UPDATE: 3:46 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - California regulators have voted to allow temporary limits on fishing in some rural communities where officials are concerned out-of-towners could spread the coronavirus to residents.
Opening day of trout season is celebrated among anglers as “fishmas” and draws thousands of people to the eastern Sierra.
This year it’s set for April 25. But fears over COVID-19 led the counties of Alpine, Inyo and Mono to urge regulators to postpone the unofficial holiday for their rivers, streams and lakes.
About 1 million licensed anglers regularly fish California’s waterways, making it one of the most active U.S. fishing states.
UPDATE: 11:47 a.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - An online meeting to discuss restrictions on recreational fishing in California has been rescheduled.
This comes after last week’s online call crashed due to the number of people attempting to join in.
The Fish and Game Commission is considering an emergency delay to the fishing season to mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus caused by travel for fishing trips or gathering while fishing.
The meeting is now scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at 10 a.m.
Those interested in providing public comments during the meeting must pre-register so that the operator is able to call on individual speakers. Click Here for instructions on how to pre-register and to read exact agenda items.
UPDATE: 11:05 a.m. Thursday, April 9, 2020 - Thursday's emergency meeting of the California Fish & Game Commission is being rescheduled for next week after an overwhelming call volume and difficulty with technology made it impossible to continue the early morning meeting.
Commission President Eric Sklar and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Donham made the following joint statement: "We are very appreciative of the passion we heard from those that were able to join this morning's call. It is clear that the call volume was overwhelming and the technology wasn't ready. We acknowledge that this is a challenge as we attempt to navigate new technology for meetings. We are frustrated by what happened today and are looking for a remedy now. We understand that many members of the public and media were unable to join the call and because we also understand the importance to many of you, we need to ensure that you have an opportunity to provide input."
CDFW officials said they want to make it "crystal clear" that the proposed decision was not about banning fishing statewide or locally. They emphasized that they are "not contemplating statewide closure."
Instead, they are working on a "tailored and surgical approach based on local needs and knowledge."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission was set to discuss whether or not to temporarily grant authority to CDFW to decide whether to delay, restrict, or suspend sport or recreational fishing in order to prevent and mitigate public health risks that may arise when people travel for fishing trips or congregate while participating in available fishing opportunities.
CDFW and the Commission have received requests to delay the sport and recreational fishing season, such as the Eastern Sierra trout opener scheduled for April 25, 2020.
The meeting will be rescheduled after the technical issues are resolved.