TRY A COOLING LAKE
During February a bad case of Cabin Fever may start to set in, after we have been through some snow storms and below zero temperatures that can even happen in January. We are not sure about you, but we will be so ready for open water fishing that it is time to try one of the Power Plant Lakes.
These lakes offer some early spring like fishing even before spring has hit at regular lakes due to their warmer discharge waters that could right now be in the 50s to mid 60s. The purpose of these lakes is to cool the electric generators thus keeping the waters warmer later in the year and earlier in the spring than other natural lakes. Thus creating a much longer feeding and growing season, which in turn is a place where many of the big fish live. The water is the warmest near the plant and cools as it goes around the lake and in turn the amount of generating activity will determine how warm the water is flowing from the plant. On top of this is the advantage of the current created from the plant generating power along with a plus of lots of shore fishing opportunities as much of these lakes have shoreline lined with rock.
The IDNR does not own these lakes, but they do manage the fish and fishing at these lakes. The IDNR fisheries biologists do an excellent job of stocking the right species of fish, managing adequate food source and monitoring weed growth.
Here are some Power-Plant cooling lakes in Illinois that provide great fishing during winter: Powerton Lake - south of Pekin, Clinton Lake - east of Clinton, Lake Springfield – at southeast edge of Springfield which requires a permit, Newton Lake - southeast of Effingham and Lake of Egypt - south of Marion. These 5 lakes have no motor size limits but do have some site or seasonal restrictions you need to check into. Sangchris Lake - southeast of Springfield, Newton Lake - southeast of Effingham and Coffeen Lake - southeast of Litchfield all have a 25hp motor limit and Baldwin Lake - southeast of St. Louis has a 50hp limit. The other two cooling lakes that are closed during winter are Braidwood Lake – near Braidwood that usually opens March 1st and LaSalle Lake – south of Seneca that may open around mid March. Since these two lakes may open on different days each year, be sure to check before going.
TIP: If the Power Plant is pumping hot water, the fish will seek out the shoreline where baitfish will be, just try any minnow or shad type bait. And when the generators are not running, fish will move into deeper water near weedbeds in 8-12 foot depth. Here is when a mid-running crankbait works as does a jig and plastic. These lakes also offer good shore fishing access, so get an early jump on spring fishing because these lakes may be the HOT SPOTS right now. And lastly before heading out on the water this year, REMEMBER TO PUT DRAIN PLUG BACK IN BOAT and DO NOT FORGET THAT NEW FISHING LICENSES by April 1st..!
We wish to say THANKS for reading our articles in ASO for the past 14 years and for all the support you have given us but with so little time and so much to do, we have decided to cut back on extra tasks. That means this will be our last article as we will focus more time on our website where we will continue lake reports, tips, events and fishing news at www.larrysfishinghole.com
GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING.!