Update 4/20: June 1st Fish Season Opening? Fishmas Delayed is not Fishmas Denied

Update:4/20/2020: Stacy Corless, Mono County District 5 Supervisor and Current Chair said in a post that they expect to receive a letter tomorrow from CDFW confirming a delay in the fishing season opener. The exact contents of the letter are unknown at this time, and the the Sierra Wave will post it as soon as we receive a copy of it.

Update 4/19/2020: According to the Inyo County Public Information Officer Carma Roper. the county had not yet received an official communication from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife Director, Charlton Bonham, granting the request for a delay of the fish opening, but that the county is “anticipating one soon.”

As soon as Sierra Wave receives confirmation of such a communication, we will share it with our readers, viewers and listeners.

June 1st Fish Season Opening? Fishmas Delayed is not Fishmas Denied

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to give authority, at its second attempt online, audio-only public meeting held on Wednesday, April 15, for state CDFW director, Charlton Bonham, to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing in specifically targeted counties at the request of their elected officials and local public health officers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The soonest the Trout Opening will begin in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties would be June 1, which is when the authority given to the CDFW director to delay the official, state-sanctioned fish openings in those counties ends. To be extended, another vote by the CFG Commission would be required. And that will depend on conditions on the ground in the affected counties. So, goodbye to Fishmas in the Eastern Sierra, which is already effectively shut-down by public health officials and government officials at all levels closing local businesses, restaurants, campgrounds, hospitality venues and public lands and facilities.

T.S. Elliot wrote, “April is the cruelest month” in the opening lines of The Waste Land, published in 1922. And although the poem had nothing at all to do with fishing, the sentiment still applies; the sentiment that, exiting April, brings an  escape from isolation brought on from the winter, when Spring breaks out, and the escape from the confines of the cities allow a celebration and exodus to the outdoors, for many exemplified by the simple act of “going fishing,” usually kicked off and celebrated by the “opening day of fishing.”

Fishmas is a highly successful marketing message developed by local chambers of commerce to promote trout fishing in the Eastern Sierra by targeting visitors to come enjoy the fishing, camping, climbing, hiking, and just pure experience of being in the great outdoors exemplified by the beautiful landscapes of the Eastern Sierra. A pandemic outbreak is a problem no one could have anticipated. The collective fear of local residents is that a large influx of outsiders to the area might quickly overwhelm the very limited healthcare resources, especially the local hospitals, in our small communities.

Mono County Board of Supervisors’ Chair Stacy Corless told the CFG that, “No one wants to be the Grinch who postpones Fishmas. That said, we do ask you to postpone the trout season opener due to public health concerns with the pandemic.”

And so they have.

As of today, Saturday, Alpine County had 2 confirmed positive cases, including 1 non-county resident, and 1 death; Mono County had 23 positive cases and 1 death; and Inyo County had 18 positive cases with “0” (no deaths). While these numbers appear very low, these are some of the least populated counties in the state, with very limited resources to cope with an outbreak of coronavirus should a surge in the number of cases occur, especially if brought into the area from outsiders seeking recreation.

Where trout openers and other outdoor activities occur, CFG Chair President Eric Sklar says that, “hunters and fishers need to be smart about social distancing, not congregate in parking lots wherever you go.” He cautioned that “We need hunters and fishers to provide that leadership, do these activities without congregating.”

So, this year the Eastern Sierra will go without its traditional Fishmas, or at least until June 1…unless changed again. But then again, “April is the cruelest month,” for at least this year. Maybe May will prove to be “a nicer one.”

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35 Responses to Update 4/20: June 1st Fish Season Opening? Fishmas Delayed is not Fishmas Denied

  1. Erock May 22, 2020 at 8:11 am #

    Well even if they open on June 1st which they probably will not. The fishing will not be the same. Waters get warm and weeds grow high in the lakes. There also is abundant amount of flies and food for the fish. Then there is the dreadful green algae that grows in the lakes that is poisonous. So for me they cancelled my opener and stole my money I spent on fishing licenses. Thanks Mono County for playing the COVID game.

  2. Stuart Hightower April 28, 2020 at 3:19 pm #

    Sunshine. Vitamin D. This is what we all need. What you should be worried about in the Sierras is all of the European travelers that start arriving in June when the travel ban is lifted.

  3. Liberty April 21, 2020 at 5:18 pm #

    What I’m saying on top of trying to lighten this up some with a joke about the LA masses that provide the economy and revenue, is people should try to stop the unhealthy panic and fear. The studies are confirming the Stanford study. Many of us who traveled in the last few months to larger areas were exposed to Covid unknowingly and found out we aren’t going to have a bad case of this in any way shape or form and are now most likely immune from it. The focus on “Strangers” is a bad thing, as is thinking people arriving now or in a few weeks are dangerous to anyone. Try to get back to some kind of normal and be in a good and positive place in your life. Who knows if the state will close fishing at this point in three counties. It could be too late. I wouldn’t worry about it at all as they have nowhere to stay unless in an rv. What to worry about is the economy and getting it open quickly. Fishing is not the problem, out of control state and local liberal ideas and controls are the problem as are.the unconstitutional orders that will be thrown out in court.

  4. goomerzoomer April 21, 2020 at 4:42 pm #

    If keeping the good people of the region safe and healthy means I have to wait a few weeks to fly fish, then all I can say is thank you for letting us fish at all this year. We have to do what is safe and take care of not just the resource but the people that live in these smaller communities with limited medical facilities. We need to support the area as well as our love of sport.

  5. Jason April 21, 2020 at 1:45 pm #

    So as of 4/21/2020 the CDFG has not suspended the opener. Also Owens river and topaz lake are open for fishing.

    • David Dennison April 21, 2020 at 6:59 pm #

      Check again….Trout season postponed until June 1st….as expected.

  6. Liberty April 21, 2020 at 10:24 am #

    I heard, and keep this very quiet, that thousands of naked people from LA eating sushi and waving fish are traveling to march in the streets holding fishing rods, right down Main Street like Mule Days on Saturday about 9 am. Try to keep this quiet and don’t tell all of the law people out looking for those holding a rod as we want to keep this secret.

    • Wayne Deja April 21, 2020 at 3:06 pm #

      I’m an old guy,certainly not some kind of tough guy talking big talk.
      But if you weren’t saying that in jest,and it was actually threatened or talked about,in these little towns up here,blocking traffic,kind of like an L.A. tourist take over,lining the streets with signs, no masks,no social distancing,carrying guns,like we see going on in some cities with their protests,looking for trouble,my bet is they would find it.
      Probably in a way they wouldn’t want or expect.
      Just sayin’…

  7. David Dennison April 20, 2020 at 7:28 pm #

    If the people are coming in,may I ask where are they going to be staying ?
    Campground reservations are canceled,campgrounds closed.
    BLM land is closed.
    LADWP land always closed to overnight camping.
    USFS land closed,meaning no dispersed camping.
    Motels closed.
    Resorts and cabins closed.
    Short-term rentals closed.
    Private campgrounds,closed too
    And I’m hearing from reliable sources,DFW,USFS and County Law Enforcement are already out,and I’m sure to be out in force this coming week-end to deter and cite the law-breakers.
    About the only place left and where to “camp” and have the tailgate parties are on the neighborhood streets,and that I wouldn’t recommend.

  8. Good bye April 20, 2020 at 7:26 pm #

    We should believe scientists. And maybe medical professionals. Gee I wonder what they recommend. I dont think it’s a free for all. I also believe fishing is a privilege that you buy a license for and you can have that privilege taken away. Just like a drivers license. Not a right.

  9. Liberty April 20, 2020 at 5:41 pm #

    People not fishing will be coming in, who knows in what numbers. The fear of transmission from people with no symptoms is a guess at this point and maybe wrong. We have to go back to the science, if you are exposed to people who had it and recovered or had a mild case you build immunity and may save yourself from a serious case. The chances are many of our population who traveled to larger areas were already exposed starting last fall/winter and if there was no serious reaction they are likely now immune. This is why the panic is not justified and the science will be proven out as it has been before with other viruses. The medical in local areas was and is a basic triage system to get people to where the bigger care is if needed, which is out of county. People should relax, try to enjoy life and not panic as the numbers are that of a bad flu season, except in a few areas of the country. 99% of the country will not have an epidemic.

    • duckhead April 22, 2020 at 7:20 am #

      “We have to go back to the science…..”

      I suggest you take your own advice.

      For one thing – the flu killed about 20,000 in 8 months, Covid killed more than 40,000 in 2 months.

      Magical thinking is a symptom of a mental/ personality disorder.“We have to go back to the science…..”

      I suggest you take your own advice.

      For one thing – the flu killed about 20,000 in 8 months, Covid killed more than 40,000 in 2 months.

      “Other counties decided on mitigation …..”

      Some examples and other evidence would allow us to “know” what it is you think you “know”.

  10. Good bye April 20, 2020 at 5:23 am #

    And when other hospitals stop taking patients from out of area because they are full and tourists have plugged ours up? I think your fishing trip can wait

  11. Ernesto Barron April 20, 2020 at 1:20 am #

    The elderly populations are very vulnerable to this disease and can more easily succumb to the sometimes deadly infection. Asymptomatic infected individuals can unbeknownst to anyone, infect others. The 19 are currently known to be infected in Inyo and 10 test await results. An influx of thousands of anglers at this time could complicate matters. It’s best we wait and get out there in mass and support business when th he season opens in a out 5 weeks. Stay Safe.

    • Kl April 22, 2020 at 11:35 am #

      If people get sick, they don’t die immediately. They can drive to another county with MANY more beds. Stop buying the fake news. Nobody uses mammoths hospitals for something this serious unless they are a local. Wake up!

      • quacque April 22, 2020 at 1:13 pm #

        Can you spell VECTOR?? Sure you can . . .

        • tightloops May 10, 2020 at 12:23 pm #

          Vector, perhaps you should close all your home windows, pull the blinds and drapes and stay home…………you might die if you go out. Fear every stranger and believe the news makes for pathetic miserable humans. We just got back from a week of fishing out of Ely.
          Beautiful PERFECT weather, the fish were hungry and aggressive. Caught and released all day every day. Except for Sat and Sun, the rv park was near empty. I sure felt sorry for all you grim deathers hiding in your homes. We saw a few other fearless souls out on the water and we all had smiles on our face. I’m not sick and know I won’t be and I’m still smiling at all the fish I released. Fishermen and fisherwomen have been social distancing since the beginning of the human race. The last thing we want is someone cramping our casting range or crowding in because we found the hotspot. Whether we’re on shore, in a float tube or boat, we’re really good at distancing!

          The absurdity and ignorance of blanket closing all recreational fishing is just plain astounding…….except in places that are heavily populated……. and, I admit, there are a lot of “uninformed” people in those places. I know, politicians all say they love fishing but not one has ever proved it with commonsense policies. Most all fishermen are very commonsense driven. In the lesser populated counties and areas, there is ZERO or perhaps 1 or 2 cases of covid and the politicians were/are going to bankrupt the local businesses who depend on us fishermen for their family livelihoods and deny us the opportunity to do what we love while hurting no one? The reaction to this flu has been insane and over the top and time will prove that these decisions were made by politicians who were more interested in exercising an experiment in control using fear and threats rather than preventing a pandemic that never happened and was not supported by facts and real data. If come June 1, 2020 I don’t get to legally fish where ever I choose in the West, I’m going to put away my rod and reel and work my azz off to make sure every politician who voted to close off my life is gone come November 3. It’s time we cleaned up the toxic sites of our political class. They don’t actually give a crap about us so why on earth should we allow them to remain in office?

          This is what the news was saying back in March………never forget to keep open your skeptics eye: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8120631/Visual-timeline-coronavirus-compares-historys-deadly-pandemics.html

          My slogan regarding the news:
          Never trust and always verify
          for what they often say
          is just just another lie.

  12. Liberty April 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm #

    Most people in Owens Valley and Alpine use out of area hospitals for anything major, this has been the norm for over fifty years. When I hear people say the local small EMS systems will be over-whelmed with tourist Covid because of fishing season I call it BS .Anyone who lives there knows the medical goes out of county for anything serious. Just like all who go shopping at Nevada Walmart and Costco and the same for people who go to Ridgecrest. Plus flying people out by copter has been going on for decades. Again, it’s important to note people sick with Covid wouldn’t be traveling in the first place, they will be close to major medical. The entire northern Sierra counties have the same medical scarcity as Owens and they use Nevada and fly outs to other medical and yet they didn’t cancel or delay trout season. It’s a simple process of mitigation and not panic.

  13. Good bye April 19, 2020 at 6:14 pm #

    What part of 4 ventilators and a couple thousand fisherman invading our valley do people not understand. Simple math. Even if you camp in “self contained rvs” which hospital do you use when you get sick or hurt. Stay home.

    • Bryan April 19, 2020 at 8:59 pm #

      I would assume anyone that gets sick or hurt will go to one of the many open beds at the nearest hospital. Go Fishing!

    • Kl April 22, 2020 at 11:33 am #

      You can’t have it both ways. If you want the tourist money for your business, you cannot tell us when to come and when to stay away. It’s all or nothing. Get off your damn high horse! You need the money out there. People won’t be using your hospital beds up. If I get the damn flu, I’m staying home, not coming to mammoth. If I get sick in mammoth, I would find a hospital with more beds in another county. It’s only a few hrs drive to Los Angeles. You are not logical at all.

      • quacque April 22, 2020 at 1:09 pm #

        I’ll vote for Nothing, please.

  14. Liberty April 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm #

    The problem with bureaucratic guesses and autocratic political appointees deciding anything is they are often wrong like the huge projected numbers of Covid deaths in the US which was off by at least 90%. The fishing season delay was a knee-jerk panic reaction and they didn’t think it through and waited until the last minute and the process of the law might not happen in time to close it. They are actually trying to close an already open season in S. Inyo and some lakes that are open in Alpine. And If, like most counties, there were no open campgrounds and boat ramps or lodging the numbers of people arriving would be low, perhaps very low and areas could of been set aside for Rv’s that are self contained and some economic relief would have arrived. If delaying it until June-1st is a reality, which it might or might not be because they could vote for further delay, is there is an assumption that everything will be open and there is no reason to think it will at this point if people wait for a green light from political appointees of the Governor. The concern should be the economic losses with Mule Days gone and fishing season in question. How long can small rural county budgets last and this may take years to recover. Other counties decided on mitigation and will be in a much stronger economic position.

    • Duckhead April 20, 2020 at 6:19 am #

      The number of people infected by this virus is lower than forecast BECAUSE we did what we could to lower those numbers. And now the morons of the world are using that measure of success as “proof” that we were wrong to do anything? Brain dead humans –

      • None of your business April 22, 2020 at 11:27 am #

        You are what we call a useful idiot. The government LOVES lemmings like yourself, because you are smart enough to tie your shoe laces, but stupid enough to follow orders. Good for you, citizen!

  15. dpblue April 19, 2020 at 9:59 am #

    Oh please…you guys can’t wait 5 weeks or so for opening day!?!
    For all of our healths sake suck it up and stop being babies.

    • None of your business April 22, 2020 at 11:24 am #

      You don’t understand what American was founded on, nor do you deserve the freedoms bestowed upon you. The virus is less deadly than the seasonal flu. Stanford University did an independent study on covid19, and they said the virus is 85 times less deadly than originally reported. The commissioners and the jackasses from Mono and Inyo counties are working with false information and they are violating our rights in the name of saving a few lives. Read the constitution of California State. It is clear about fishing laws in this state, and the commission and public officials have less than zero authority to stop us from accessing public land. Learn the law, …(deleted-cj)

      • Ken Martin May 16, 2020 at 6:26 pm #

        “They are violating our rights in the name of saving a few lives.” Really! You my dear friend are an ass!
        My brothers and I have been fishing the Eastern Sierras for over 60-years and are so very grateful to the local experts and the so valuable local busnesses. My one brother is a PA-C specialist in Epademiology, another is a LA City Fire Paramedic and I specialize in communications for State & Local Governments; and the one thing we have all agreed on after reading the above narcissists , me, me, me blabbering is: “Stay home, the City of Bishop and your fellow fishermen & outdoorsmen/women will not miss you….. OH! If it were you or someone you loved; which is hard to believe, you would be whimpering & crying saying poor you…. Which is typical of a narcissist.

  16. Leo R April 19, 2020 at 9:49 am #

    Does MrJames get paid by the word? I had to read this a few times and still not sure when or if the fish opener will happen. June1st?, a second vote?, not at all?. up to each county?

  17. Good bye April 18, 2020 at 10:23 pm #

    Get the message you are not welcome stay home!!!

  18. Mark E mark April 18, 2020 at 6:38 pm #

    Haha! Thanks for the suggestion. Lol!

  19. Bryan April 18, 2020 at 5:24 pm #

    Rights delayed are rights denied! You have forgotten what America is!

    • eric h. April 19, 2020 at 8:24 am #

      I would love to think America is a country that works together for a common good, not me me me


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