Sure miss the good old days on Columbia. It has been several years since it has been excellent fishing. I wish Plant would still chip some money towards stocking, I am sure it wouldnt break the to put couple thousand dollars into stocking again.
I was the DNR Fish Manager for Sauk-Columbia counties when construction of the Columbia Generating Station started in the early 1970s.
The 3 power companies that were building it were told by another state agency that no DNR permits were required because no part of the power plant were in the flood plain of the Wisconsin River. This was easily proven wrong by DNR (the river floods the whole marsh in every normal Spring). We also proved that the marsh was used by marsh-spawning walleye (like on the Fox R feeding L. Winnebago) and was used by Northern pike and Musky for spawning.
The power plant was already under construction when the DNR permitting hearings were held. They had started to build the "training" dike that was to be in the center of the cooling lake that would have extended from the river bank on the west to the railroad tracks on the east side. The permit finally issued used the training dike for the western side of the cooling lake and the railroad grade as the eastern side, cutting the side of the cooling lake in half (the future plans called for up to 5 generating plants on the site).
Since the training dike wasn't supposed to hold water in the lake, just to direct cooling water around from the power plant outlet and back to the inlet, no clay core was put in that dike. That dike leaks substantially into the marsh to the west, so makeup water is pumped in through the canal to the Wisconsin River on the west side
The power companies touted the value of the proposed cooling lake as a recreational resource, and provided land for a town or county park (which was never built), a boat launch, etc.
When we pointed out that the projected water temperatures would probably prevent natural reproduction of most common game fish, the power companies said they would pay for fish stocking which they did for a few years.
The most successful fishery was started when the DNR got white/striped hybrids from Arkansas. The power companies paid for that for a while and then stopped. The catfish in the cooling lake swam up the canal to the Wisconsin R, or were "stocked" illegally by anglers.
Other than high water temperatures, the main problem with the water quality in the cooling lake is that the water has to be chemically treated before it can be pumped through the power plants cooling system. This is done to prevent mineral deposits ("scale") in the cooling system pipes.
Those of you that were able to fish the lake in the few early "glory years" had a unique experience not likely to be reported.
I've heard the same. I've also heard they've been pulling fish out with big metal baskets trying to eliminate the fish in the pond as much as possible and get rid of fishing here. The DNR does not pay the power plan anymore for the privilege of fishing therefore they're cutting it short.
MOON PHASE (71%)
46° - 50° F
31° - 35° F
66° - 70° F