Power plants produce electricity by heating purified water to create high-pressure steam, so the cold weather sets off a chain reaction.
Frigid temperatures trigger demands for more power, which causes the power plant to produce more energy and draw more water to cool the generating system. Then the hot water released from the power plant heats up the lake and turns on the fishing.
As the weather gets colder in winter, bass fishing gets hotter at a power plant lake. When the dead of winter turns off the bass on your favorite lake, you can shake off the cold by trying the warm waters of a nearby power plant lake.
Going Bold When The Water Gets Cold
When winter weather causes water temperatures to plummet and fish turn lethargic on other reservoirs, power plant bass remain active even in the nastiest winter weather. I remember a couple of fishing trips at Newton Lake, a power plant reservoir in Illinois, when it was snowing like crazy but bass were crushing our topwater lures because the water temperature was in the 70s.
The key to finding power plant bass is targeting the lake’s perpetual current when the power plant is generating. The best spots then are the intake and discharge areas of the lake because the water flow is strongest at those two spots. Target any shallow points in these spots where the current sweeps across the structure.
Go With The Wind
Playing the wind will also help you find the warmest water and the hottest action on the lake. Wind currents position the warm water throughout the lake. Water temperatures can change 10 degrees in an hour when the wind shifts.
If you encounter a north wind and the hot water discharge is on the southwest side of the lake, then the warm water will be pushed to the south side of the lake, but a south wind will move the warm water northward.
What To Throw At Power Plant Lakes
The same lures that produce for you in the spring will work during the dead of winter at power plant lakes because of the warmer water. In the warmest water, bass will be in a prespawn or even spawning mode, so you can catch these fish on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, buzz baits, topwater plugs and a variety of soft plastics.
The water in the coldest sections of the lake will still be in the upper 40-degree range so you can throw lipless crankbaits, suspending stickbaits, crankbaits and jigs to catch bass along grass edges or drop-offs.