Reservoirs along the Yadkin River system are known for their large catfish, and Badin Lake is at the head of the class.

The fishery there for big blues and flatheads is so good that variable weather this winter and a 2-month drawdown haven't had much of an effect on the bite.

Earlier this week, with the lake refilling from a 20-foot drawdown, Jeremy and Samantha Evans of Greensboro caught two of the biggest blue cats they've ever caught. 

"We caught a 65-pound blue catfish about 12 noon," Samantha Evans said. "The water was 45 degrees … when we got on the lake at 8 a.m. It was freezing, only about 25 degrees, and the water was down considerably. We didn't have high hopes, but we tried as always." 

The big blue catfish hit cut bait fished on the bottom. 

"Believe it or not, we were in only 7 1/2 feet of water," Jeremy Evans said. "It took 30 minutes to land the fish." 

Later on, the husband and wife landed a 40-pound blue catfish. 

"Those were the only two catfish we landed all day," Jeremy Evans said. 

"I guess the early bird does get the worm," his wife said. "So it turned out to be a great day after all." 

Badin covers 5,350 acres downstream from Tuckertown Lake and forms the border between Montgomery and Stanly counties. The lake is rising back toward normal pool from a big drawdown that spanned November and December required after the state of North Carolina forced Alcoa Inc., to clean up PCB-contamination from a 1970s stormwater overflow from Alcoa's Badin Works. 

The lake was drawn down 20 feet to allow Alcoa to remove PCB-laced bottom soils from 3.7 acres contaminated by the spill, replacing them with gravel and other materials. The water is within four feet of full pool, refilling rapidly after  rain, sleet and snow events. Most ramps are open, although anglers may have some difficulty in launching boats. For those who do get on the lake, they'll have chances to land big catfish.