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.

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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. 

Cutthroat trout and lake trout fishing has been fair this past week.  The best luck has been for anglers trolling on the east side of the lake in 30-80’ of water using crankbaits with rattles off downriggers fished close to the bottom.  It pays to keep searching for fish until you find some active fish.  Also, with the warmer weather it may pay to troll off the mouths of the tributary streams (until they close on April 15th).  Cutthroat trout may be staging just off the mouths of the tributary streams prior to their spawning run.  You might consider anchoring and then casting (flys, spinner, or spoons) since the water depth is fairly shallow and if you are trolling it will spook the fish.  Additionally, vertically jigging using tube jigs tipped with cisco can work off the tributary mouths.  Use swim baits in ½ to 1 ounce sizes and 4-6” long.  Fish your jig slow and close to the bottom.  Reliable colors are white, green and chartreuse.

The Bear Lake sculpin will begin spawning any day now and continue for the next few weeks.  Look for flocks of diving ducks along the shoreline and you will know where the sculpin are spawning.  In these same areas, try fishing from shore using large sculpin pattern or bunny fur flys on sinking-tip fly line.  Or you can cast #5 or #6 spinners (Vibrax is a good choice) or cast with larger spoons.  Work the lure as close to bottom as possible.  Cutthroat trout and lake trout will follow the sculpin into the shallower depths.  Water temperatures are still cold enough that cutthroat and lake trout can be in as shallow as 3-5’ of water along the shorelines. 

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 now open water and anglers report that fishing is good for rainbow trout with worms under a bobber or casing with small spinners.  Don’t overlook casing wooly buggers with a  fly rod or with a fly behind a bubble.  Please use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing. 

Laketown Reservoir

Laketown Reservoir is also open water and access is good with road improvements made last fall.  Cast small spinners or spoons tipped with meal worms or night crawlers.  Green or brown wooly buggers are also a good bet at this time of year.  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. 

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 wildlife.utah.gov.