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!

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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

Ice Fishing on Bear Lake in Idaho and Utah

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Bear Lake is once again open water but there is still a significant amount of ice floating around on the lake.  Depending on wind direction, the ice could push up along the east shoreline and make launching/retrieving your boat difficult.  As of today, there is access at both the First Point and Rainbow Cove ramps and courtesy docks are in place at both locations.  The state park marina is free of ice.  If you do go out, be careful of floating chunks of ice that may be as thick as 6” and can damage your boat if you hit them going fast. 

Fishing for cutthroat trout, lake trout and whitefish has been very good to excellent for anglers who have ventured out.  Jigging has been working the best, but anglers are picking up fish trolling as well.  If you are jigging, use tube jigs or swim baits in ½ to 1 ounce sizes and 3-6” long for trout.  Tip them with a piece of cisco, sucker meat or Gulp minnows and fish the jigs right on the bottom.  Reliable colors are white, green and chartreuse.   If you are fishing for whitefish, use a 1/8-1/4 ounce jig or a vertical jigging spoon such as Swedish Pimples or Kastmasters.  Try tipping them with a salmon egg, maggot nightcrawler.  Hot spots have been on the “rockpile” in 45-65’ of water, so move around until you find active fish. Also try off the weeds beds south of Gus Rich Point, at the pump house and between 1st and 2nd Points.  Start in about 25’ of water and keep moving out until you catch fish. 

If you are trolling try using rapalas in F9-F13 sizes and also with a dodger/squid combination along Cisco Beach in 30’ and deeper depths. We received several reports from anglers who did very well the past few days.   

Some anglers have been casting from shore or long lining off Cisco Beach and have been catching a few cutthroat trout.  The fishing should remain good in these locations for the remainder of the winter.  Cast large (#5-#6) spinners (such as Mepps or Blue Fox) or spoons and 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 also work for those anglers using fly fishing equipment.   

Remember the trout limit is two fish and the whitefish limit is 10.  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 is frozen and has about 12” of ice.  Ice fishing has been fair for rainbow trout.  Use small jigging spoons or very small ice flies tipped with a wax worm or piece of wor.   Please use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing. Be cautious on the ice and avoid the aerator at the middle of the pond.

Laketown Reservoir

Laketown Reservoir is frozen with about 12” of ice and ice fishing should be good for anglers using using small ice flies tipped with wax or meal worms.   You can also try tipping your lures with a small piece of night crawler too.  Access to Laketown Resevoir will be dependent on the amount of snow that is received in the area.  Snowmobiles and snowshoes are recommended.

Little Creek (Randolph) Reservoir

Ice is about a foot or more thick and fishing has been very good for some fat, 12-15” rainbow trout.  The best luck has been using small jigs tipped powerbait, worms, and maggots.  You can drive right to the reservoir and park on the southeast corner lot.

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

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