Cutthroat and lake trout are heading deep

Bear Lake

by Utah Division of Wildlife

The surface water temperature is about 65 degrees, and cutthroat and lake trout are heading deep. Recent reports indicate anglers who are using downriggers are catching fish by trolling with jointed minnow lures in bright colors (oranges/reds) or Rapalas in water that's 60 to 90 feet deep. Try to keep your lure close to the bottom. In some cases, letting your lure dig into the bottom of the lake is a good idea.

A good spot to troll is from Swan Creek north to Fish Haven Creek. On the eastern side of the lake, just off Cisco Beach, Rainbow Cove and the Idaho State Park are good places to try. Lots of recreational boat traffic is underway by late morning, so fish from sunrise until about 11 a.m. If you prefer to jig, try off the outside edges of the "rockpile" east of the Ideal Beach resort in the early morning hours. Once again, target fish at around 80 feet of water this time of year. Use a ½- to 1-ounce jig with a 4- to 6-inch tube, twister tail or swim bait tipped with a piece of cisco or other fish meat. Let the jig bounce right on the bottom, lifting it up about 12 to 18 inches and then dropping it back. Many of the strikes happen when the lure is falling back to the bottom, so pay attention to your line. If you notice the lure/line stops sinking, set the hook and hold on!

Boat launching is available at the Utah State Park Marina, First Point and Rainbow Cove ramps. The Cisco Beach ramp is open, but four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended if you launch there. Reminder: The trout limit is two fish. There is no longer a fin clip regulation for cutthroat trout, so you can keep any cutthroat trout up to your two-fish limit.

Lake trout take a long time to reach a large size. While large lake trout are legal to keep, many anglers are encouraging other anglers to release them. If you plan on releasing fish, try to land the fish quickly and then get it back into the water without any delays. The warm surface water temperature is hard on fish in the summer. You may want to consider using a 'descending device' that allows you to release fish into deeper, cooler water.

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