chrissmithmug.JPG

CHRIS SMITH

Although the calendar says it’s mid-January, the bass at local power plant lakes are in full spring mode.

These bass are right on schedule for a power plant lake. The lakes provide cooling water for the plants and the plant discharges the warm water back into the lake. The intake and discharges are set up so the water circulates and has time to cool back down during the process.

The nearer the fish are to the discharge, the earlier the spawn begins. Couple this with the full moon being Saturday and the fishing should be great.

In East Texas we are centrally located in the range of several power plant lakes.

Brandy Branch, near Marshall, is like a lot of the cooling lakes in that it’s relatively small. This little lake (1,200 acres) has been known to produce incredible strings in January as well as the occasional giant. Lake Welsh, near Cason, is much like Brandy and receives a ton of traffic on the weekends during January. Sadly, Lake Monticello is no longer a power plant lake. Probably the most popular warm water lake is Martin Creek Lake.

Martin is situated near Tatum and has an awesome state park. Nature trails and camping spots with playgrounds and there’s even a fishing pier.

Fishing the hot water lakes in January should be similar to March fishing on a natural temperature lake. Running the bank with a spinner bait, fluke or senko type bait should locate some pre-spawn bass for you. A surface temperature gauge is crucial in finding the 60 plus degree water. Many bass anglers set up shop at the discharge using deep diving crank baits, Carolina rigs and drop shots.

The discharge fish will be staged up and taking baits worked downstream. Move in or out until the right depth is found.

Aside from the discharge area, there should be plenty of 60 degree water. The male bass will be looking for spawning areas and the bigger females will be posted up at mid-depth ranges. Once the male builds his nest, he will cruise around looking for a suitable female. He will escort the lady to his nest and begin the spawning process.

The female may hang around anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of days. Eventually she will ease back out to her staging spot and wait for another male to call on her. The male does all of the work at the nest. He will guard the eggs until they hatch and then guard the fry until a predetermined time. At this point the male tries to chase and eat as many fry as possible.

This action puts the tiny bass on guard for predation as well as disperses the school of tiny bass.

Check the weather before hitting the lake. Cold weather is tough on the ill-prepared angler. Bring along extra clothes and rain gear. The rain gear will come in handy if the famous power plant fog moves in around you.

The warm water interacting with the cold air produces a fog that can cover the entire lake.

Recommended for You