My quest to catch every game fish in Utah in nearing its end. There are five species left on my list, and one of them is spawning for the next few weeks. The only place Bonneville Whitefish can be found in the world is Bear Lake, and the best time to go after them is right now from both the shore or a boat. They hang out along rocky shoreline in 5-15 feet of water to spawn. While fishing for them, you may pick up a Cutthroat or even a Lake Trout that's looking to score an easy meal.
Roger and I headed out Monday morning to make the three hour drive north in pursuit of Whitefish. We arrived around noon to clouds and a lot of wind. We started out fishing the marina on the West side of the lake. The only thing we caught in the hour we were there was some great views of the clear blue water that Bear Lake is known for.
We decided to drive to the East side of the lake and try fishing Cisco Beach (Bear Lake fishing map). The wind was coming right at us on the side. We found a rocky ledge where the depth dropped quickly. We had to battle 3-4 foot waves crashing along the rocks that would splash us making us colder as we search for this elusive fish. We stayed at this spot for three hours working the shoreline. As we were ready to call it a day, I finally had a bite. The fish took some drag as I yelled to Roger I had a fish. As I got the fish closer to shore, I could see that is was a big Cutthroat. This may sound odd, but I felt both excited at have a good sized fish on, yet a little disappointed that is wasn't the Whitefish I was looking for. The disappointment quickly vanished once I netted the fish and saw how thick it was. The 23 inch tank turned out to be the only fish landed on our first day. We took a few pictures, released it, and headed back to the timeshare to game plan for the next day.
|The view driving down the pass into Bear Lake valley.|
|A view on the East side of the lake looking North toward Cisco Beach.|
|A chunky 23 inch Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout.|
|One more picture before being released.|
If you plan a trip to catch these fish, use 1/8-1/16 oz jigs tipped with a worm or use size 0 or 1 spinners and spoons. White was the color that worked for me on the jigs, but other colors known to work are black, orange, and chartreuse. Let your jig bounce the bottom as you reel it in slowly.
|Roger trying his luck at catching a Whitefish.|
|A nasty snow storm making it's way down the lake to greet us.|
|My first ever Bonneville Whitefish.|
|Another species knocked off my list!|
The rest of the drive was a snowy mess. It took an additional two hours to finally make it home. We plan to make the trip again in another month or so when the Bear Lake Whitefish and Bonneville Cisco spawn. These fish are also only found at Bear Lake.
|What a difference a day makes.|
|Apparently this is my spring...|
|A view of Rick's Spring tucked away in a shallow cave.|
|The Logan LDS Temple.|
|Bluebird Chocolates; one way I bribe my wife into letting me fish all the time.|