I have said before and I firmly believe, East Texans are blessed with outdoor hunting and fishing opportunities.

We have lakes, rivers and forests, loaded with fish and game of all types. We have hunters and we have anglers and we have folks that do both. Some only enjoy crappie fishing while others are only interested in whitetail deer. There is one group with a large following that only chase bass.

For this single purpose, hard core group, now is the beginning of their season.

Actually there is no beginning or end for the bass angler as their target is active year round. January is the kickoff for the bass purist. This is where the East Texas power plant lakes shine. Smack dab in the middle of January these heated lakes can be in full spawn mode for bass and as active as March and April on other lakes.

The lakes get their warm water from the power plants they are built around. The plants generate electricity and the lake water is used for cooling purposes then discharged back into the lake. This makes for a bonus fishing season.

Anglers wishing to brave the colder air temperatures of January can enjoy some awesome bass fishing at any of these East Texas jewels. Martin Creek near Tatum, Brandy Branch near Marshall, and Lake Welsh near Cason are three lakes that will be busy this time of year. All have an awesome population of bass and all produce trophies.

For those fishing a power plant for the first time, nothing is different.

Simply hit the lake and act like its Late February or early March. Use the same spring time baits you would normally use. Spinner baits, lipless crankbaits and your favorite soft plastics will all produce. The closer to the discharge, the more likely the fish will be advanced in their spawning process.

Even near the intake areas the bass will likely be much more active than a cold water lake. Martin Creek for example will have fish in all three phases of the process. Prespawn, spawn and post spawn on different areas of the lake. One thing to keep in mind, not all bass will be doing the same thing at the same time. In other words when March and April do roll around, the power plant lakes will still be active but on a smaller scale.

Watch the weather and bring plenty of clothes. The warm water is notorious for causing dense fog during cold air temperature periods. A GPS is a good idea to bring along on any trip but should be mandatory during a winter power plant outing.

Rain gear will come in handy if the fog is intense to help keep you dry. Get out this weekend and try one of these hot water honey holes.