Bear Lake has received some snow in the last few days, but the boat ramps have been plowed and sanded. More snow is expected over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so be prepared to launch in winter conditions. Launching access is currently available at all boat ramps around the lake. These include the Utah State Park marina, First Point, Cisco Beach and Rainbow Cove in Utah, and the Idaho State Park (east side) and North Beach boat ramps in Idaho. Courtesy docks are in the water at all locations except the Cisco Beach and Idaho State Park (east side) ramps, but other docks may be pulled out at any time if they begin icing up. The lake reached its lowest point of the year in late October and has been slowing increasing in elevation. The current elevation is approximately 5917.90 feet, which is about a foot higher than last year at this same time. More than 200 cfs of water is being diverted into the lake from the Bear River. Fishing for cutthroat trout and lake trout has been good for anglers who are trolling or jigging. If you’re trolling, use downriggers with U-20 to T-4 sized flatfish and Rapalas in F9 — F13 sizes. Most anglers are using chrome, white, and fluorescent yellow or orange colors. Hot spots have been off Cisco Beach, and 1st and 2nd Points. If you’re fishing off the west side of the lake, try off the Utah State Park marina, the rockpile off Ideal Beach, and the area south of Gus Rich point to the Rest Area. Begin in about 30 feet of water, and then move deeper or shallower until you find the fish. Most fish have been caught in 45 to 65 feet of water, but some cutthroat are being caught on flat lines trolled only 10 feet under the surface. If you’re jigging, use tube jigs or swim baits in ½- to 1-ounce sizes and 3 to 6 inches long. Tip them with a piece of cisco, sucker meat or Gulp minnows, and fish the jigs right on the bottom. Reliable colors are white, green and chartreuse. Some anglers have been casting from shore off the marina, Cisco Beach and North Beach and doing quite well for both cutthroat trout and lake trout. Fishing should remain good in these locations for the remainder of the winter. Cast large (#5 to #6) spinners (such as Mepps or Blue Fox) or spoons, let the lure sink and then try to retrieve it so the lure is running close to the bottom. Large articulated flies in white rabbit fur or a sculpin pattern will also work for anglers using fly fishing equipment. The Bonneville whitefish run is just beginning and will only get better during the next two weeks. Fish over rocky shoreline area in 5 to 15 feet of water. Use medium spinning rods with 6-pound mono or a braided line that’s even thinner. Using light line will help you detect the light bite of the whitefish and allows a more natural presentation of your lures. Cast jigs, spinners and spoons tipped with worms or Gulp minnows/worms. Work the jigs by bouncing them along the bottom. If you’re casting other lures, retrieve them slowly so they’re close to the bottom. If you’re not snagging the bottom once in a while, then you’re likely working your jig or lure too far off the bottom. You can catch Bonneville whitefish from a boat or simply by casting from shore. If fishing from shore, it helps to wear waders or hip boots. They’ll allow you to cast out a little farther from shore and work the water that is 5 feet or deeper a lot more easily. If fishing from a boat, do not use your electric motor to “spot lock/anchor” in the shallow water, since it most definitely spooks the Bonneville whitefish around your boat. Use a regular anchor to hold your location and also minimize any noise in your boat. Good spots to try for Bonneville whitefish include off the Utah State Park marina and directly off Cisco Beach.

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