As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the start of the trout opener, known as ‘Fishmas’, in Alpine, Inyo, and Mono counties. The director made this decision in consultation with California Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar.
The trout season was scheduled to open in these three counties this Saturday, April 25. The delay to the opener in these counties expires May 31, 2020.
“After talking with the county representatives, we agreed this was a necessary step toward being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency,” said CDFW Director Bonham. “These counties asked for our help, and we responded.”
Specifically, this means all waters in these three counties not currently open to fishing will remain closed to fishing until May 31. After local government coordination in Alpine, Inyo, and Mono counties, CDFW is also making minor adjustments to bag and possession limits in waters that are currently open for fishing to protect and conserve the existing fisheries that may be affected by increased angling pressure or harvest. These modifications will also expire on May 31. Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide accurate information for the angling public online or by phone at (916) 445-7600.
Today’s decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.
Early this week, CDFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a high tourism influx to these counties. Local officials are concerned that people traveling to these areas to fish would exacerbate the transmission of COVID-19 and put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses in these counties including lodging, dining, and camping options are closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders.
On April 15, the California Fish and Game Commission authorized CDFW to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing if the director of CDFW, in consultation with the president of the Commission, finds that such action is necessary to protect against the threat from COVID-19 based on state, federal, local, and tribal public health guidance and public safety needs.
At the request of counties or tribes, CDFW will consider action to address needs regarding fishing seasons amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a county or tribal representative with questions or would like to provide input on potential angling related delays or restrictions, please contact Roger Bloom, Acting Branch Chief, Fisheries Branch, by email at Roger.Bloom@wildlife.ca.gov.