The COVID-19 pandemic and spread do not appear to be slowing anytime soon. That said, in the fishing cosmos California’s April 25 trout opener was going to be in doubt, if simply for the idea that thousands of anglers would be headed for the Eastern Sierra, which in the past has crowded major trout fisheries such as Convict and Crowley Lakes some other rivers and creeks in lower elevations.
So when Mono County leaders met this week, they sent a letter to California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s director Charles H. Bonham, recommending that the opener be postponed. Here’s the key text of the letter (the full text is embedded above):
“Governor Newsom’s March 19 “Stay At Home” Executive Order requiring all Californians to stay in their place of residence through April 30, 2020 should theoretically eliminate visitation to the Eastern Sierra… all short-term lodging rentals and campgrounds, most restaurants, shops, amenities, and attractions are closed in compliance with the State and local Public Health Officer’s orders. However, despite the Governor’s directives, and despite the lack of available accommodations and amenities, we are unfortunately still seeing numerous visitors who are hiking, climbing, ski touring, camping, and recreating in the County.”
“Based on these observations, the consensus is that Fishing Opener will draw significant numbers of people from Southern California, Sacramento, Bay Area, San Diego, Reno, and many other urban areas to fish in our region. This influx of anglers and potentially families/companions will promote transmission of COVID-19 and put additional strain on our already taxed health care services. Mono County is simply not equipped to handle multiple cases of COVID-19 illness… It is highly possible that by April 25 and Fishing Opener, our health care system will be overwhelmed.”
“We request that the CDFW fish stocking schedule for Opener be postponed to further discourage recreational fishing.”