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!
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.
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.
CAUTION TO POACHERS!
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
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Launching access is available at all boat ramps around the lake. These include the Utah State Park marina, First Point, Cisco Beach and Rainbow Cove in Utah and the Idaho State Park (east side) and North Beach boat ramps. Courtesy docks are in the water at all locations. The lake reached its lowest point last week and now water is being diverted into the lake from the Bear River, so lake levels will slowly begin rise.
Fishing has definitely started to pick up. Anglers are doing well jigging for cutthroat and a few lake trout on the rockpile in about 55′-65’. Tube jigs or swim baits in ½ to 1 ounce sizes and 3-6” long tipped with cisco, sucker meat or Gulp minnows. Reliable colors are white, green and chartreuse.
Anglers are catching lake trout by trolling with flatfish and jointed raplas along Cisco Beach, Rainbow Cove, the mouth of North Eden canyon and off the Idaho State Park in 15-40’ of water and some fish are being caught deeper. The lake trout spawning run should begin any time and continue through mid-November. During the spawn, the lake trout don’t feed, but they strike lures out of aggression. Target those fish by keeping your lures close to bottom over rocky areas. We haven’t received any reports of anglers casting from shore off the marina or North Beach area, but with the higher water levels, the fishing should be good in these locations the remainder of the fall. Cast large (#5-#6) spinners such as Mepps or Blue Fox. Let the lure sink and try to retrieve it where it is running close to the bottom. Large articulated flies in white rabbit fur or a sculpin pattern will work for those anglers using fly fishing equipment. Any foul hooked fish must be immediately released, so don’t risk a ticket.
When trolling, use downriggers and with U-20 to T-4 flatfish or J-11 and J-13 jointed rapalas. Pay attention to your sonar and search for fish close to the bottom. During the lake trout spawn, the fishing can be really hot one day and really slow the next, so don’t give up. Sometimes the fishing is better in the mornings, but several anglers this past week said they did better in the afternoons. Popular colors are chrome, white, and fluorescent yellow or orange.
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
The pond water levels are high and fishing should be good for brood sized cutthroat trout as well as catchable (10”) sized rainbow trout. Good fishing should continue throughout the fall right up until the pond freezes. When fly fishing, try dry flies or nymphs/wooly buggers just under the surface. You can also cast with small spinners and fishing with worms or powerbait under a bobber is always a good bet. Please use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing.
Laketown Reservoir fishing has been good for anglers using using flies behind a bubble. Weed are starting to subside, so bait fishing should improve. Anglers are catching a few cutthroat trout brood and some nice sized rainbow trout. You can also try casing with small spinners and bait fishing with powerbait and worms. If fly fishing, use nymphs or wooly buggers in a dark green or brown color.
Scott A. Tolentino, Fisheries Biologist
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
371 West Marina Dr.
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 wildlife.utah.gov