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, October 26, 2020

Bear Lake surface water temperature is 53 degrees.  All boat ramps are available for launching at this time.  This includes the Bear Lake State Park marina, First Point, Cisco Beach and Rainbow Cove.  You can also launch boats at the inlet structure in Idaho at the very north end of the lake and at the Idaho State Park east side. 

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources sampled Bear Lake with gill nets last week and found the following:  The lake is beginning to “turn over” right now and will continue to do so for the next few weeks.  What this means as the surface water temperatures begin cooling, that water becomes more dense and sinks which in turn moves the warmer water toward the surface.  As this occurs, the lake becomes isothermic (meaning it is nearly the same temperature from the surface to the bottom).  With this turn over, fish start moving.  However, cutthroat trout are still  being found very deep (100-125’ of water) and close to the bottom.  The cutthroat can be found in shallower depths, but the highest concentrations of fish were in the deeper depths.  Lake trout were found mainly close to shore and will be concentrated near rocky shoreline areas since they are in their spawning season.  Good spots for anglers to fish are off the Utah State Park Marina, along Cisco Beach and off the North Beach jetty.  I spoke with a few anglers and they were catching fish casting large spinners (#5 and #6 Vibrax, Mepps, Rooster Tailes, etc.) from shore as well as spoons such as Crocodiles, KO Wobbers, etc.

If you want to troll try trolling spinners or spoons off either flat lines or downriggers depending on the depth you are fishing.   Another really good lure at this time is U-20 and larger flatfish in chrome or bright neon colors.  Keep the lures running close to the bottom regardless of the depth.   You can also pick up some nice cutthroat trout doing the same thing as you would for lake trout.  

A few anglers have been jigging, but trolling or casting has been much better for success.  If you choose to jig, try fishing the same areas and depths as recommended for trolling.  Use tube jigs tipped with cisco or you can also try fishing swim baits in ½ to 1 ounce sizes.  Fish them slow and close to the bottom.  Tip them with a piece of cisco, sucker meat or Gulp minnow.  Reliable colors are white, green and chartreuse. 

The lake trout run should continue until about mid-November.  The Bonneville whitefish spawning run should begin sometime after Thanksgiving and continue until mid-December.

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 has been fishing well and the pond is full.  The UDWR stocked Garden City pond for the last time this year with sterile rainbow trout.  Weed growth is dying down so try casting small spinners (#0-2) or still fishing with a worm or wax worm under a bobber.  Perhaps the best method is casting a clear plastic bubble with a nymph in size 12-14 or a wooly bugger in size 6-8 about 3-4 feet behind the bubble.  Retrieve it slowly so the fly is just under the water’s surface.  Please use the self-service creel cards and let the UDWR know how you did fishing. 

Laketown Reservoir

Laketown Reservoir’s water level is increasing and weeds are dying back so the fishing is improving.  Try casting small spinners (#0-2) or still fishing with a worm or wax worm under a bobber.  Perhaps the best method is casting a clear plastic bubble with a nymph in size 12-14 or a wooly bugger in size 6-8 about 3-4 feet behind the bubble.  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 is about 10’ below full but is currently filling at this time.  Some anglers have been catching rainbow trout up to about 14”  The best luck has been using small jigs tipped Powerbait, worms, and maggots.  

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.