I recall my first experience fishing a power plant lake.
I was fifteen years old when a friend of mine, Wayne Brown
of Corsicana, Texas, took me to Fairfield Lake. We catfished
and ran trotlines together for years, as well as, deer hunted
and coon hunted together. In fact, in many ways, Wayne raised
me and taught me to love and appreciate the outdoors. We
always caught a lot of fish and had a great time at Fairfield
Lake. I'll always be grateful to him for teaching the things
he taught me and for always being willing to take me with
For several years, I did not return to Fairfield Lake.
I was off at college or working in towns far away from there.
My interest in fishing turned from catfishing to bass fishing.
I fished several large lakes, but never thought to go bass
fishing at Fairfield Lake until I read a fishing report
in January. The report said the bass fishing was excellent.
I couldn't believe it. In the dead of winter, how could
bass fishing be excellent at a lake I had only known to
be a great catfishing lake? I had to check it out.
From my years of going to Fairfield, I knew the lake pretty
well, as far as the structure and cover. I called up a bass
fishing friend of mine and in early 1991, I returned to
Fairfield for the first time in several years. Only this
time, the only treble hooks I had were found on my Norman
We headed over to the hot water discharge where we found
the surface water temperature to be in the 70's while the
outside temperature was in the low 40's. I was throwing
a shad colored Deep Little N on a main lake point when I
boated my first Fairfield Lake fish in over 8 years, a 3-4
pound channel cat. That's right, a catfish, and not a bass.
I suppose it was an omen or something that after spending
so many days and nights catching catfish on that lake that
the first fish to get landed was ole' Mr. Whiskers himself.
Needless to say, I put down the crankbait and began pitching
a ½ oz. Bulldog jig into the shallow, flooded cattails.
After a few minutes, I pitched the jig into a small opening
in the tall, tough grass and my line began darting off to
the side. I didn't even have time to reel up any slack,
the fish took it all with him. I set back on the rod, setting
the hook and wrestled a four-pounder out of the thick cattails
and onto the deck of my Ranger. Talk about exciting. We
continued pitching and flipping jigs the rest of the afternoon
catching numerous bass. It was a great day of bass fishing.
A week later I returned, but couldn't find the fish in
the cattails as I had the week before. After a couple of
hours, I pulled out into deeper water and began Carolina-rigging
the points and secondary points. It only took a few casts
and there it went again. Fish after fish ate the watermelon
colored Zoom centipede I drug across the points. I must
have caught 30 or so bass that day. Although it wasn't as
fun as flippin' the cattails, it was sure better than a
poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Each year in December, January and February I travel to
my old catfishing lake to catch bass. The warmer water produced
by the power plant brings spring time bass fishing conditions
to us earlier in the year than our other reservoirs. It's
kinda like peeking at your Christmas presents before Christmas.
We bass fishermen that travel to Fairfield Lake get to fish
for spawning bass months before everyone else does. And
we all know that spring time bass fishing is the best time
to catch lots of fish and even the occasional, big 'un.
If you catch a pretty day this winter and get the bug to
go bassin', find yourself a power plant lake and get a jump
on your spring bass fishing. Hartley Young of Corsicana,
Texas and I made the 45 mile drive yesterday and boated
over 25 small bass in less than 3 hours. It was a great
way to spend the afternoon.
It is a great place to take a youngster and teach them
to worm fish or Carolina-rig for bass. They can have tremendous
success which is key to keeping kids interest up in fishing.
Heck, who knows, maybe I can even talk Wayne into going
with me someday and return the favor to him for taking me
all of those years and introducing me to a great catfish
and bass lake.
Tom Lester II