Bear Lake Angling
Patience is the key for most fishing in and around the Bear Lake
Valley. With the rivers running high and fast, most of the success
seems to be at the lake, but when the waters recede, watch out.
by Tammy Stephens
"Because the streams have so much water, the fish we usually stock
there have gone into the reservoirs in Franklin County and into the
Dingle gravel pit and Montpelier Rearing Pond," said Blake Phillips,
senior conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
"Right now the temperature gradient is too great in Montpelier Reservoir
to stock any fish, but when that evens out, we're planning to stock at
least twice in June."
With all of the run-off raising the water level of Montpelier
Reservoir, the temperature is too cold to stock fish, Phillips
explained. The difference in the temperature is too great and the
stocked fish don't do well.
"Some fishermen are having moderate success up there, but it's
spotty," he said. "Those who are doing well are catching Bear Lake
cutthroats, but they're working to get them."
As far as Montpelier Creek and the other creeks in the area are
concerned, Phillips said to be patient.
"As well as the high water stirring up lots of sediment and
muddying the waters, road access to most places is awful. In all
likelihood it could help the spawning, however, because the fish can get
to areas they haven't been able to reach."
Phillips added that those fishermen who are willing to get wet and
who are persistent will catch fish.
Bear Lake is a different story. According to Bryce Neilson, fish
biologist for Utah Division of Natural Resources, 300,000 seven-inch
cutthroat were recently stocked in the lake and fishing is good.
"Some of the fishermen are trolling with depth finders and down
riggers," Neilson said. "They're catching macs and large cuts in 40 to
80 feet of water."
On May 24, 11-year-old Derek Scott Hymas of Montpelier caught a
10-pound mackinaw when he and his father were trolling on the west side
of the lake. Derek used a pink and blue rapala, and he said it took him
about 15 minutes to land the three-foot lunker.
"Others are trolling on the surface with spinners and still others
are using long lines, which is a unique way of fishing," Neilson added.
This last group of fishermen use reels with four to five hundred
yards of line, Neilson explained. "They get in a row boat, bait their
hook with cisco, row out several hundred yards, drop the hook and row
back to shore. After putting a bobber on their line, they put the rod
down and wait."
Although it sounds like a lot of work, when a fisherman brings in a
large lake trout that takes more than thirty minutes to land, it is well
worth the effort. "This is great for people who want to catch the large
fish but who only have a small row boat."
Flyfishermen can be seen in their float tubes in the waters off
South Eden, Neilson said. The winds blow the insects out of the canyon
and into the lake, which aids their efforts.
Neilson added that some people are having moderate luck shore
fishing off the Utah Marina or on the east side of the lake where the
waters drop off quickly.
All in all, those who want to fish and who are persistent should
find some success. As time goes on and the water in the creeks recedes,
more anglers will enjoy the many types of fishing available in and
around Bear Lake.
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