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, November 24, 2020

Boat ramps that are available for launching at this time include: the Bear Lake State Park marina, First Point, and Rainbow Cove.  Courtesy docks are still in the water at all locations, however the docks on the east side can be pulled out if they begin to ice-up.   

The Bonneville whitefish run should begin any day.  Anglers either fishing from shore or a boat should be able to do well if they are fishing from rocky shorelines.  Good spots to try are off the Utah State Park marina, Cisco Beach and 2nd Point.  You want to use light line (4-6lb mono) or preferably one of the superlines in order to detect the light bites.  Use 1/8 or smaller jigs or similar sized jigging spoons (Swedish Pimple, etc).  It helps if you tip the lure with a small piece of nightcrawler or a Gulp worm.  Finally, and most importantly, fish your lure so it is in contact with the bottom or very close to it.  Snagging once in a while assures you that your lure is in the strike zone for these fish.   Don’t be surprised to hook into a cutthroat trout or lake trout while fishing for whitefish. 

As far as trout fishing goes, it is heating up and just going to get better.  Use ½ to 1 ounce jigs tipped with Bonneville cisco (sucker or carp meat also work well).  Fish in 30-75’ of water off the “rockpile”, pump house, 1st or 2nd Points, or off Cisco Beach.  If you are trolling, use downriggers with flatfish, rapalas, or spoons.  Again, fish close to the bottom, but don’t ignore the suspended fish you may see on your sonar.  Target those fish with deep diving lures not on the downrigger but 100-125’ behind the boat. 

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.    The whitefish limit is 10 fish.   

Garden City Community Fishery Pond

This pond is full and mostly frozen over at this time, but the ice is not thick enough for fishing.  This water should provide good fishing for sterile rainbow trout.  Once the ice is thick enough, try small ice flies below a jigging spoon or simply powerbait ona  hook.  Please use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing. 

Laketown Reservoir

Laketown Reservoir’s is full and it is mostly frozen over at this time, but the ice is not thick enough for fishing.  The gravel road to the reservoir was improved some this fall and access by car is possible.  However, access will depend on snow depth.  Currently there is very little snow on the ground and you can easily drive to the reservoir.  Once the ice is thick enough for fishing, use small jigging spoons or ice flys tipped with a worm or maggot. 

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

The reservoir level is rising and mostly frozen over at this time, but the ice is not thick enough for fishing.  Once this water has ice thick enough for fishing, try using ice flys tipped with worms or maggots.  The fishing can be fast for rainbows.

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.