Spring Fishing in Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho
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, January 21, 2020

Bear Lake has received significant snow in the last week, but boat ramps continue to be plowed and sanded.  As of today there are large sheets of ice floating on the north, west and south ends of the lake, which is making boating/fishing difficult.  However, this can change in a matter of hours if there is any wind.  Launching access is available at the Utah State Park marina and Rainbow Cove Ramps (no dock at this location).  The First Point ramp is not accessible to do ice on the lake at this time.  Please note there is NO ice for ice fishing! 

Bonneville Cisco are being caught from boats off the “rockpile” area and also off the area just outside the Utah State Park Marina.  You should also be able to jig Cisco off the weed beds south of Gus Rich Point as well as the Pump House area (if there isn’t too much ice preventing access).  We have not seen any Cisco at Cisco Beach as of this morning, but a few anglers are beginning to dipnet some Cisco off the Utah State Park Marina.  We expect Cisco to show up along Cisco Beach any day.  Dipnetting success will depend on the weather:  if it is calm anglers should be able to do well;  if it is windy it will be difficult to dipnet any fish. 

Fishing for cutthroat trout and lake trout has been good for few anglers who have been able to get out.  Jigging has been working well.  If you are jigging, use tube jigs or swim baits in ½ to 1 ounce sizes and 3-6” long.  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.   Hot spots have been on the “rockpile” in 45-65’ of water, so move around until you find active fish. 

Due to ice sheets on the lake the only area open to trolling has been on the east side along Cisco Beach.  Troll with Rapalas in F9-F13 sizes and Dodgers with a squid or whole Cisco.  Try staring at 45-65’ and run your lures just off the bottom, but cutthroat and lake trout can be found suspended at this time of year, so pay attention to your sonar and try to target these suspended fish as well as those that are along the bottom.   

Some anglers have been casting from shore 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, the Cisco limit is 30, 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 work.   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.

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