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Utah Field Guide: Bonneville Cisco

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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 in mid January the Cisco gather in large schools and move into the lakes rocky shallows to spawn. Back in the 1960's 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.

On January 23rd, about the peak of the Cisco run is also the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. Activities include dipnetting for cisco at Cisco Beach, with prizes given out for the biggest cisco caught. There's also a chili cookoff, a craft fair and a Monster Polar Plunge where participants dress up and jump into the icy waters of Bear Lake all for charity. For information, log onto

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Adam Eakle


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