Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure in one of Utah’s best hidden gems? 

Bear Lake, also known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies”, is the second-largest natural freshwater lake in Utah, spanning an impressive 70,000 acres across the Idaho-Utah border. As a destination best known for summer sun and endless fun on the azure blue waters, we’re here to unveil the cooler side of Bear Lake – winter ice fishing!  

Picture yourself surrounded by glistening ice and the greatest snow on earth, the brisk winter air invigorating your senses, hot cocoa warming your hands, and your best buddies nearby as you explore beneath the frozen beauty of Bear Lake. In this ultimate guide to Bear Lake Utah ice fishing, we’ll dip and jig into everything you need to know to make the most of your ice fishing adventure on Bear Lake. 

Best Time to Ice Fish at Bear Lake

Statistics indicate that Bear Lake on average freezes over every four out of five years, providing anglers with ample opportunities for ice fishing. The ice fishing season on Bear Lake typically begins in late December to early January, and continues through late February to early March, depending on weather and ice conditions. 

If you’re new to the sport of ice fishing, the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest (January 26-28, 2024) is the ultimate introduction to ice fishing! This annual event takes place over the January Cisco run and attracts hundreds of fishing families and avid anglers to Bear Lake. The fun at Monster Winterfest extends far beyond ice fishing for Cisco on Bear Lake.   

Types of Fish to Catch

fish laying on frozen lake -bear lake utah ice fishing

Bear Lake is renowned for its diverse and unique fish species, making it a popular destination for ice fishing. What sets Bear Lake apart is its claim to fame as the exclusive habitat of four unique species of fish – the Bonneville Cisco, Bonneville Whitefish, Bear Lake Whitefish, and Bear Lake Sculpin. 

Bonneville Cisco, in particular, is Bear Lake’s most well-known winter catch! This pearly-silver sport fish spawns for a short 10-day stretch every January and is well-celebrated at Bear Lake’s biggest annual event, the Monster Winterfest. The highly-anticipated Monster Winterfest marks the end of the Cisco run and signals the start of ice fishing for pure native Bonneville cutthroat trout. 

A new catch-and-release record was set in 2021 when angler Travis Hobbs caught a 31-inch cutthroat in Bear Lake – every angler’s dream. But, don’t just dream! Come and make those dreams a reality in beautiful Bear Lake Utah!   

Where to Ice Fish on Bear Lake

Bear Lake has lots of secret spots for ice fishing – you’ll find those with a local guide! For those seeking the endemic Bonneville Cisco, ice fishing hotspots include Cisco Beach and Rainbow Cove on the eastern side of Bear Lake, the artificial rock piles just north of Bear Lake State Park Marina, and the popular rock pile near Ideal Beach Resort.   

Our Bear Lake premier cabin rentals on the Sweetwater Golf Course include passes to the resort amenities and lake access at Idea Beach Resort! Begin your ice fishing adventures with Bear Lake Premier Cabins HERE

Ice Fishing Regulations and Licensing

Before heading out on the ice, be sure to familiarize yourself with both Utah and Idaho’s fishing regulations. The Utah Fishing Guidebook outlines the fishing methods, catch limits, and specific laws and rules for ice fishing on Bear Lake. 

You only need one fishing license from either state to fish Bear Lake – a valid Utah fishing license, Idaho fishing license, or combination hunting license. These are easily obtained online, at the offices of Idaho Fish and Game and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, or through many of our local vendors listed below. Note that dip netting for Cisco is only allowed from January 1 to February 15. 

Bear Lake Ice Fishing Gear & Guides

two people making a hole in the ice to go ice fishing

For those new to ice fishing or seeking expert guidance, consider enlisting the help of a local ice fishing guide. These seasoned experts possess an intimate knowledge of Bear Lake’s underwater realm and can lead you to the “coolest” ice fishing spots! If you’re heading out alone, check the current ice conditions on the Bear Lake State Park website. There should be at least 4” of clear ice before walking on the lake and always fish with a partner! 

For the ultimate Bear Lake ice fishing experience, we highly recommend a local ice fishing guide! 

Epic Adventure Center Bear Lake

201 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT

Phone: (435) 946-3742 

Bear Lake Fun

Various Locations

Phone: (435) 946-3200 

Bear Lake Rentals

2126 South Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT

Phone: (435) 946-8611 

Stay Near the Ice Fishing Action with Bear Lake Premier Cabins 

Make your ice fishing adventure complete by staying with us at Bear Lake Premier Cabins – where cool ice fishing spots are close to home! Soak up the snowy scenery while stargazing from your private hot tub, wake to a spectacular sunrise, and walk straight onto the ice from your lakefront home! 

Whether you’re a fishing guide creating the ultimate ice fishing adventure for your group, a bunch of fishing buddies looking for a thrill, or a fishing family seeking the ultimate family reunion destination, our Bear Lake premier cabins are designed and equipped for occasions such as these! 

Browse our hand-picked collection of Bear Lake cabin rentals

And, feel free to reach out to our local team at (435) 565-6006 with any questions!