Bear Lake is a beautiful mountain lake and cold-water fishery, split between Utah and Idaho. It is perhaps most famous for its trophy-sized trout that are frequently caught in winter during the ice cover.

Location: On Hwy 89, 38 miles east of Logan.

  • Lat: 41°56’40.0 N
  • Long: 111°23’18.1 W

See our reports on Bear Lake:

Species: Cutthroat, Lake Trout, Bonneville Whitefish, Bonneville Cisco, Bear Lake Whitefish.

Special regulations:

  • Limit 2 trout.
  • Anglers may keep foul-hooked Bonneville cisco that are taken through normal, legal fishing activities.
  • Cutthroat trout or trout with cutthroat markings with all fins intact must be immediately released. Only cutthroat trout that have had one or more healed fins clipped may be kept.
  • Cisco may be taken with a handheld dipnet. Net opening may not exceed 18 inches in any dimension. When dipnetting through the ice, the size of the hole is unrestricted.
  • When ice fishing for fish other than cisco, the size of the hole may not exceed 18 inches.
  • Any angler who possesses a valid Utah or Idaho fishing or combination license may fish within both the Utah and Idaho boundaries of Bear Lake.
  • An angler may fish with up to two poles on all areas of the Utah portion of Bear Lake that are open to fishing. Anglers must comply with Idaho regulations if they want to use more than one pole when fishing on the Idaho portion of Bear Lake.
  • A person may not possess a multipoint hook with a weight permanently or rigidly attached directly to the shank — or a weight suspended below a multipoint hook — unless the hook is on an unweighted dropper line that is at least three inches long.
  • Visit the DWR for a full list of regulations on Bear Lake and its tributaries.

Seasonality:

Mornings are definitely best. Action begins at dawn and builds until about 10 a.m., then starts to slow. Fish can be caught through the afternoon and evening, but these times are not particularly productive at Bear Lake.

  • Fish the cycles. Fish behavior in Bear Lake is very cyclic. Action is generally good through the summer and early fall, then becomes very good in the late fall and winter. Fish of any species can be caught at any time of year but in general success will be better if you target certain species at particular times:
  • Whitefish spawn from late November into mid December. At this time they come in close to shore and are fairly easy to find and catch. They stay in rocky areas near the bottom. They are aggressive fish with some growing as big as 15 inches. They make excellent table fare.
  • Cutthroat become more active in mid December and fishing improves dramatically until ice-up, usually in mid January. Ice fishing is usually good through February. There are trophy cutts in Bear Lake, mostly caught ice fishing.
  • Cisco spawn in mid January. They come into shallow water along Cisco Beach and can be netted or caught jigging. They also spawn in other areas around the lake but these spots are not as well known or accessible.
  • Lake trout can be caught sporadically through the year. In late October and early November the lake trout spawn and become more accessible.

Recommendations:

  • Troll for cutthroat and lake trout. Use large Rapalas or Flatfish in black, silver, pearl or chartreuse. Use a fish finder to determine the depth to fish. In general active fish will be 40 feet or deeper in the summer, 30-40 feet in the fall and winter, and will range through the entire water column during the spring. During the spring fish can be taken trolling monofilament, with no other gear needed.
  • Jig. Use a gitzit or single tailed grub, Mack Attack or jigging lure. Tip the jig with a cisco tail or with sucker meat. Jigging is very productive through the ice; it is also an effective way to fish from a boat or float tube before the lake freezes.
  • Mooch. Drift while dragging a cisco tail over the rocks along the bottom. This is a particularly good technique when fish are in relatively shallow water during spawning periods.
  • Dip net for the cisco during the spawn, in mid January. If the lake is frozen cut a large hole in the ice over water deep enough that you can just reach bottom with your long-handled net. Lower the net to the bottom and then wait until fish move over it. Dance a shinny jig or lure over the net to attract fish to the area. First light is the best time to net cisco.

Key Attractions:

  • Handicapped accessible in certain areas.
  • Bear Lake is located within the state park of the same name, known for its beautiful mountain scenery, hikes, and stunning blue water.
  • Trophy Lake Trout and Cutthroats.