North Carolina has a handful of lakes that feature active, year-round largemouth bass bites, and Belews Lake is perhaps the best.

Currently, anglers are catching bass from six to 25 feet deep in its clear waters on a variety of lures.

Located close to the intersection of Guilford, Stokes, Rockingham and Forsyth counties, the Duke Energy impoundment has an influx of hot water from a shoreline power-generating plant. The warmth produced by an outflow of super-heated water keeps bass active almost continuously.


Guide Joel Richardson has been fishing Belews Lake since he was six-years old and lives within 1 1/4 miles of its shoreline.


"In October, bass can be on several patterns, including sloping rocky points off islands, near the riprap at the dam, at the shorelines along the southeastern side of the lake and in East Belews Creek, where the water's a little dingier than other places," he said. "The lake's extremely clear, except in the creeks. Some places you can see 10 to 15 feet down and (see) rocks and stumps on the bottom."


Richardson (336-643-7214) uses a shakey head rig fitted with a finesse worm in watermelon color or a Carolina rig for deeper fishing. Although not necessary now, he catches bass in 40 to 50 feet of water during the winter months.


"The best idea is now to get in about 25 feet of water and throw up into six feet and work the bait back to you slowly, bouncing it off the bottom," he said. "The lake has lots of stumps and rocks on the bottom at places, and they're good targets to throw at."


Anglers also may notice bass exploding on baitfish at the surface.


"That's one of the key things to look for – bass slashing through little shad on the surface," Richardson said. "If you can get a lure to them while they're bustin' on top, you can get bit."


Some moderately-shallow rocky points in coves extend from shoreline toward the middle of the lake, and those places are likely to hold bass shoving baitfish off the rocks to the surface where they attack them. If they're watching, anglers can spot largemouths crashing baitfish from 200 yards away.


Richardson casts Zara Spooks and white buzzbaits at bass busting the surface.


"I think bigger fish are in East Belews Creek," he said. "It's got dingier water, and for some reason, the bigger bass seem to live there."


Bouncing a deep-diving crankbait off stumps and rocks is a favorite technique to elicit strikes in this creek.


Belews has four boating access areas, including Carolina Camp-in and Marina, Humphries Ridge Campground, and two N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission public ramps - Pine Bluff Access off NC 65 about five miles west of Stokesdale and Pine Hall Access off Pine Hall Road.