Mono Supervisors Ask State to Delay Fishing Opener Due to Covid-19

Staff Writer

The Mono County Board of Supervisors, the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Mono County Public Health Officer and Sheriff this week asked the state to delay Fishing Opener in Mono County in order to prevent more out of area people arriving in the county.

Here is the letter they sent to the state on April 1:

April 1, 2020
Director Charlton H. Bonham
State of California – Natural Resources Agency Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)
1416 Ninth Street, Room 125
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Postponement of Regular Fishing Season and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fish Stocking in Mono County

Dear Mr. Bonham,
On behalf of the Mono County Board of Supervisors, Mammoth Lakes Town Council, Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun, and Mono County Public Health Officer, we are writing to request the postponement of the opening of trout fishing season scheduled for April 25, 2020.

On April 1, 2020 the Mono County Board of Supervisors discussed potential impacts of the annual Fishing Opener weekend, April 25-26, 2020, on the public health and safety of local residents, communities and visitors. Fishing Opener, known as, “Fishmas” in Mono County, is a long-standing, traditional event that celebrates the beginning of the regular trout fishing season, and attracts thousands of anglers to the County’s front country lakes and rivers.

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. Indeed, 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 accommodation 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. There is one small hospital in Mammoth Lakes which has limited beds and four ventilators – as of today, there are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mono County, with more cases expected in the coming weeks. 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.

In summary, for the protection of public health and safety, the Mono County Board of Supervisors, the Mammoth Lakes Town Council, Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun, and Mono County Public Health Officer Dr. Thomas Boo respectfully request that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife delay Fishing Opener and its fish stocking plans for Mono County waters until the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order is lifted.

Please let us know if we can take any further action to expedite this request. Thank you in advance for your understanding and consideration of our situation.


Stacy Corless, Chair, Mono County Board of Supervisor
Bill Sauser, Mayor, Town of Mammoth Lakes
Sheriff Ingrid Braun
Dr. Thomas Boo, Mono County Health Officer

CC Via Email:
Governor Gavin Newsom
Senator Andreas Borgeas
Assemblyman Frank Bigelow
California Fish and Game Commission California Department of Natural Resources California Department of Public Health
Inyo County Board of Supervisors
Town of Mammoth Lakes Council
City of Bishop Council
Karen E. Mouritsen, California State Director, Bureau of Land Management Stafford Lehr – Deputy Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Nora Rasure, Regional Forester Region 4, United States Forest Service Randy Moore, Regional Forest Region 5, United States Forest Service
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power