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

Monday, April 18, 2022

The ice on Bear Lake has thawed and there is now 100% open water as of Monday 4/18.  Boats can be launched at the Utah State Park marina only.  The First Point and Rainbow Cove ramps have ice stacked along the shoreline and the State Park is working to clear that ice and get the courtesy docks reinstalled. 

We don’t have an updated on-the-lake fishing report since no one has been able to access the lake in several weeks due to deteriorated ice and no open water.  However, historically when the lake first opens up after ice cover, fishing is typically very good.  The fish have not seen a lure in nearly a month!  Good spots to try when trolling are from First Point North to the scout camp, along the delta areas are North and South Eden, parallel to the shoreline at Cisco Beach and from the state park marina north to Fish Haven Creek.  Since the water is still very cold, troll slowly with flat lines in shallow water 10-25’ deep.  Run your lines 150’ or more behind the boat.  The fish are easily spooked by the boats in the shallow water, but will move back into areas after the boat passes.  This can be a very productive method in the early season. 

If you are jigging, try water depths ranging from 25 to 60 feet deep in the same areas as listed for trolling.  Use a 1/2- to 1-ounce jig with a tube, twister tail or swim bait tipped with a piece of cisco or other fish meat. You can also use a 1/2-ounce jigging spoon such as a Kastmaster or Swedish Pimple. Jig right on the bottom, bumping bottom and coming up about 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. The fin clip regulation for cutthroat trout changed in January 2022 and 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.

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.  The next update will take place on Monday, February 14th.  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

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.