Gibson Lake (Indiana)

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Gibson Lake
Location Gibson Generating Station, Montgomery Township, Indiana
Coordinates 38°21′N 87°46′W / 38.35°N 87.76°W / 38.35; -87.76Coordinates: 38°21′N 87°46′W / 38.35°N 87.76°W / 38.35; -87.76
Type reservoir (cooling pond)
Primary inflows Lake Fill Pumps,
Plant Water Discharges,
Mc Carthy Ditch
Primary outflows Patoka River,
Plant Water Intakes
Basin countries United States
Max. length 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Max. width 2 mi (3.2 km)
Surface area 2,900 acres (1,200 ha)
Average depth 15 ft (4.6 m)
Max. depth 24 ft (7.3 m)
Water volume 7,100,000,000 US gal (0.027 km3)
Residence time 2 weeks
Shore length1 6 mi (9.7 km) (includes the central splitter dike)
Surface elevation 350 ft (110 m)
Frozen never
Islands none
Settlements Mount Carmel, Illinois
(2 miles NW of the lake)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Gibson Lake is the cooling pond for Duke Energy Indiana's Gibson Generating Station. Measuring at around 3,500 acres (14 km2), it is the largest lake in Indiana built completely above ground, its shores consisting of rock levees on all but two of the lake's six sides both of which were also built up to build the power plant. Opened to fishing in 1978, Gibson Lake had been a prime source of bass and several types of catfish, bluegill, and carp. The lake was closed to fishing in 2007, due to elevated levels of selenium found in the water of the lake.[1] The only entrance to Gibson Lake is the lake's boat ramp, located due southeast of the plant on Gibson County Road 975 South.

Gibson Lake, due to it never getting colder than 40 °F (4 °C), caused by the hot outflows from the plant's condensers, is known to produce a little dusting of snow every now and then.


The Gibson Lake and the rest of the Gibson Generating Station complex is home to several species of birds. They include:

  • Many of these birds use the area as a stop-over on their respective destinations. Wildlife and bird watchers will notice that Google Earth and Garmin GPS maps refer to the lake's location as Broad Pond. The ancient Broad Pond-Cane Ridge-Wabash River oxbow was once considered for a National Wildlife Refuge.


Specialty species[edit]

  • Least terns - breed at Gibson Lake and Cane Ridge least tern habitat and may be seen anytime between mid-May and late August or early September.
  • Bald eagles - are common during the winter and are usually encountered on a drive around the levee. They nest in the area next to the Wabash River.


The lake temperature very rarely falls below 40 °F (4 °C) at its coldest point, due mainly to the plant's condenser discharges.

Outflow (West) Side[edit]

Annual Temperature Range
Season Min Max
Winter 50 °F (10 °C) 65 °F (18 °C)
Summer 95 °F (35 °C) 110 °F (43 °C)

Inflow (East) Side[edit]

Annual Temperature Range
Season Min Max
Winter 40 °F (4 °C) 55 °F (13 °C)
Summer 88 °F (31 °C) 95 °F (35 °C)

The two sides are separated by a splitter dike that juts approximately 500 yards into the lake from the main plant that forces the water to remain in the lake for around 1–2 weeks.