Could 2019 be the last “Fishmas”?

For many decades, the last Saturday in April has been the day that the State of California’s trout fishing season opened in the Eastern Sierra. It is an unofficial holiday, where traditionally thousands of visitors arrive to help kick off the season, looking forward to the Summer. Local merchants have anticipated the Trout Opener each year as a busy tourist weekend, helping to sustain their businesses until the peak season of July and August, when folks enjoy their summer vacations. That tradition may be coming to an end.

 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing new fishing regulations which will go into effect statewide. The new rules would establish year-round fishing in our local waters with a bag limit of 5, and a possession limit of 10 fish. There are still a number of exceptions though. Specifically here in the Loop, Rush Creek below the Grant Lake Dam, Parker Creek, and Walker Creek would all be established as barbless hook, catch-and-release only. Rush Creek between Silver Lake and Grant Lake would have a split season, with catch-and-release fishing after September 30, then reverting to the regular rules on Memorial Day weekend.

 

Several years ago the State proposed a similar rules change, and was met with vehement opposition by local residents and businesses, primarily citing safety concerns associated with embarking upon frozen lakes during the winter. The new year-round rules were not implemented at that time, but now the DFW has once again proposed this change. A public meeting was conducted in Bishop last month to gather comments, and there will be other meetings during the coming weeks throughout the state.

 

Times do change, and the DFW claims that their new plan will “simplify” the fishing regulations statewide and improve the health of the fisheries (this is debatable, check out the complete list of proposed changes here). Perhaps the age has come when it is time to allow year-round fishing, although it is difficult for many of us to give up the old traditions. As of this writing, there is still time to offer comments on the proposal and all concerned citizens are encouraged to do so.

The DFW’s Public Comment Page is here:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan/Regulation-Simplification/comments

 

Future public meetings will also be held as follows:

 

 

Saturday, April 6, 2019
Noon - 2:00 p.m.
Bass Pro Shops, 7777 Victoria Gardens Lane, Rancho Cucamonga


Wednesday, April 10, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Colonial Heights Library Community Room, 4799 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento


Tuesday, April 23, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Truckee-Tahoe Airport Community Room, 10356 Truckee Airport Road, Truckee