Power Plant Cooling Lakes for Catfish

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Whistler, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

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    TN
    Original post made by William Sipes(Riverrat) on January 13, 2003

    There are basically two types of power plant cooling lakes, perched, and flooded. A perched lake is built so it sits up in the air, or "perched" to more readily catch the winds to cool the water by evaporation. Generally, a perched lake is smaller than a flooded lake, and needs the extra wind it catches to make up for what it lacks in volume in allowing the water to cool enough prior to being run through the plant again.
    Perched lakes can be very dangerous places to fish by boat. Built to catch the winds, they do exactly that. In an extremely short time frame, they can go from windy to some of the roughest water you'll see inland. Most perched lakes have a working gas motor requirement, and either a series of warning flags, a siren or both for all boaters. When the warning is given to clear the water, it is time to go.
    Perched lakes are built with elevated earthen walls to hold to the water in, and most have a bottom that has little in the way of cover. Catfish in these lakes will relate more to structure. A depth finder or a good contour map is a necessity. If you have neither of these, most will have a riprapped bankline. With no other information to guide you, this would be your best bet.
    The cooler water is taken into the plant at the area marked 1. It is discharged at the area marked 2.
    [​IMG]
    The series of berms or dykes are in place to make the hot water travel the longest distance possible to make it back to the intake, allowing it the longest time period possible to cool down. In the heat of summer, you will want to fish closer to the intake, and in the dead of winter, closer to the discharge.

    The other most common type of cooling lake is a river or stream that is dammed, resulting in the surrounding area being flooded and a lake or reservoir being formed. Cover is usually very prevalent in this type of lake. Brush and timber is flooded, along with bridges, houses and anything that wasn't moved prior to the damming. Their will also be ample structure in the former river or stream bed, roads, hills, ponds, ditches etc.....
    The hot water discharge in this type of lake is usually a good distance from the water intake. The vast amount of water present is used to cool the hotter water. There is also a inflow of water from the former river or stream, and a spillway to allow excess water a way out.
    Like the perched lake, 1 is the intake and 2 is the discharge.
    [​IMG]
    Like a perched lake, the areas furthest from the discharge are the best in the summer, and closest to the discharge in the winter. However, don't overlook the water below the spillway, even if it is a small stream. Most,if not all of these lakes have flooded at some point, allowing the stocked fish to escape over the spillway and inhabit the waters below the spillway.
    Either type of these cooling lakes can be very productive catfish waters, allowing the catfish to feed normally all year long in the colder northern states. In the general area of the hot water discharge, water temperatures in the dead of a northern winter can be as high as the 60 degree range while the waters farthest from the discharge may be ice covered. If there is a cooling lake near you with a discharge that is accessible in the winter, it is a sure cure for cabin fever. However,make sure to check your local regulations first. Some discharges are off limits in the winter months, while others are still fishable.
    Rat