In yesterday’s meeting, the Fish and Game Commission voted to grant CDFW the power to allow specific counties the ability to postpone the opening of general trout season in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to their remote communities that have limited medical resources.
“I understand Californians desperately need the outdoors for solace, reinvigorate, and spirituality, especially so right now,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The proposal was never about a statewide permanent closure. It is about being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency, where we must do all we can as Californians to help each other make it through this together. We intend to use this authority surgically and based on local needs and knowledge.”
As of now, the counties who have officially asked for this measure are Inyo, Mono, Alpine, and Sierra counties but additional counties have inquired as well stating that closing some counties and not others would increase pressure on the places that remain open. There was some vocal opposition from anglers, some of whom stated that the shelter in place ordnance and travel ban, as well as social pressure, should be enforced to restrict anglers from flooding these remote communities as oppose to closing fishing. This ordnance only gives the department authority to postpone the opening of trout season until the end of May. As of now, it is still unclear as to whether year-round fisheries will remain open to locals. We will continue to track these events as they unfold and advocate for angler’s rights and balance public safety needs.