The bad news is the Hot Water Canal won’t be hot for very much longer.
The good news is you have one more winter to fish at the popular New Orleans East honey hole, which gets its name from heated water discharged by Entergy’s Michoud generating facility near the Green Bridge along the Intracoastal Waterway.
“Basically the plant is going to be deactivated, and the hot water is going to stop when it’s deactivated, but the waterway and fishing will still be available,” said Entergy New Orleans spokesperson Charlotte Cavell. “There will just be no hot water outflow after June, 2016 at that particular location.”
The aging facility, which was placed into service in the 1960s, will be shuttered after Entergy completes a $30 million project to upgrade its power transmission system into New Orleans from its Ninemile facility in Westwego, she said.
“We’re replacing the existing transmission lines with higher-capacity, high-tech transmission lines to bring more capacity over from Ninemile,” Cavell said.
Longtime Lake Pontchartrain guide Capt. Mike Gallo, with Angling Adventures of Louisiana, said he was sorry to hear the news, but wasn’t overly concerned about having to scramble to find more fish once the hot water stops flowing.
“I think there will still be fish in the whole general area, because even though there’s hot water coming out of it, sometimes we catch fish in the Hot Water Canal, and sometimes we’re a mile away from it,” Gallo said. “I don’t really think it will change.
“The fish go where there is deep water in the wintertime, and obviously that’s deep water that ’s warm, but they’ll still go to deep water regardless.”
Capt. Bubby Lamy, with In & Out Charters, hadn’t heard about the plant’s scheduled closing when contacted for this story.
“That’s our prime winter spot for fishing because of the deep water and the warm water the Hot Water Canal puts off,” Lamy said. “So I guess I’m going to have to figure out some new fishing holes.”
Lamy thought fish in the area probably wouldn’t be as concentrated as anglers are used to in the wintertime once the hot water shuts off. Water temperatures near the canal are as much as 10 degrees warmer because of the plant’s discharge, he said.
“The fish like to be in deeper water when it gets cold, but that water that comes out of there does keep the water temperature in that whole area higher than in other places, and that’s why even though they want to get deep, they stay active — because the water that comes out of the Hot Water Canal keeps the area warm,” Lamy said.
“It’s hard to say, but I feel like some of those fish will eventually find alternate locations they feel comfortable in.”
Cavell said there are no current plans for the aging facility once it goes offline.
“What we're going to do with Michoud in the future is still to be determined, but right now we’re planning to deactivate it,” she said.