Bear Lake Fishing & Ice Fishing

Bear Lake Fishing & Ice Fishing
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).

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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.

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Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing on Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho

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.

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. Visit our Bear Lake Monster Winterfest page to learn more about Cisco fishing.

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.

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

Monday, November 7, 2022

Boats can be launched at the Utah State Park, First Point and Rainbow Cove ramps.  Water is levels on east side at First Point and Rainbow Cove are now considered “use at your own risk”, due to concrete at the end of the ramp having a drop off of nearly a foot or more.  Make sure you decide to use these two ramps that you don’t back your trailer tires over the bottom edge so it becomes difficult to pull your boat/trailer back out.  This will also prevent costly damage the trailer, especially on larger boats!  The “low water concrete ramp” at Cisco Beach is now useable, however, you will need four wheel drive to use this ramp due to the rock shoreline above the ramp. 

Surface water temperature has dropped into the 50s.  Lake trout are still spawning, but it is slowing down.  However, with the cooler water temperatures, both cutthroat and lake trout can now be found in the shallower waters.  Anglers are catching fish trolling with flatfish and jointed minnow lures in bright colors (yellows/oranges) off Cisco Beach in 20-80’ of water using downriggers or lead-core line.  Try to keep your lure close to the bottom, or in some cases digging into the bottom. 

For those anglers fishing from shore, lake trout are still being caught off the Utah State Park marina, North Beach Jetty, and along Cisco Beach.  Anglers are also catching some cutthroat trout in these same areas too.  If you are casting try large spinners (#5 and #6) like Mepps, Vibrax, and Roostertails.  If you are fly fishing try large sculpin patterns or large, articulated bunny fur leach patterns. 

As the lake trout spawn winds down, the fish will begin feeding and jigging from boats for both lake trout and cutthroat trout should improve.  Good spots to try are off the rockpile, 1st Point, 2nd Point and off the rockpiles just north of the Utah State Park Marina.  Try from about 30-80’ and keep moving until you find active fish.  Use a 1/2- to 1-ounce jig with a 4-6” tube, twister tail or swim bait tipped with a piece of cisco or other fish meat. Let the jig bounce right on the bottom and lifting up 12 to 18 inches. Many of the strikes happen when the lure is falling back to the bottom, so pay attention to your line. If you notice the lure/line stops sinking, set the hook and hold on!

Reminder: The trout limit is two fish. There is no longer a fin clip regulation for cutthroat trout so any cutthroat trout can be kept up to the two fish limit. Lake trout take a long time to reach a large size. While large lake trout are legal to keep, many anglers are encouraging other anglers to release them.  If you plan on releasing fish, try to land the fish quickly and then get the fish back into the water without any delays.  You may consider using a “descending device” which allows you to decompress fish and release it into the deeper water.

Garden City Pond and Laketown Reservoirs:

Both waters have nearly full pools and were stocked for the fall.  Fishing should be good at both waters.  If you are bait fishing try worms, marshmallows and power bait suspended below a bobber.  You can try casting using small spinners or spoons too.  If you want to fly fish, try a green or brown leach pattern or a variety of nymphs on a sinking tip line.

More information: If you’re looking for fishing information between the emailed reports, you’re welcome to call our Bear Lake office answering machine at 435-946-8501. We try to provide updated weather and fishing condition information as conditions change. Please call after 5 p.m.!

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

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