Bear Lake encompasses 109 square miles of brilliant blue waters, fondly dubbed the Caribbean of the Rockies. The lake is a popular summer destination for boating, water activities, and world-class fishing but should not be overlooked in the winter season. Aside from hundreds of miles of snowmobiling trails and world-class winter sports at Beaver Mountain Resort, Bear Lake is one of the best destinations in the West for winter fishing.
On average, Bear Lake freezes over every four out of five years, often with ice as deep as three feet. When Bear Lake freezes over, you can still fish for trophy cutthroat trout, lake trout, and the Bonneville Whitefish and Bonneville Cisco, unique only to Utah’s Bear Lake. The Bonneville Cisco season lasts for a short 10 days in January with millions of Cisco spawning and coming closer to the shoreline than usual.
This is well celebrated in Bear Lake with a winter ice fishing festival worthy of every angler’s bucket-list! The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest at Bear Lake State Park Marina is an annual family-friendly fundraising event and the biggest winter event in Bear Lake, Utah. The fun and festivities are endless and the storied tales of the Bear Lake Monster, will leave you wondering just what else is out there!
When: January 27 – January 29, 2023
Where: Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort
Admission: Monster Winterfest is a fundraising event, entrance fee to the Marina is waived, but you may donate to The Family Place non-profit during the event.
Please Note: Fishing Licenses are required to fish on Bear Lake and can be purchased locally at Shell in Garden City or online before your trip to Bear Lake.
Bear Lake Monster Winterfest
Events & Activities
Friday: January 27th
9AM – 3PM: Monster Winter Sports & Trails Day: Hop on the free shuttle at Sunrise Resort for a family day of fat-biking, snowmobiling, tubing and snowshoeing at Logan Canyon Sinks Area.
The sinks is a natural limestone sinkhole known to be one the coldest spots in Utah, so dress warm, load up on hot cocoa, and add epic outdoor adventures to your ice fishing experience on Bear Lake.
4PM – 9PM Monster Winterfest Social: Bring your dancing shoes and head over to Sunrise Resort for an evening of karaoke with hot chocolate, donuts and a Cisco disco dance under the stars.
You’ll be so warm you won’t even know it’s winter. No need to make dinner plans, the Sunrise Hall will be hosting the Monster Taste from 5PM to 9PM with local specialties to sample.
Saturday: January 28th
6AM – 12PM Monster Cisco Disco & Tournament: Rise at dawn to dip your net at Cisco Beach on the east shore of Bear Lake. There are categories for kids and adults with no cost to enter and a limit of 30 fish. With over 9 million Cisco in Bear Lake, the chance of catching the biggest little Cisco is high.
From 7AM to 9AM there’s a fried cisco breakfast near the Cisco Beach boat ramp, noted as the highlight of the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest! Fish must be entered into the tournament back at Bear Lake Marina between 11am and noon.
8:30AM – 9:30AM Monster 5K Run/Walk: For family members not wading in the icy waters, the Monster 5K is another great way to stay warm during Winterfest. Pick up your packets between 8:30AM and 9:30AM and the race begins at 10AM from Bear Lake State Park Marina.
The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children which includes a beanie and a medal. Register here.
9AM – 12:30PM Monster Chili Cook-off: This is not your average chili cook-off! You get to sample deer, elk and moose at the Bear Lake Monster Chili Cook-off back at Bear Lake State Park Marina.
Sample straight from bubble pots of chili (with honey scones for dipping!), vote on the best chili in town for the award ceremony, and don’t forget to drop some dollars in the tip jar to support The Family Place.
10AM – 5PM Winterfest Village Market: Back at the Bear Lake State Park Marina tent, the winter fest village market features loads of festivities with food trucks, a craft fair, and outdoor heaters to stay warm while you shop, sip and sample the best chili in Bear Lake!
11AM – 12PM Monster Cardboard Boat Regatta: Build your creative cardboard boat before you arrive in Bear Lake, or at the Winterfest Social at Sunrise Resort on Friday night and check in for the Monster Cardboard Boat Regatta at the Marina at 11am.
The competition begins at 12:15PM and the cost is $30 per entry. Register here.
11AM – 1PM Monster Plunge: Every year brave souls dress up and line up on the dock to take an icy jump into Bear Lake for charity.
The Monster Polar Plunge is a blast! Crazy costumes are encouraged, there’s warm showers, heaters and chili to defrost after, and the cost is $30 (or $35 on day of) to jump, including a Winterfest hoodie. Register here.
4PM Monster Awards Ceremony: Bear Lake Monster Winterfest has thousands of dollars in prizes with awards for the kids and adults categories at the Cisco Disco Fishing Tournament, the Cardboard Regatta, Monster Plunge, 5K run/walk, and the chili cook off.
Meet under the tent at Bear Lake State Park Marina for the grand awards ceremony and celebrations – it may be you!
Sunday: January 29th
8AM – 11PM Sweet Cream Pancake Breakfast: Round the weekend off with all you can eat pancakes at Bear Lake’s iconic auto-themed eatery, Cody’s Gastro Garage. You’ll be sure to hear some of the best fishing stories ever told (and a few monster tales) as you close out an epic weekend of ice fishing on Bear Lake.
Don’t forget to sip on a famous Raspberry shake too, it’s never too cold for a shake! The cost is $5 for kids and $10 for adults.
Stay Near All The Action With Bear Lake Premier Cabins
The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is one of the busiest winter weekends in Bear Lake, but there is still availability to come join in the fun! Browse our selection of luxury cabin rentals near Bear Lake State Park Marina or give our team a call on (435) 565-6006 to help plan your winter fishing trip to Bear Lake.