Hi swamp thing, there are quite a few things to be concerned about hitting Lake Erie at this time of year, and the fact that you are not familiar with the area make things all the more important.
First off, the water is very low right now and can go down 1-2 feet in a matter of hours with a west wind, so keep that in mind.
Next, make sure your boat is in tip-top shape, as you don't want to have motor troubles out there.
Being that you are unfamiliar with the area, I would wait until sun up to launch. You may be anxious to get out there, but in the dark and in unfamiliar territory in late December is a recipe for trouble.
I am sure you will get some other comments from downriver folk, but this is a start.