SACRAMENTO – Trout season opened on May 15 in Alpine County when DFW Director Charlton Bonham lifted the delay of the opener as requested by county officials. Like the Eastern Sierra, the season was supposed to kick off on April 25 before the DFW along with the Fish and Game Commission delayed the annual event through May 31. This decision does not affect trout openers in any other county including Mono and Inyo counties which are still looking at a June 1 opener.
In April, the DFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a lot of tourism to the area. Local officials were concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 and its potential to put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses including lodging, dining and camping options were closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders.
In a letter last week, Alpine County officials requested that the DFW shorten the delay from May 31 to May 15, indicating that the county was doing a soft opening of restaurants and other facilities and wished for the delay to lift sooner.
On May 14, the Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting was held to discuss continued response to the crisis and potential action, if any, will be taken as far as opening the region to trout fishing prior to June 1. Unfortunately, the meeting was held a day after more positive COVID-19 test results potentially threw a speed bump in front of the reopening process, but when the meeting adjourned, those involved still felt like progress was made, but any decision on moving the opener to an early date won’t be made until the board meets this week.
“The general trout fishing season in Mono and Inyo counties is scheduled to open on June 1,” said Mono County Supervisor, Stacy Corless. “There is interest, especially in Northern Mono County, in asking the Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife to open the season earlier than that. Our board recognizes the need to coordinate any request for an earlier opening with Inyo County, and Supervisor Peters and I were assigned the job of working with our Inyo colleagues on this issue.”
The Mono County Board of Supervisors is also advocating moving through the state’s reopening plan (aka, the “Resilience Roadmap,” covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/) while keeping in mind the region’s unique circumstance as a remote, rural, tourism-based economy balancing the safety of residents and supporting local businesses.
At the meeting, Mono County Health Officer Dr. Boo said he feels comfortable attesting to Mono County’s readiness to move further into Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan, and will do so this week. If approved, more retail can open and restaurants can open for seated dining.
That’s considered “Plan A” by the county. “Plan B” would be submitting a “variance request form” to the California Dept. of Public Health for approval after the meeting, and another letter to the state asking for consideration of our need to accommodate travelers with short-term rentals ahead of other activities that currently are slated for opening in the state’s Stage 3.
For more info on the reopening stages, visit coronavirus.monocounty/pages/reopening.