Get off the Power...Plant
Just outside St. Louis there are a couple of power plant lakes that anglers can fish throughout the winter. A lot of anglers skip cold water fishing on the local lakes and head to the power plant lakes. They do this because they can catch fish on a wide variety of lures due to there being hot water coming out of the discharge. I grew up fishing these lakes and I can remember hammering all kinds of keeper bass fishing topwater baits and burning red rattle traps even when there was snow on the ground. While catching fish on these lakes is all fun and dandy those lessons probably won't transfer over to dead of the winter fishing on typical bodies of water.
While heading to power plant lakes can provide some unique action you are not going to sharpen your winter time bass fishing skills if you spend all your weekends fishing these types of lakes. Sure each power plant lake has it's own tricks to be learned but that kind of fishing doesn't transfer to other bodies of water when you have to travel across the country and fish lakes where the water temperatures are in the upper 30's to mid to low 40's.
It all depends on your goals are in bass fishing.If your goal is to win a couple of weekend amateur tournaments then keep on fishing those power plant lakes. They offer great fishing and there are power plant specialist that fish these lakes but I can't remember the last time any major FLW or BASSMASTER event was held on a power plant lake. Correct me if I'm wrong. They just don't have those kind of tournaments on those bodies of water usually do to location and because they just can't pay enough money to host one of those events.
If you've never gotten out and fished for bass during the winter it can be intimidating and rough when you first start out. It takes time to learn what baits and what locations typically produce. Everything I've learned about winter fishing I've gotten from experience or doing my homework. It takes time to build up your knowledge of cold water bass fishing so if you're just starting out enjoy the journey and if your persistent it can really pay off.
As far as Lakes I consider to be great for winter fishing I would recommend Lake of the Ozarks . Lake of the Ozarks is one of the best lakes to sharpen your cold water fishing skills. The Lake offers anglers all kinds of water clarity which makes it a really good training ground if someone wants to get the hang of catching cold water bass. Fish can be caught anywhere from 1 foot all the way down to 40 foot in the winter. After fishing around the country I can say that patterns on that lake can be applied almost everywhere. If you get the itch this winter to fish be sure to check the Lake of the Ozarks out you probably will not be disappointed.