The Bonneville whitefish spawning run at Bear Lake is in full swing and fishing for them is red hot--right now! The whitefish have moved into shallow rocky areas off the shoreline on both the east and west sides of the lake and they can be caught either from boat or from shore. The fish are quite aggressive at this time of year and they will readily hit lures such as small jigs, small spoons and small spinners.

Fishing Tips For Whitefish

If you plan on fishing from shore, chest waders or hip boots allow you to cast farther by walking out a few extra feet from shore. If you are in a boat, anchor in about eight to10 feet of water and either jig vertically under the boat or make short casts retrieving your lure right off the bottom. Popular lures include 1/8-ounce jigs with marabou, twister tails or small tubes. Any color will work, but black and white are favorite colors for most fishermen. Fish with the jig bumping along the bottom--if you don't snag up on a rock occasionally, you either need to slow down your presentation or move to an area with more rocks. Some anglers also like to cast small spoons, such as Little Cleos or #1 sized spinners, from shore. You can "tip" the lure with a piece of night crawler or meal worm, but it really isn't necessary, since the fish are hitting more out of aggression than feeding this time of year. Use a light rod with four- to eight-pound test line--lighter is better.

The whitefish limit is a liberal 10 fish, so come up to Bear Lake and try your hand at catching one of Utah's true native sport fish species! Bonneville whitefish are excellent eating (much better than their river dwelling cousins, the mountain whitefish). Pound-for-pound they fight better than trout.

Cutthroat Trout

Anglers are also catching cutthroat trout while fishing for whitefish in the shallow rocky areas. Cutthroat trout move in to feed on juvenile whitefish and whitefish eggs. Jigging in 50 to 60 feet of water off the east side around Cisco Beach, Rainbow Cove, and the pump house has been producing some cutthroat trout and lake trout. Jigging with tube jigs tipped with cisco off the rock pile at Ideal Beach in about 35 to 40 feet of water has also been working for cutthroat.

Try locating fish with your sonar, then anchor and fish by vertically jigging. Fish can be found in just about any depth of water at this time of year so work your way from shallow to deep and keep moving until you find some active fish.

The lake level is at 5910.34 feet and continues to rise. Boats can be launched at the Utah State Park Marina, First Point, Cisco Beach, and Rainbow Cove ramps. The hours of the Utah State Park marina are 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The gates are locked after 9:30 p.m.