Bear Lake Fishing at Bear Lake continues to improve as the water temperature continues to cool! Boats can be launched at all of the boat ramps on the Utah side of the lake (the Bear Lake State Park Marina, First Point, and Rainbow Cove). You can also launch at the inlet structure in Idaho. The structure is at North Beach State Park, at the very north end of the lake.
The surface water temperature is about 50 degrees. Fishing has been especially good for cutthroat trout and lake trout this past week. Some days can be slower than others, but overall, fishing is good, and its only going to get better. Anglers who are jigging are doing better right now than those who are trolling. When jigging, use a ½- to 1-ounce jig with a tube, twister tail or swim bait tipped with a piece of cisco or other fish meat. Jig right on the bottom, bumping bottom and coming up about 12 to 18 inches. Many of the strikes happen when the jig is falling back to the bottom, so pay close attention to your line. If you notice the lure/line has stopped sinking, set the hook, and hold on! Boat anglers are finding the best success jigging in 60 to 90 feet of water.
Good spots have been along First and Second points on the east side of the lake. However, fishing the rockpile area off of Ideal Beach, on the west side of the lake, should start to turn on soon. If you prefer to troll, use downriggers to get your Flatfish and jointed Rapalas very close to the bottom, or even bumping the bottom occasionally. The east side shore from First Point north to the Idaho State Park should be a good area to try trolling at this time. Try different depths anywhere from 30 to 100 feet of water until you find active fish. Once you do, keep circling the general area to stay on the bite! Anglers who are casting from shore are having some luck off the Utah State Park Marina, Cisco Beach and off the North Beach Jetty. When casting from shore, use large (#5 or #6) Mepps or Blue Fox Vibrax spinners, or large spoons like Dardevles. Try to keep the lure moving and close to the bottom. You can also still-fish in these areas using cisco, sucker or other fish for bait.
Bonneville whitefish should begin spawning around the Thanksgiving weekend and continue until mid-December. These fish should be readily available to both shore and boat anglers. Rocky shoreline areas in 5 to 15 feet of water is the best place to target these fish. Use 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jigs in a variety of colors (white, black and yellow are all popular), and tip the jig with a piece of worm or meal worm. Bounce the jig along the bottom, trying not to get it snagged. Whitefish are very aggressive some days and bite very lightly on others, so pay close attention to your fishing line. Use a light- or medium-action spinning rod with 4- to 6-pound line. Using a braided line/super line with a 4- to 5-foot-long monofilament leader is an even better idea. The braided lines transmit the light bites better than monofilament does. You can also cast small spinners (#1 or #2) or small spoons in about an 1/8-ounce size. Tipping the lure with bait can sometimes make a huge difference in the number of fish you catch. Dont be tempted to use an electric trolling motor while fishing for whitefish. The fish spawn in shallow depths and the water at Bear Lake is very clear. Using a trolling motor to spot lock or hover over a promising location will only scare the fish. Instead, anchor your boat and cast, or, if theres no wind, simply allow it to drift on the water. The daily whitefish limit is 10 fish. Dont be surprised if you hook into a big cutthroat or lake trout while fishing for whitefish. The trout will be in the shallows, chasing juvenile whitefish and sculpin that are in the shallows to feed on the eggs the spawning whitefish will deposit. 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. The fin clip regulation will change, but not until January 2022. 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.