Fishing Tips For Bear Lake


Montpelier, ID angler extraordinaire Terry Allred shares his fishing tips (below) for Bear Lake with you. You can see Terry in action in our “Outdoor Idaho” documentary, “Bear Lake Country.”


Have Rod, Will Travel

Welcome to the wonderful world of fishing Bear Lake. Bear Lake is located on the southeast border of Idaho and the northeast border of Utah.

Fisherman may fish for Macks (Lake Trout), cutthroat, Whitefish and Cisco in the lake all year long. My preference for fishing each of these species is as follows:


With the aid of a fish finder and a boat, run your line at different depths to find out where the fish are. Lake trout usually run from 45 to 90 feet. After you locate them, take your favorite lure and begin trolling. The most popular method is with a down rigger. The two most popular lures are the Quickfish or Flatfish in chrone or blue and chrome.

The two most popular locations are from the Idaho State Park on the east side to the south end of Cisco beach in the Utah State Park. Another popular place is the “rock Pile” on the southwest part of the lake straight out from the Sweetwater Resort.

Another method of fishing for lake trout is “long lining.” This is done by putting a piece of sucker or cisco meat on a hook and running your boat three or four hundred feet into the lake. Then drop your bait, return to the shore and wait for the fish to bite.


Cutthroat are fished for with the same method as you use for lake trout except the depth is 14 to 45 feet. My lure of choice for these fish is the Perch or silver Rapala. Pop gear or cowbells may also be used for both of these species.


Whitefish are normally caught late in the year by a method called “jigging.” This is done by raising your fishing pole up and down from either a boat or a hole cut in the ice. The most popular lures are small Marabou or bucktail jigs tipped with the bait of your choice. Small cast masters above a treble hook are also popular. 15 to 40 feet of water is the most productive for whitefish. This method is also good for catching lake trout and cutthroat in deeper water, although you need to use larger jigs and bait.


Cisco are caught using a dip net during late January just off the shore of Cisco beach on the east side of the lake. Chest waders are a must when the lake is not frozen. When the lake is frozen, a hole is cut in the ice and fish are netted there. Cisco are also caught by jigging while you are fishing for whitefish.


There is a two fish limit on cutthroat and lake trout. Cutthroat must have a clipped fin.

Either a Utah or Idaho license is accepted on all parts of the lake.

The Idaho state record cutthroat, weighing 18 lbs. 15 oz., was caught on Bear Lake.

When the wind is blowing, watch the horizon above the water very closely for the buildup of high waves that can make fishing Bear Lake very dangerous.

“Happy Fishing and Hope to See you There!”