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Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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Bear Lake Fishing Report - Stuff your turkey with whitefish; the annual run has begun

Scott Tolentino, Bear Lake Project Manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, sent in this report just in time for the long holiday weekend.

Bear Lake Fishing Report:

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Surface water temperature is about 46 degrees. Boats can be launched at the Utah State Park Marina, 1st Point, and Rainbow Cove boat ramps and new courtesy docks are in the water at all locations. Rainbow Cove access has been fully paved as well as the parking areas. Although there is a dock in the water at Cisco Beach, it is not recommended that you attempt to launch a boat there due to the rough, rocky shoreline. The Bonneville whitefish run has begun. Anglers started catching limits of fish today and excellent fishing for whitefish should be available through Dec 10th or so. The best locations are any shoreline area with rocks that have depths of about 5-15’. This includes off the Utah State Park marina dikes and anywhere along the east side shoreline (especially the Cisco Beach area). Use small (1/8 to 1/16 oz.) jigs are about 1.5-2.0" long, small spinners (#0 and #1) and small spoons. Fish the lures so they are bumping along the bottom while you are making a slow retrieve. If you aren’t hanging up on rocks once in a while you probably are not fishing close enough to the bottom. It helps considerably if you "tip" your jig with a small piece of worm or a meal worm. The bite can be subtle at times and usually happens when the lure is sinking back to the bottom after you jig it. Keep the line as tight as possible to detect these bites. At other times the fish will slam the lure. Anglers are taking a few nice cutthroat trout while fishing for the whitefish. Don’t be surprised if you happen to also hook into a lake trout! Lighter lines (#4-#8 lb test and a light to medium rod help). If you try to use the same tackle as you would for jigging for cutthroat trout or lake trout, it is typically too heavy and you will miss a lot of hits.

Anglers are also picking up cutthroat trout by jigging on the bottom in 60-80’ of water off the rockpile and Cisco Beach using tube jigs tipped with cisco. Trollers have been reporting better action for cutthroat and lake trout this past week. Best luck has come using flatfish off downriggers in 40-65’ of water. Remember, in order to keep a cutthroat trout from Bear Lake it must have a healed fin clip (usually the adipose fin). Cutthroat trout with all fins intact have to be released. Consider releasing large lake trout in order to maintain the fishery. Lake trout can easily live to over 35 years old in Bear Lake.

Garden City Community Fishery Pond

The pond level is completely full, but there is some ice along the edges which is making fishing difficult. The town drilled a well and water will now flow into the pond throughout the winter. If you can get to the water, try using small spinners or bead-headed nymphs behind a bubble or wooly buggers on sinking tip fly line. Powerbait and worms seem to work better later in the year too.

Laketown Reservoir

Pond level is full, fishing pressure has been light and ice is beginning to form around the edges. Self-creel cards have shown that fishing has been fair-good triploid rainbows. Anglers have had the best luck with worms and powerbait, but spinners will also work well at this time of year. For fly fishing, try greenish-brown wooly buggers or other nymphs on a sinking fly line.



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