Badin Lake has the reputation for being one of the first reservoirs on the Yadkin River system – or in all of North Carolina – to wake up when spring hovers on the horizon.

February is a good example. If the weather isn't too cold and it isn't raining or snowing, Badin produces some excellent catches of largemouth bass, and guide Joel Richardson is living proof.

On decent days, we've been having really good bass days at Badin," he said. "I'm a fan of cold-water bass fishing, and Badin is probably the No. 2 cold-water bass lake, only behind Buggs Island."

Richardson (336-803-2195, www.joelgrichardson.com) said he's caught most of his bass near the mouths of the main lake's tributaries or at the dam. Most of those largemouths, in the 3- to 5-pound range, have been concentrated on steeper banks.

 

"The ones with rocks and big boulders seem to have the most bass in the 8- to 12-foot range," Richardson said. "Bass seem to like it better at places with deeper rocks."

 

Different lures have worked for Richardson, but the Alabama rig is producing the most strikes.

 

"Jerkbaits, such as the big Smithwick (Rattlin') Rogues, also are working well," he said. "A No. 7 Shad Rap also is catching fish, and jig 'n' pigs fished slowly around the rocks are drawing some strikes from bass."

 

"They'll come up and hit jerkbaits and Shad Raps. They seem to be suspended off the rocks and not on the rocks, so you don't have to hit the rocks with a lure. I've caught a few by the boat in 28 to 30 feet of water, and I know they weren't that deep. You might go one day and catch four or five and another day and land a dozen or more."

 

The upper end of the lake, where the water is dingier, isn't producing many fish, according to Richardson.