Fishing & Ice Fishing in the Bear Lake Valley

Anglers come from miles around to enjoy the various fishing opportunities found in the Bear Lake valley. Bear Lake is home to a trophy cutthroat trout fishery where the Idaho State record cutthroat of 19 lbs. was caught. Lake trout also inhabit the lake and may grow to 30 lbs. Trolling and jigging from boats can be done throughout the year (winter and spring months being the most productive). Read the latest Bear Lake Fishing Report.

There are four endemic fish species in Bear Lake: the Bonneville Cisco, the Bonneville Whitefish, the Bear Lake Whitefish, and the Bear Lake Sculpin. The January-February spawning run of the Bonneville Cisco draws fishing enthusiast who dip nets to capture the small swift fish.

Anglers also dunk worms, cast lures and float artificial flies on many of the area lakes, reservoirs, streams and creeks. Float tubes are especially popular at Montpelier Reservoir. The Montpelier Rearing Pond has easy access for small children and physically-challenged individuals who wish to fish.

The Idaho Fish & Game Take Me Fishing Trailer visits the Montpelier Rearing Pond a couple times a summer. Fishing gear for use by the public for free, fishing instruction, and if you register at the trailer— no fishing license is necessary!

Find Bear Lake Boat Ramps on our map
Find Fishing License Vendors and Gear Stores
Explore Pugstone Sporting’s Awesome Fishing Map of Bear Lake
Bear Lake Fishing Report

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources – Bear Lake Utah Hunting and Fishing information. Buy hunting and fishing licenses.

Idaho Fish and Game – Bear Lake Idaho Hunting and Fishing information. Buy hunting and fishing licenses. Idaho fishing license vendors.

Ice Fishing

Cisco Fishing in Bear Lake in Garden City Utah
Cisco Fish Caught in Bear Lake
Cisco Fish Caught in Bear Lake

Bear Lake has four species of fish that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, with the Bonneville Cisco being the most well known. They move in close to shore to spawn in mid January and can be dip-netted through the ice. Bear Lake is ice covered four out of five years and jigging for trout and whitefish is a favorite activity for those who brave the cold outdoors to fish.

The Montpelier Reservoir is also a close place to go ice fishing. Located only minutes east of Montpelier, Idaho, active rainbow trout are the main attraction.

Have you been fishing on Bear Lake?  Please take a moment and fill out this survey to help us collect valuable fishing information for Bear Lake.

True Bear Lake Valley outdoor enthusiasts love and respect the wild resources that we have here. We welcome all hunters and anglers to come and enjoy, however, poachers are not welcome here! The Bear Lake valley is patrolled by both Utah and Idaho law enforcement and conservation officers. Poachers of our fish and game are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in order to protect our natural resources. Eyes are everywhere and poaching misdeeds are reported to the local authorities. If you witness any poaching activities, please call Idaho Citizens Against Poaching at 1-800-632-5999, or the Utah Poaching Hotline at 1-800-662-DEER.

Bear Lake Fishing Report

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Bear Lake surface water temperature is 38 degrees.  Boat ramps that are available for launching at this time include: the Bear Lake State Park marina, First Point, and Rainbow Cove.  You can also launch boats at the inlet structure in Idaho at the very north end of the lake at the Idaho State Park.

The whitefish run is winding down, but a few anglers are catching some whitefish jigging on the rockpile and off Cisco Beach in about 40 feet of water with Swedish Pimples and Kastmaster spoons.  Tip the lures with a salmon egg, maggot or piece of worm. 

Cutthroat trout fishing has been good and anglers are also picking up a few lake trout.  Jigging has been the most popular method but there are some boats that are trolling too.  Good spots for anglers to fish at this time are off the rockpile, along Cisco Beach and off the rockpiles just north of the State Park marina.  Try using tube jigs tipped with cisco or but don’t overlook swim baits in ½ to 1 ounce sizes and 4-6” long.  Fish your jig slow and close to the bottom.  Tip them with a piece of cisco, sucker meat or Gulp minnow.  Reliable colors are white, green and chartreuse. 

Anglers who are trolling with downriggers are picking up some nice sized cutthroat trout using flatfish in size U-20 and larger with chrome or bright neon colors being the most popular.  Also try jointed rapalas in J-11 or J-13 sizes.  Keep the lures running close to the bottom regardless of the depth.   You can also catch lake trout using the same techniques and lures.     

Shore anglers are picking up a few cutthroat trout casting off Cisco Beach and the State Park marina dikes.  Try using large spinners (#5 and #6 Vibrax, Mepps, Rooster Tailes, etc.) or spoons such as Crocodiles, KO Wobbers, etc.  Sometimes still-fishing whole cisco will work in these same areas too.

Remember the trout limit is two fish.  Cutthroat trout with a healed fin clip may be kept; cutthroat trout with all fins intact must be immediately released.  Large lake trout take a long time to reach large sizes, and while they are legal to keep, many anglers are encouraging other anglers to release them.    

Garden City Community Fishery Pond

This pond is frozen but there have been no reports on ice thickness.  Please be care if you venture out on the ice.  Fish with ice flies tipped with maggots or worms.  Small jigging spoons can also work well.   Please use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing. 

Laketown Reservoir

Laketown Reservoir is frozen and ice is about 3-4” thick along the dam area.  Be cautious on the ice and watch out for thin spots.  Keep away from the inflow area due to poor ice conditions.  Use small jigs or small spoons tipped with meal worms or night crawlers.  Access by vehicle is still possible at this time, but if the snow depth increases it will only be accessible by skiing, hiking or snowmobiles.  There are no services at Laketown Reservoir, so PLEASE clean up after yourself.  It is even a good idea to bring along a small trash bag and pick up any other litter you may see.  If you do fish, don’t forget to use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing. 

Little Creek (Randolph) Reservoir

There is about 10” of ice on Little Creek Reservoir and road has been plowed right up to the parking lot. The reservoir level is rising so ice along the shoreline is thinner.  Use caution when accessing the cie.  Anglers have been catching rainbow trout up to about 14”  The best luck has been using small jigs and small jigging spoons tipped Powerbait, worms, and maggots.  

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
371 West Marina Dr.
Box 231
Garden City, UT  84028
(435) 946-8501 phone & fax

Where else can you get 365 days of fishing, fun, food and memories for just $34 (or get a combination license for just $4 more so you can fish and hunt)? Buy your license at