Bearpaw Lake

Main Species: Cutthroat Trout
Sub Species: Brook trout
Size: Small lake
Public Access: Yes, hike in
Boat Launch: No
Bathrooms: No
Opening Date: Statewide rules apply. Open year round unless otherwise posted in the regulations.
http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm

 

Bearpaw Lake

Bearpaw Lake

Read the special rules and advisories at www.wdfw.wa.gov.

If you have fished this lake and have some information to add please email us atadmin@fishwhatcom.com.

To access Bearpaw Lake drive up Canyon Creek Rd off the Mt. Baker Highway (542).
Canyon Creek Rd is paved for a ways and then turns into a gravel road. The road can be washed out at times and can be difficult for low or non four wheel drive vehicles. Canyon Creek Rd. turns into NFD 31. Turn right at NFD 3170 which will take you to the trailhead. It is about a mile hike but is relatively steep. There is snowpack in this area through July so be prepared to hike over snow. The photo shown here was taken on June 28, 2009.
I have fished Bearpaw in early August and done quite well fly fishing from shore. I carried chest waders in so I could wade out a bit and caught about a dozen small cutthroat trout. The biggest was about 9 inches for the day, but I did see some fish in the 12+ inch range.

cutthroat bearpaw

cutthroat bearpaw

5 Responses to Bearpaw Lake

  1. Randy Kinley May 16, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    Are spinner baits like rooster tails effective here as well? Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Fish Whatcom May 17, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

      Oh I’m sure they would be. Rooster tails work well for trout anywhere I’ve been. And I haven’t found alpine trout to be overly picky- they have a short growing season to pounce on pretty much every opportunity for food they get.

      • Randy Kinley May 22, 2017 at 3:44 am #

        Okay thanks I plan to hike in there this summer too try my luck.
        Thanks again really!

  2. Randy Kinley May 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Or Mack wedding rings?

  3. Lonnie Knechtel August 28, 2019 at 5:16 pm #

    Bearpaw was once a blue-ribbon fishery with a population of giant cutthroats… I first visited there with a backpack raft in the early 80’s, I had fish in the 6+ lb range looking straight up at me in the shallows.

    These fish WERE picky, could bounce an egg or worm off their nose and they wouldn’t bite. They would bite a trolled spoon though, I had one break my 6lb leader. They’d also bite a nymph that looked like a scud or shrimp. The fish were living large on the rather fertile environment there which included a lot of scuds, there’s some murk to the water. Totally different than Church Lake 500′ above which is relatively sterile in comparison.

    A schoolmate of mine reportedly caught a 14lb fish there around that time. Later rumors circulated locally that the WDFW went up there and electro-shocked the lake and a couple in the 18lb class floated up. After that they slapped a 1-fish limit / 20 inch minimum on the lake and the cat was out of the bag. I don’t know if it got fished out, shock killed them, or what, but the state dropped the regulation when it became clear that there were no 20-inch fish left in there. I contacted the WDFW to try and get the straight story on what happened there, they were pretty tight-lipped about it.

    My last visit there was about 15 years ago, there was no evidence of the giants but plenty of 10-inchers. Would be interested to know if the scuds are still there. If there’s any giants left, I’d urge anglers to release them unharmed.

    Access to the lake got more difficult when the bridge across canyon creek was condemned, jeeps were able to ford the creek but most had to add 2+ miles to the hike in. The bridge has been recently replaced so access is relatively easy again.

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