January 26, 2014

The Cisco Disco and Polar Plunge at Bear Lake

Bonneville Cisco are one of three species of fish that can only be found in Bear Lake. They are normally in deeper parts of the lake except for a 2-3 week window where they spawn along rocky shorelines. This happens mid January through the first part of February. Because of their smaller size, anglers are able to use dip nets to catch their limit of 30 fish.
The Cisco Disco is something I've wanted to do for a long time, and the time finally arrived. It is held annually at Cisco Beach, where anglers get together to catch some fish, swap stories, and experience great food. My wife and I made a weekend out of it and headed up Friday after work. We had a fun evening, first stopping by Maddox in Brigham City for a steak on our way, and arrived at the timeshare with enough time to watch a show before calling it a night.
We woke up early, got bundled up, and headed to Cisco Beach on the opposite side of the lake. At Cisco Beach, there was a huge crowd already fishing when we arrived around 7:30. There were sections along the shoreline that had ice, while others preferred to put on their waders and venture out in open water. We found a spot on the ice and started making our hole. The ice was 1-2 inches thick, where we cut first, making it a little dicey. Since the water was only 2 feet deep, I took my chances, even after seeing a guy go through to his knees further down the bank.

We arrived to a large crowd!

The hole is cut, so let the fishing begin.

The one and only Bonneville Cisco.

A school of Cisco entering the danger zone. Notice how thin the ice is...

It took a few minutes of waiting before the first school of Cisco came into view. My first attempt to scoop some up failed because I got caught up in the rocks. A small adjustment on my part, and my next try produced my first ever Cisco! After that, it was smooth sailing to get my 30 fish. I handed the net over to Chelsea, and she got three on her first try! I snapped a quick pic, and she released them back into the lake, not wanting to hurt them.
11 Cisco in one scoop.

Chelsea got three on her first try. Great job Chels!
Mission accomplished.

My limit of 30 Cisco.
Once we were done fishing, Chels and I headed up to the camp where some generous locals provided hot scones, fried Cisco, fries, and hot chocolate. One of the people cooking was a guy that has provided me many fishing tips for Bear Lake through different online fishing forums, so it was nice to shake his hand and thank him in person for the help through the years (and the delicious food).

Hot food brought the crowd together.

Hot scones and fried Cisco.

enjoying a hot lakeside breakfast.
We headed back to the timeshare to have lunch and warm up before the next activity that started at noon. It was the 5th annual Bear Lake Polar Plunge where people from all over come to jump into the icy water to raise money for Hope Kids. Lots of individuals, as well as groups took the plunge. There were prizes for best costume, and largest group among others.
As the people started jumping in, the crowd cheered them on and laughed as many shocked faces emerged from the icy water. There were medical personnel standing by as well as large heaters to get people warm again. They raised $2,400 for the charity at this event. 
Groups getting ready for the polar plunge.

Batman and Bane set their differences aside for a good cause.

A large crowd anxious for the participants to jump in.
People taking the Polar Plunge.
We headed home around 1:30 p.m. I saw a few good looking riffles that looked fishy as the road followed the Logan River through the canyon. I brushed off the urge to stop at the first two holes I passed, but temptation finally got the best of me, so I pulled over at the next good spot I saw. I promised my wife I wouldn't be long, but I had to make a few casts. Well, the stop payed off. Within five minutes I landed two hungry Brown Trout. They weren't big, but they were enough to satisfy my curiosity. This is the only time I've attempted to fish the Logan River, and with this result, I think there will be a return trip to spend more time on this river.
Two Browns in five minutes.