Update from Bishop Chamber on Blake Jones cancellation

Bishop Chamber of Commerce press release

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce regrettably announces Cancellation of the 2017 Blake Jones Trout Derby which was scheduled for March 11th.

A unique set of circumstances beyond the chamber’s control led to the decision. On Friday, February 24th Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rescinded its permission to hold the event at Pleasant Valley Reservoir due to public safety concerns. Strong winter storms have caused extremely high water level in the reservoir and dangerously high water flows in the Owens River.

The chamber immediately began working with LADWP, Inyo County, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife seeking other options. Millpond was suggested as a safe alternative; however, on Monday, February 27th, CADFW informed the Bishop Chamber that Millpond is not a viable location. According to CADFW regulations, Millpond is not open to trout fishing this time of year.

“Since LADWP issued the public safety warning for PVR and the Owens River, and no safe alternative is available, the Chamber’s Executive Committee has no choice, but to cancel the event for this year,” explains Tawni Thomson, Bishop Chamber CEO.

This is not a decision taken lightly. The chamber had been making plans for many months and invested several thousand dollars in advertising and prizes. They understand that many participants look forward to this event every year and will be disappointed by the cancellation. The chamber understands the financial impact to the local economy; however public safety must be the highest priority.

The 2017 event was to be the 50th Annual Blake Jones Trout Derby and the Bishop Chamber had many new and fun activities planned to celebrate the milestone. “We’ve decided not to view this as a total cancellation. We will still have the 50th Anniversary, it will just be in 2018,” says April Leeson, Chamber Event Coordinator.

While the chamber is disappointed, they are not upset with LADWP or CADFW. “It was wonderful to see representatives from all agencies working so hard to try to save the derby,” Thomson states. “We really appreciate everyone’s suggestions and sincere efforts.”

Preregistered derby contestants will have all fees returned. There is no need to respond to this email or call. We have your information and will automatically process the refunds. “It may take us a few weeks to process the refunds and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” explains Thomson.

Thank you for your continued support!

Your Friends at the Bishop AreaChamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

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8 Responses to Update from Bishop Chamber on Blake Jones cancellation

  1. Low Inyo March 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    This is the day and age where all activities depend on the “authorities” decisions….when it snows,roads being closed prematurely….schools shutting down…. being told to stay inside,not to drive…..when it rains,news conferences telling people the dangers of flooding,landslides and water…not to venture outside unless you have to…when summer rolls around,it’s telling people how to deal with the heat….I’m betting this year,with the possible flooding when the snow begins to melt,MANY campgrounds will be closed…people will be told where to fish and camp..and how to do it….just the way it seems to be now….like maybe people no longer are smart enough to make their own decisions with a lot of things….and when you look at the nightly news,maybe they’re right….. ain’t like it used to be back in the late 60’s and 70’s,that’s for sure…

    • erik simpson March 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

      As someone who lived through the 60s and 70s, I’m not so sure people knew how to do it then either, but at least some of them tried. The older I get, the sillier things seem.

  2. ES March 3, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

    Yes water can be dangerous. So is just about everything else, including driving (fortunately, Caltrans still lets us use the roads). The Owens is not a very big river, even at 500 cfs, and while it does have strainers, it is lacks truly dangerous whitewater… We are not talking about the Colorado River.

    The flows in the river are hardly unprecedented (it flowed at 500+ last year, and 700+ for 18 months straight in the 90’s when DWP Was diverting the Mono Basin flows through the valley); DWP did not cancel the derby those years though…

  3. DESCO March 2, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    The Owens is currently flowing at 461 CFM and rising. That’s a LOT of water moving very fast. I heard somewhere that it may go over 700 CFM. Anyone falling into the river is not coming back.

    • DESCO March 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

      Been doing some math.
      A cubic foot of weighs 62.5 pounds. If you are standing in water one foot deep at 461 CFM that’s 62.5 X 461 = 28,812.5 pounds of water trying to push you down every minute.
      I’ll wait till the flow gets below 100 to go fishing. Thanks.

      • YourFriendlyNeighborhoodEngineer March 6, 2017 at 10:13 am #

        Although your curiosity of wondering how powerful the Owens is when flowing at 700 CFS is commendable, you’re making a few improper assumptions that need to be accounted for. Yes, there is around 28,780 pounds of water per second moving along the river at 461 CFS, or 43,701 pounds of water per second at the aforementioned 700 CFS (density of water at 40* F is 62.43 lb/ft^3). However, this is in terms of pounds as a mass of water, not the actual force applied to a person in a portion of the river. By making a few assumptions/simplifications of my own – a rectangular stream cross section of 70′ wide by 3′ deep, perfectly even flow through the whole channel, no vertical drops, etc. etc. – you can find a theoretical max of 143.8 Newtons or 32.3 pound-force exerted on a wader with a 3 ft^2 cross sectional. That doesn’t sound like much, but as you or anyone who’s spent time around a raging river knows, the current is much faster is some parts of the river and slower in others – that’s where fish like to hang out – and since water is floating you up, that seemingly small force pushing against you is easily enough to send you downstream if you don’t have a solid footing.

  4. Who Knew March 1, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

    Why not just have the usual Blake Jones registration area set up, and direct them to the Owens… It is full and flowing good. It would be a great alternative for all the people that just show up every year (that dont do the internet and wont get the cancellation notice) CADFW can still stock, as well as the fish purchased can be put into the river. Why not?? Lots of people depend on the derby every year.

  5. Trouble March 1, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    Give me a break. Why can’t we fish the lower owens?
    I’m going to anyway.


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