Niagara Gazette


December 20, 2013

Bill Hilts' Fish Forecast: Need a license? Act before Christmas.

Niagara Gazette — The Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that a new vendor has been hired to handle sporting license transactions in the state and a blackout period for selling licenses will be put into place starting Dec. 26 across the state. 

In other words, if you are looking to fish or hunt from Dec. 26 into early January 2014, you’d better purchase a license in advance because no other option will exist. So, charter captains looking to service customers visiting from out of state will need to be thinking ahead and then hope that the weather stays decent. 

If you have relatives coming home for the holidays and they want to wet a line or chase some waterfowl, you’d better have them make arrangements before Dec. 26. And just because licenses aren’t available, it doesn’t mean that the conservation laws won’t be enforced – they will be, according to the DEC press office in Albany.

1. Lake Ontario and tributaries

Good news and bad news for ice fishermen. Wilson Harbor was reporting decent ice in the back bay of the harbor with five to seven inches of ice holding up hard water anglers. According to Greg Stanley of All in the Same Boat Tackle Shop in Newfane, ice fishermen have been pulling a mix of panfish, perch and some small trout through the holes in Wilson. The new shop (which also carries ice fishing gear and baits) can be contacted for updates at 435-5012 on stream action and ice fishing. 

In the tributaries, Stanley reported good success on Wednesday for brown trout at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek using charteuse jigs tipped with meal worms. Some steelhead are also available. Water was low and slightly stained in the creek and the power plant was generating power at the dam. 

The bad news is that the forecast is calling for one to two inches of rain, which will probably mess up the streams and maybe even the ice. Once that rain turns back to snow, though, the cold weather could set the ice back up for more manageable conditions. For example, to the east at Irondequoit Bay, more than a foot of snow sits on the ice. The rain could melt that snow and another cold freeze would be perfect for moving around on the hard stuff.

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