The countdown has started for commenting on proposed Great Lakes fishing regulations for 2020. The deadline is Dec. 14. Musky season will close in the lower Niagara River after Dec. 15.
Lake Erie and tributaries
The streams will probably be affected by this most recent weather blast. After rain on Tuesday, lake effect snow and colder conditions are expected. Streams were good over the weekend for Ric Davila of Wheatfield as he hit several streams south of Buffalo to take some respectable steelhead on the fly. Water flow was good, and it was slightly stained. Things are changing as you read this. Smaller streams will clear first. Some trout are already starting to drop back.
Mark Romanack with Fishing 411 TV had a rough go of it when he tried to film a steelhead show in the lower Niagara River this week. He was fishing with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters as they worked the river. On Sunday afternoon, Romanack managed to take some dandy brown trout along the lower portion of the river fishing MagLip 3.0 plugs off 3-way rigs. On Monday, they focused on the Devil’s Hole area as they worked egg sacs off three-way rigs. As the day wore on, the river became more stained. They managed to catch 5 or 6 steelhead in the process. Tuesday morning, it was worse for the boaters. They didn't boat a fish and headed home early with a terrible weather forecast chasing them out for the time being. They will have to wait and see if they have enough footage for a show. They will be back next month to attend the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls on Jan. 17-19, 2020 as a top attraction. Despite the turbid conditions, shore anglers have been picking up some steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. Best baits are spinners, beads and sacs. Pink is a hot color right now. Sacs and live bait are working for brown trout around Fort Niagara, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been hitting an occasional king along Artpark by tossing a No. 4 spinner. The fish he caught on Tuesday was 21 1/2 pounds and caught on 8-pound test line. Remember that if you do catch a lake trout in New York waters, it should be released immediately. Lake trout season opens Jan. 1 in New York waters. However, if you fish the Canadian side of the river, that season opened on Dec. 1. Muskellunge season remains open in the Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River through Dec. 15. In the upper Niagara River, Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla launched his boat over the weekend and used emerald shiners to catch some nice walleye, as well as lake trout up to 30 inches long. It was the only bait he could get to work.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
After several days of warmer temperatures melting remaining snow, combined with rain on Tuesday, most streams will probably be high and stained initially, according to Ron Bierstine with Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge. However, the cold will be returning, and light snow is expected throughout the region. Browns were hitting in some of the smaller streams and steelhead were cooperating in the Oak. Dec. 14 is the deadline for commenting on new regulations proposals. For Lake Ontario, one proposal would extend the lake trout season by one month, moving from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1. There is another that would lower the daily limit for steelhead in Lake Ontario proper from three fish to two. In the tributaries, other proposals would lower the daily limit for brown trout from three to one and raise the steelhead minimum size from 21 inches to 25 inches. Check www.dec.ny.gov for the details on what to do.
Capt. Bob’s Outdoors contest updates
The only change in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors Fall Fishing Contest since last week was Joel Juhasz of Lancaster with a new third-place 31-inch steelhead from the lower Niagara River, caught on a pink egg sac with Capt. Matt Gantress of UnreelfishingNY. In the Rudd Division, California Joe Pavalonis from Buffalo padded his divisional lead with a 17.5-inch Rudd he caught from the upper river on a crappie jig. The derby continues through Dec. 22. Call 407-3021 for more information.