Memorable fishing trips often begin with a calendar, map and targeted species. Game & Fish editors and writers have done you a good solid with our 2018 Fishing Calendars, which outlines 5-star fishing hot spots in your region. Whether it’s bass, walleye, trout, crappie, muskie, or saltwater species (and many others), we pinpoint when and where the fish bite best all across the West this year.
JANUARY – Trout: Caples Lake This is a longstanding good ice-fishing lake in Northern California. It lies at 7,800-feet elevation. As winter progresses, it takes on good ice. Popular winter species include rainbows and browns, and sometimes Mackinaw lake trout. Caples lies in a beautiful mountain setting, with enough frigidity during winter to totally turn off the fair-weather crowd. The result is perfect — excellent ice-fishing and relatively few others around who are not interested in this sport. Much of the best ice-fishing takes place relatively close to shore near the dam. Other Options: Lake Murray Largemouths: Murray is a smaller lake (171 acres) not far from downtown San Diego. But it has big bass. Orange County Jacksmelt: A wonderful pier fish but also caught near rocky shores all up and down the…. Read the entire 2018 outlook
JANUARY – Bear Lake Trout: Utah The winter lake trout bite in Bear Lake. But fishermen also pick up cutthroat trout in abundance here. There is a bit of a smorgasbord of winter fishing. This high lake sprawls across 70,000 acres at more than a mile in elevation. When the ice sets it’s a perfect place to go after these coldwater fish. Local promoters refer to Bear Lake as the Caribbean of the Rockies because of the turquoise-blue waters. The lake has one of those interesting unique species — the Bonneville cisco. This is the only place in the world that Bonneville ciscos are found. It’s a member of the whitefish family. Other Options: Meadowlark Lake Trout In Wyoming: Rainbows and browns are caught through the ice. The Bighorn Mountains pass to the east will likely close if snow gets deep. Henrys Lake Trout In Idaho: Big fish here. A 23.5-inch rainbow-cutthroat hybrid came from…. Read the entire 2018 outlook
JANUARY – Diamond Lake Trout, Oregon Why not start out the new year with some ice-fishing at Diamond Lake, home to rainbow trout measured in pounds, not inches. Anglers will also have the chance to hook tiger trout. New regulations that take effect Jan. 1 allow up to five ice-fishing rigs per angler that greatly improve the odds of finding fish. The maximum hole size regulation is unchanged and remains not to exceed 12 inches in diameter. Cutting the hole requires an auger. Use a tin can nailed to a stick to keep the hole open. A camp stool or lawn chair and insulated boots makes for a comfortable day on the ice. It’s a big lake, nearly 3,000 acres, but most ice-fishing is concentrated around the Diamond Lake Resort. Other Options: Patterson Lake Trout: Head to Winthrop, Washington’s Patterson Lake for some ice-fishing for rainbow trout. North Fork Nehalem Steelhead: If steelhead are your game, take a shot at the… Read the entire 2018 outlook