As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham, in consultation with California Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar, delayed the start of the trout opener in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties.
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.
In addition, on Wednesday CDFW took two specific and limited steps for fishing in Sierra County. As requested by county officials, CDFW suspended fishing on the mainstem of the North Fork Yuba River and delayed the trout opener on the entire Downie River mainstem in the county.
Sierra County officials requested these actions last week along with requests from Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties; however; the tailored request required additional discussion with the county.
Fishing was already open on the mainstem of the North Fork Yuba River. Trout fishing was scheduled to open on the Downie River this Saturday, April 25. Trout is the only fishable species on the Downie River. The closure and delay in Sierra County will expire May 31, 2020.
Specifically, this means fishing is now suspended on the North Fork Yuba River from Yuba Pass downstream to the confluence with Goodyears Creek and the trout opener on the entire mainstem of the Downie River is delayed, both through May 31, 2020.
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 May 31.
This week’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.