The surface water temperature is 53 degrees, and all of the boat ramps are open for launching. This includes ramps at 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 ramp. The lake is starting to “turn over” and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. Turn over begins when the water on the surface starts to cool. As the water cools, it gets denser. Eventually, the surface water is dense enough that it sinks to the bottom, causing the warmer water on the bottom to move to the surface. When this occurs, the lake becomes isothermic, meaning the water temperature is nearly the same, from the surface of the lake to the bottom. When turn over happens, fish start moving. However, during a gillnet survey we conducted at Bear Lake last week, we found cutthroat trout were still in very deep depths (100 to 125 feet of water) and close to the bottom. We also found cutthroat in shallower depths, but the highest concentrations of fish were in the deeper depths. Lake trout are spawning right now, and most of the lake trout we found were close to shore. They’re concentrated near rocky shoreline areas right now, making those areas great places to fish. If you enjoy fishing from shore, off the Utah State Park Marina, along Cisco Beach and off the North Beach jetty are good spots to fish right now. I spoke with a few shore anglers, and they were catching fish casting large spinners (#5 and #6 Vibrax, Mepps, Rooster Tails, etc.). Spoons, such as Crocodiles and KO Wobblers, are also working for shore anglers right now. If you want to troll, try trolling spinners or spoons off either flat lines or downriggers. What you use will depend on the depth you’re fishing. Another really good lure to try right now is U-20 and larger flatfish in chrome or bright neon colors. No matter what depth you’re fishing, keep the lures running close to the bottom. You can also pick up some nice cutthroat trout using the same techniques you’d use for lake trout. A few anglers have been jigging, but trolling or casting are producing better results. If you decide to jig, try fishing the same areas and depths as those recommended for trolling. Use tube jigs tipped with cisco, or try fishing swim baits in ½- to 1-ounce sizes. Tip them with a piece of cisco, sucker meat or Gulp minnow, and fish them slow and close to the bottom. White, green and chartreuse are reliable colors. 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. While they’re legal to keep, many anglers are encouraging other anglers to release them.
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