L.A. DWP forces cancellation of historic Blake Jones trout derby

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce announced it was canceling the 2017 Blake Jones Trout Derby scheduled for March 11. This would have been the 50th anniversary of this event, but the Chamber of Commerce had no options when the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rescinded its permission to hold the event at Pleasant Valley Reservoir.

The L.A. DWP said the extremely high water level in the reservoir and high flows in the Owens River created “public safety” concerns.

So, is the reservoir closed to all fishing? Is the Owens River closed to fishing?

The answer to both of those questions is “No.”

Yet, again we are seeing a bureaucracy toss its weight around for no good reason. Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the lower Owens River are not closed to fishing, so why did the L.A. DWP oust the derby? It makes no sense. If the reservoir and river are safe for any anglers to fish, how can it not be safe to allow the derby to go forward?

Decisions like this are why people hate the L.A. DWP in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Of course, the Department of Fish and Wildlife couldn’t or didn’t want to do the dance to get Millpond opened to fishing (it’s closed until April 29), which would have been a viable alternative. So the Chamber was out of options, and the staff cancelled the derby late this past week.

Refunds for pre-registrants are being processed now, but it could take a few weeks to get this process completed.

(Jerry Winstead photo)

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