Lake Ontario and tributaries: Tributaries, with the cold weather, could see ice cover. Your best bet, weather permitting, will be Burt Dam and Eighteen Mile Creek if you want any chance for success, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Water was still high and stained as of this report, but it was fishable – steelhead and browns. There was concern over some downed trees that were posing some additional problems there. With the off-color conditions, use brightly colored jigs tipped with a wax worm or mealworm and fish it under a float. Trout beads will also work. It appeared that Keg Creek was finally blown out at the mouth and that could bring some fish into that tributary. No reports on ice yet in places like Wilson Harbor, but the recent cold snap had to help. The Oak was reporting steelhead and browns, too.
Lake Erie and tributaries: No reports on the ice in the Buffalo Boat Harbor as of now, but with continued cold temperatures in the forecast, that could change. Caution is advised as always and keep an eye on changing conditions.
Upper Niagara River: When conditions allow, look for perch action to pick back up around Broderick Park, with an occasional trout being caught on spoons and egg sacs.
Lower Niagara River: Weather conditions can change quickly. From boat, the Lewiston launch ramp was in good shape and gravel supplied by the village of Lewiston was on hand to assist with any icy conditions. If you get out you’ll be able to catch steelhead, lake trout and the occasional brown trout. A few walleye were also being reported the last time there were fishermen on the water. Minnows and Kwikfish lures were the top two baits, but egg sacs should also be an option, too. Remember that lake trout season opened Jan. 1 in the lower river and Lake Ontario on the New York side. The Province of Ontario side was already open. And speaking of the Canadian side, the new license year started on Jan. 1. Shore fishermen can do well this time of year, but caution is advised due to ice and slippery conditions. Remember that the stairs at Artpark are out of commission.
Chautauqua Lake: Tough to get a solid report given the changing conditions, but keep an eye on ice, which might be safe by now given the cold snap to kick off 2014.
Orleans County: With cold weather in the forecast well into next week, ice will be forming on all the waterways within Orleans County so special care should be taken. Even with the prediction of the colder temperatures, we’re hesitant to offer up ice conditions on local waters yet. Steelhead/rainbow trout fishing on the The Oak seems to be best in the turbine channel close to the dam, and brown trout fishing is spotty at best.