gender and overall health. The first sampling starts at 9 a.m. Thursday on Naples Creek just north of the village in Ontario County.
The public is welcome to watch from the bridge on Route 245 adjacent to the DEC operations facility.
The second sampling takes place at the Keuka Inlet on Cold Brook in the hamlet of Pleasant Valley starting at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Both sites are family friendly and only require wearing suitable clothing for weather conditions each day. For more details and directions to these sites, check with the DEC Region 8 Headquarter office at (585) 226-2466.
Many a fisher person considers the April 1 opener of trout season as the start of the warm-water fishing season, and many renew their licenses before going out for trout.
As most anglers know by now, the license-renewal format has changed. Most sporting licenses are renewed each year on Oct. 1, but the new system allows resident and non-resident license purchasers to obtain a fishing license valid for “one full year (365 days) from the date of purchase,” according to NYSDEC regulations.
Other changes include fee reductions: Resident annual dropped from $29 to $25 and a seven-day license dropped from $15 to $12. The non-resident license fees fell even more significantly, with the annual fee going from $70 to $50, the seven day falling from $35 to $28 and the one-day going from $15 to $10.
Even more significantly, license buyers at issuing sites can obtain “New York Hunting & Trapping Official Guide to Laws & Regulations” for 2014-15, but a tentative target date for a fishing guide has been set for April 1, 2015 as a result of the new issuance format.
DEC officials in Albany could not be reached for details on the new guide, but fishing license information can be viewed on line at http://www.dec.ny.gov/63.html.