Mayhem at CDFG Commission Teleconference Meeting on Postponing Fishing Season

To Be Rescheduled next week to give time to figure out how best to “moderate” the meeting and better handle the “call load” from those wishing to participate or just listen in. 

The California Fish and Game Commission had to cancel its emergency teleconference meeting scheduled this morning when the system being used was overwhelmed by the response from over 500 callers and they were forced to reschedule for next week as they couldn’t pull together a quorum to vote as some commission members could not get on the line. It was a hot mess out of the gate with people refusing to “mute” their phones and shouting that they would “be heard!”

While a number of rural areas are clearly for the postponement of the fishing season, it was clear from shouts in the background that there are some very angry opponents to the idea of postponing and limiting or banning sportfishing. In some areas of the state, fishing is an immensely popular sport. And no doubt, there were those whose only intent was to disrupt the meeting and create havoc. Sadly, they succeeded.

You can’t help but wonder how the Commission did not see this coming. First, there was the very short notice of the emergency meeting which gave the appearance that they were trying to push something through quickly over what they must have known would be controversial. And then Second, there are over a million licensed anglers in California, so there was considerable interest in this meeting, both from those “for bans and a postponement of the fishing season” in and around their communities, and those against it.

In response to accusations that he and state officials were planning to cancel the fishing season, California Governor Newson addressed the concern in his COVID-19 news conference today saying that the accusations are not true. He went on to say that he “loves fishing and that there has been no decision made.” He hinted at compromise.

The Commission was to consider authorizing a limited ban on sportfishing in some areas and delaying the opening date for the fishing season amid the coronavirus pandemic at the behest of several, rural counties, and communities, most notably Inyo and Mono counties, as well as Sierra and Alpine counties. They have asked that the fishing season be postponed in their areas to prevent thousands of out of town anglers from coming in and spreading the virus to residents, overwhelming their local rural communities’ resources and their ability to respond effectively to the crisis.

In a joint statement emailed to the news media after the meeting, CDFW Director Bonham and Commission President Eric Sklar said:

“We want to make it crystal clear that today’s proposed decision was not about banning fishing statewide or locally and we are not contemplating statewide closure. The decision is to help prepare us to work with counties and tribes to make those decisions based on their requests. We are working on a tailored and surgical approach based on local needs and knowledge.”

The state’s position appears to be that “it wants to do something different.”

Unfortunately, misinformation in comments shared on some Facebook postings have mischaracterized the issue, angering many readers on both sides of the issue.

But this is California and this is politics so, what else is new?


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15 Responses to Mayhem at CDFG Commission Teleconference Meeting on Postponing Fishing Season

  1. Indygal April 14, 2020 at 4:22 pm #

    As a fisherwoman, backpacker, and businesswoman, (with an RV that I cannot take anywhere right now,) I can say that many, if not most businesses in the Owens Valley are siding on the side of postponement. Yes, it sucks but not enough to put our communities in danger. We don’t have the infrastructure to care for out-of-owners right now. If someone injures themselves it decimates our first-responder system because they all need to quarantine after sharing equipment. Everyone in the US is in danger right now. nothing is happening TO YOU because you can’t go fishing until later in the year. It is just not possible right now.

  2. Gary April 13, 2020 at 2:57 pm #

    Thank you to everyone who understands the TRUE necessity of postponing fishing season in Bishop and all of Inyo & Mono county to protect the lives of everyone here. It is hard enough for us locals to get the food we need without the 20,000 + people coming up to fish and use our supplies that are limited to us living here.

  3. trout junky April 13, 2020 at 11:42 am #

    should be open to locals… in the meantime the Highway patrol and hangout at the roadblock.
    eventually this will end and Mammoth/ Bishop will be begging it’s visitors to come back up to the mountains because they will need MONEY. Lots of it….

  4. Gene Thomas April 13, 2020 at 7:18 am #

    Hansen has a point to be considered. Closure of the season would have devastating consequences to many local businesses. You would find that many of the local small cafes, tackle shops, motels and boat rental concessionaires would remain closed. No amount of printed currency spread around through federal programs could be enough to revive those operations. Do you want a future Bishop to look like Mojave or Needles? Reasonable precautions should be enforced, including face masks and social distancing, and a temporary deferral of opening day. But totally closing a primary part of the local economy for the year would be short-sighted.


    • eric h. April 13, 2020 at 9:56 pm #

      They are talking about pushing the start of the season back, nobody is talking about closing fishing down for the year.

  5. David Dennison April 12, 2020 at 9:13 pm #

    Now that you mention it,I don’t know a single small business owner,including two that run sporting goods and tackle stores,that want the Eastern Sierra Trout season opened while it’s not safe for our communities and residents,.
    Not the way we do things or the way most of us think living up here,putting the all mighty dollar way above everything else.This is small town living and thinking up here.
    Sure,they want to make money at their stores and shops.But not at the expense of putting our communities in danger with 20,000+ visitors heading our way at this time.
    I’m an avid fisherman myself,and would love to head north in a couple-three weeks to Mono County,once the crowds clear out and do some fishing myself.
    Believe me,our Communities are going to survive..from both the early end to the ski season,which brings MUCH more to the local economy than fishing season does….and we’ll survive the postponement to the Trout season too.
    The PEOPLE living up here,including business owners are calling for the postponement,not the California Government and Gov. Newsom doing it against our will,like some try to spin it.
    Besides,like I always like to say and try put out there.
    If these 20,000 strong come here,where are they going to stay ?
    All the campgrounds are closed.
    BLM land, USFS land,private campgrounds,LADWP land and areas all closed.
    Motels,resort cabins,restaurants.. closed too
    Dispersed camping areas….closed..
    And motorhomes,trailers,campers,etc.,I’m sure would be frowned upon if they were to park and tail-gate on neighborhood streets.
    No choice but to wait, and the “visitors”….and us “locals” too.We all just got to deal with it until it’s safe to open up the areas again around here
    Like Dan says above…a no brainer..

  6. T. HANSEN April 12, 2020 at 6:54 pm #

    It amazing how quickly those in the eastern Sierras seem to turn on those that aren’t “locals”.
    Who do you think supports your “local” economy?
    I bet the negative Nancy doesn’t represent the small business owners in ” your” community

  7. Dan April 12, 2020 at 10:59 am #

    As an avid fly fishermen I don’t like the idea of postponing the trout season but i do understand the importance of doing so.
    As recently as last week I’ve cancelled two trips in the last two months to PVR and the Owens River. The risk of spreading the big “C” isn’t worth me catching a few fish.

    It was bad enough when the climbers descended on Bishop last month increasing the risk to themselves and the local residents.
    The risk to the whole Eastern Sierra population as well as the fisherman would increase incrementally with the large number of visitors arriving for trout season.

    It’s a no brainer.

    • dpblue April 13, 2020 at 8:48 am #

      Dan- from a local fishermen I want to thankyou for cancelling your trips up here.
      Please come back up when it’s safe and we’ll see you on the water.

      • Dan April 13, 2020 at 9:00 pm #

        I’ve got at least three more trips planned so there’s a good chance we’ll be on the water at some point this year.

  8. Jeff Hoffman April 12, 2020 at 4:38 am #

    Fishing is,has been,and alwayswill be my #1 passion.I lost count how many trout openers I have been to.However,LIFE is my top priority.You only live once.Postponing the trout opener is MANDATORY.LIFE is MORE IMPORTANT THAN FISHING.The lakes,rivers and streams are not going anywhere.At the present time,WE all best not go anywhere.Do what is right.Tight Lines

  9. duckhead April 11, 2020 at 7:43 am #

    If the fishing opener is not postponed and camping/lodging is closed I fear the wildfire danger from the self entitled idiots dispersed camping. Can we get a ban on campfires?

  10. carole April 10, 2020 at 12:01 pm #

    They need to stay home. Why do they think,we’r all home from work and other things? We are protecting our self, like their suppose to be doing.

  11. David Dennison April 10, 2020 at 9:09 am #

    Oh,they ARE going to postpone the Trout opener.
    What it will do is piss-off all those 20k plus people wanting to come up here,only thinking of themselves and THEIR fun,not a single concern of anyone living here or the fact they’d have no place to camp,eat,stay and have their parties.
    I’m an avid fisherman myself,and it sucks,but not the time to welcome THOUSANDS of outsiders to our area now.
    If they can’t wait to clog up the highway,the campgrounds and the streams and lakes,too bad….deal with it.
    The fishing seasons aren’t being postponed in ALL of California’s lakes and streams..they can go somewhere closer to their homes,do their fishing where it’s not going to be so crowded as it would be here,and also them being closer to home,they could get back to their OWN houses and areas before night-fall…not the parking and camping in the closed areas,like they certainly would try to do and,in many cases, get away with doing up here.

  12. Diane April 10, 2020 at 6:46 am #

    I hope they do postpone fishing season, Because the Mountain can’t even open because of the covid19, A lot of businesses are closed as everyone knows…just saying


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