The Crystal Clear Carp Flats of Bear Lake

by | Aug 16, 2020 | fly fishing Bear Lake

Jeff-Currier-bear-lakeAugust 14-16, 2020

Being home now, or at least locked down in the USA for nearly five months, has put me in a position where I’ve fished most of my favorite haunts at least several times this year already.  They’re great places but I like to change up my venues and chase different fish species regularly.  Change keeps my fishing interesting, challenging and fun.  I’m excited to say that this weekend I enjoyed my first adventure wading the crystal clear waters and flats of Bear Lake fly fishing for carp.


flyfishingBear Lake is a massive lake equally split between Idaho and Utah.  This turquoise colored lake is known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies”.  Bear brings pure joy to weekenders with their jet skis, water skiing, paddle boarding, swimming and you name it.  Fortunately for us, very few people mess with the carp.


Josh-GallivanThe reason I ended up on Bear Lake this weekend is because of my good pal Josh Gallivan.  If you read the blog then you met Josh when we fished Yellowstone Lake on July 31st.  Josh worked for me in the fly shop when he was a kid and is now a top guide for Grand Teton Fly Fishing in Jackson Hole.  He’s also a heck of a chef and helped me work on my “Covid-15” this weekend with massive breakfasts and dinners.


Josh is hitting the world these days full throttle.  He has a great gal (Jess) and a one year old (Roo).  While he’s been working guiding most days this summer, this weekend was for planned time off at the family cabin right on the shores of Bear Lake.


Bear-LakeI got the invite last month as did another good buddy Scott Smith.  Best of all Scott brought the family whom I hadn’t seen in a while.  His daughter Mia even brought a couple of her friends.  And there was Josh’s mom, Robin.  So if you add in the five dogs, we had quite the crew!


Friday afternoon upon arrival was very windy so instead of fishing we played Whiffle ball, sipped brews and I even got in a short nap.  Then we listened to the Cubs game on my XM followed by a feast of dogs, burgers and chicken breasts.


carp-on-flySaturday was up early for a beautiful view with a cup of coffee.  After breakfast was hardcore fishing starting around 8 AM.  That’s when Josh and I boarded his peculiar looking little bass boat barely big enough for the two of us.  Its propelled perfectly with a five speed electric motor and it is quiet enough for sneaking up on the carp.  Which is exactly what we did.


Jeff-CurrierTo say the carping was good is an understatement.  The carping was unbelievable!  These fish hardly compare in size to the ones on Blackfoot Reservoir, however, the fact that you fish them in clear water and it’s a sand flat more than makes up for it.  From the viewpoint of the bass boat I could spot them far away and almost every one I cast to ate the fly.


carp-fliesThe fly wasn’t anything fancy.  Normally I use cool looking crayfish patterns for carp but I’m getting low on those concoctions and they are necessary for Blackfoot.  This weekend I got by with this simple little brown Clouser-ish patter.  This one would make a good bonefish fly in Belize.


kids-fly-fishingWe caught a heap of carp Saturday.  Honestly, I caught over 20 if you add in my three hours walking the flats.  The fishing was truly unreal.  My highlight however was with Josh when we called over Scott’s kid and her friends.  I asked for one of them to net my carp.  That created a ton of excitement as you would expect.  But with a little coaching a patience behind my Winston 6-weight and 0X Scientific Angler Flouro, the net job went smooth.


Jeff-Currier-bear-lakeIt was a great weekend on Bear Lake. I’ve added some new water to my fishing resume and that’s always a good thing.  The next few days are forecasted to be in the mid 90’s so despite being Granny’s days off, we might just catch up on things around the home front.  There will be plenty of excellent fishing as the fall rolls in next month.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!