Bear Lake straddles the border of Idaho and Utah; it is of interest to species anglers because it is home to 4 endemic fish species as well as a healthy population of cutthroat trout and others.
Many of the species live deep in the lake. But at different times of year, they come to the rocky shorelines to spawn. Different species are near shore at different times of year.
In late November/early December, the Bonneville whitefish spawns on the rocky reefs. I decided that this year I would try to catch them.
We stayed in Lava Hot Springs, a nice little town with natural hot springs. There my wife and young son could relax and play while I went fishing. Due to an incoming storm and some work obligations, my fishing time was suddenly cut to one afternoon. Not ideal, but I decided to make the most of it.
I arrived at a suggested shoreline access spot. There was one family on shore who were packing up. They said the fishing had been slow all week. The temps were in the mid-20s, it was snowing and the wind was blasting.
There were a few anglers out in boats but I had the shoreline to myself. A few anglers filtered in and out for shore fishing while I was there, all remarking that it had been slow and suggesting I come back another time.
I persisted, being splashed by whitecap waves and feeling somewhat miserable. I was not doing much but snagging jigs on the rocky reefs.
I will never claim to be a great or even good angler, but I am persistent. I stuck around, trying different lures. I had a very large cutthroat swipe at a jig, but nothing else.
The sun was beginning to set, and I switched to a Mepps hoping to salvage the day with at least a cutthroat. A couple of casts later, a solid strike and I had a fish on. And as I brought it in: Bonneville whitefish!
What a cool fish. I just wish I had more time to spend. I'll be back for the Bonnevilles and now also plan to return to target the other endemics. A most excellent spot. This site has been good to me in sharing info and I'd be happy to provide more detailed instructions -- just PM me.