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Fishing for cutthroat trout has been excellent at Bear Lake and is expected to stay that way through January! 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. If there are any storms and the courtesy dock becomes iced-up along the east side, the State Park will remove the docks for the season. The ramps will be open for launching be be aware there may not be any docks in the water. If you require a dock then use the Utah State Park marina.

In addition to cutthroat trout, anglers are also catching good numbers of lake trout. The fishing for Bonneville whitefish has slowed down but anglers can expect that fishing to get better in mid to late January.

Anglers catching cutthroat trout and lake trout are seeing productive results with jigging as well as with 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 50 to 80 feet of water and good spots have been off the “rockpile” area off of Ideal Beach. Good spots have also been reported along First and Second points on the east side of the lake and the “rockpiles” just north of the Utah State Park marina in about 40 feet of water.

Anglers who are trolling are using downriggers in the same depths as jigging but using flatfish and jointed minnow-type lures fished very close to the bottom or even bumping the bottom occasionally. The same areas listed above for jigging are also the areas to target when trolling. Anglers who are casting from shore are having some luck off the Utah State Park marina, 2nd Point and Cisco Beach. 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 same areas using cisco, sucker or other fish for bait.

The Bonneville whitefish spawning run is winding down and fishing should pick up once again for whitefish during the Bonneville cisco run from mid-Janaury through early February. Whitefish feed on cisco eggs so use a small vertical jigging spoon such as a Kastmaster or Swedish Pimple and tip the spoon with a salmon egg or meal worm. Jig it right on the bottom where the cisco spawn (the “rockpile” off Ideal Beach, off the Utah State Park marina and off Cisco Beach). Try fishing in anywhere from 15 to 45 feet of water. You can also use 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. It really helps to use a braided line/super line with a 4 to 5 feet long monofilament leader in order to feel the bottom with the lightweight lures and to detect the whitefish bites. Don’t be surprised if you hook into a big cutthroat and/or a lake trout while fishing for whitefish. Reminder: 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. (December 21, 2021)

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