Saturday, March 19, 2016

The fishing's hot outside nuclear plant in Lacey, NJ


Snow was falling, temps were near freezing and winter still held New Jersey
in its icy grip earlier this month, but none of that mattered to me.
Brian Donohue reports for the Associated Press:
Because I was headed to the one place in the Garden State where summer lasts forever: Oyster Creek, where the toasty outflow from the nearby nuclear power plant keeps the water temperatures warm enough to keep the fish biting year round.
As the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant, the Oyster Creek Generating Station, sucks in 1.4 billion gallons of water a day from the Forked River to cool its reactor, then pumps the water back out into neighboring Oyster Creek at higher temperatures, reported. Come late winter and early spring, the creek becomes — literally and figuratively — the state’s hottest fishing hole.
Species including striped bass, bluefish and flounder that largely migrate to warmer waters or go dormant in winter instead remain in the warm waters of the creek and keep biting through the hardest freezes.
So follow the fishermen like Newman Kessler, who drove two hours in a snowstorm from his home in Ossining, New York.
Donning plaid earmuffs and ski gloves, Kessler cast from the bank with the hope of landing his first striper of 2016.
While the snow kept the number of fishermen to a handful on the Friday I visited — the first since the March 1 opening of the season for striped bass fishing in New Jersey rivers and bays — Kessler said he is used to jockeying with more than 20 anglers for a spot along the banks.
“And more often than not, you’ll see them pulling fish out,” he said.
Before the plant opened in 1969, Oyster Creek was like any one of scores of brackish creeks that empty in the bays — a great spot to catch fish, but generally not until water temperatures begin to rise in late March or April.
It wasn’t long before locals realized the nuclear plant allowed them to get an early start. A well-kept secret among locals for years, the spot has become more popular — and crowded — as word has spread online. On my visit, fishermen were of few words, reluctant to attract any more competition.

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