Utah Field Guide: Fishing for cisco at Bear Lake

One of three different whitefish species endemic to Bear Lake, the Bonneville Cisco is no doubt the most recognized. Spending most of the year in the deeper portions of the lake, these 8 to 10 inch fish are not a sought after sportfish, but during January the Cisco gather in large schools and move into the lakes rocky shallows to spawn.

Back in the 1960s, anglers by the thousands would flock to the shores of cisco beach for the fabled cisco run. Now a days a hearty few can still be found braving the elements and dipping their nets in search of a limit of cisco. Many avid anglers will catch their daily limit and freeze them for cutthroat and lake trout fishing later in the year.

The Cisco run usually starts in mid to late January. On January 25th a few brave souls will venture out and hold an informal party known as the cisco disco on cisco beach.

The Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce will also have their annual Bear Lake Monster Polar Plunge at the Bear Lake State Park. All the proceeds from the icy plunge go directly to HopeKids, a non-profit organization that supports families with cancer or some other life threatening medical condition. For more information on the plunge or the disco, log onto bearlake.org

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