Powerplant cooling lakes

Discussion in 'ILLINOIS LAKES / RESERVOIRS TALK' started by Swishersweet, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Swishersweet

    Swishersweet New Member

    Messages:
    18
    State:
    Bourbonnais, Illinois
    First off I'd like to say hello to you all. I've been a catfisherman since I was a little dude. I fish for just about anything that swims, but given my druthers, I'd druther fish for cats.

    I'd like to share tactics and tips on the power lakes in general with you all. I am never to old and mule-headed to learn more and welcome any and all input. I would also like to get some information on the other cooling lakes and impoundments so when I need to take a break from my job I can load up and go. This is a fantastic website with some very valuable information!

    Last winter I read the IDNR reports for catfishing prospects in Illinois http://dnr.state.il.us/fish/07/07 CATFISH STATUS REPORT.pdf. The section on the Braidwood cooling plant caught my eye. The IDNR has stocked flats and blues and there is already a healthy population of channels and flats from before the lake was impounded. I've gone bass fishing there in the past but never went specifically catfishing. Most of my catting is done on the Kankakee river. Long story short, Braidwood is a short drive from my home and I spent the time and paid my dues to figure the lake out which meant not fishing the river at all. By the end of summer I had a pretty good success rate going with a few days of 100+ cats boated. Most cats ranged in the 2 - 10 pound range so I still have some work to do to pattern the bigger ones. I didn't boat any flats but I have worked up a strategy to fix that, I hope.

    Anyway, I'd sure like to compare notes.

    Thanks!
     
  2. fishnfwl

    fishnfwl New Member

    Messages:
    3,334
    State:
    South Cent
    Welcome Glenn, Fish Coffeen Lake oh 80% of the time, as you know the winter is the better times for the cooling lakes, anyway, I would have to say my better tactics are a slow drift or trolling very slow (pulling) live bait for the flathead here, in the cold months, and targeting the deepest holes in the summer and rest of the year.
     

  3. Swishersweet

    Swishersweet New Member

    Messages:
    18
    State:
    Bourbonnais, Illinois
    Thanks Randy. The lakes around here close from mid-October through the end of March so I can't get in on the winter bite. Everything else is frozen harder than Chinese arithmetic.

    I slow troll too. I use a three way rig with threadfin shad and fish the edges of the long trenches. One of the best spots for the bluecats is where the water is pumped into the lake from the river. I slow troll down current from it, real slow on both edges of trench for a couple of hundred feet. It seems the cooler water and current there is favorable for the blues.

    What kind of surface temperatures do usually see? Braidwood is always in the high eighties to low nineties during mid-summer. The cats definetely move according to the temp. I still need to find what the ideal temp is for them in this lake.
     
  4. fishnfwl

    fishnfwl New Member

    Messages:
    3,334
    State:
    South Cent
    About the same, July to Sept. some spots up by the ditch may get to 90's, bought me a pool thermometer and added weight to it and a big snap and O-ring, clip it on the line and drop to bottom or where ever to get a good reading from down in the holes. Works well, wally world for a couple bucks, will give you a really good idea on just what the temps are doing along with current in the holes and creek channels.....
     
  5. tunnel hull

    tunnel hull New Member

    Messages:
    230
    State:
    SO.il.
    i new there was a reason i joined the BOC this is very interresting lots of excellant info, I THANK u gentelmen so vary much for all the great ideas.. ...............if dont GO u dont no...........
     
  6. heyop_erator

    heyop_erator New Member

    Messages:
    204
    State:
    Kansas
    I've worked powerhouses and find that the cats will bite from the bottom too.
     
  7. tunnel hull

    tunnel hull New Member

    Messages:
    230
    State:
    SO.il.
    when was the fish in the pic caught &what was the wieght? looks ........................if u dnt GO u
     
  8. Swishersweet

    Swishersweet New Member

    Messages:
    18
    State:
    Bourbonnais, Illinois
    Good call! I am going to add a depth thermometer to my arsenal. I didn't have the good sense to keep a journal last year, just relying on my not so good memory. This year I'll keep a fishing log for sure. I have a few old rods that I can't seem to throw out so I might just cut one down and make me a cast and crank depth thermometer.
     
  9. Swishersweet

    Swishersweet New Member

    Messages:
    18
    State:
    Bourbonnais, Illinois
    Two of the nearby powerhouses are nukes so I can't fish the discharge as close as I'd like to. They have bouy lines setup and you go straight to jail for going past them. I found that the cats hang out on the discharge side and gradually move to the intake side as the surface temps start hitting about 88 degrees. Nice cat in your avatar!

    Right at a surface temp of 89 degrees there was a massive spawn at Braidwood. I am used to river cats spawning over a course of a couple of months but it seemed that the channels all spawned at once within a week. The best catfishing day of my life was in the middle of that spawn. I caught 60+ nice cats in a 4 hour period, went home to get my father in law and caught at least that many again in the afternoon. They were locating on a shelf that butted up to some islands adjacent to the long trench. What a blast!
     
  10. Dustoff

    Dustoff New Member

    Messages:
    2
    State:
    Illinois
    Fished Powerton today and saw some monster channels taken out in the 10/15 pound range. Could have been blues maybe. They got them on shad with big ten foot rods near the hot water discharge. Strippers are also biting like mad on minnows.