By Deb Murphy
Joe Pecsi gave Bishop City Council a template to respond to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s new proposed fishing regulations, highlighting a lot of things wrong with those regs.
A former Councilman and chair of the Inyo County Fish and Wildlife Commission, Pecsi followed F&W’s biologist Jim Erdman’s brief summary of the regulations and the comment process. “There are now no district regulations,” he said. “Crowley will be year-round and water bodies not listed will also be year-round.”
Councilmember Stephen Muchovej asked about the sustainability of the fish population and if there were biological reasons, or benefits, for the changes. Erdman explained there were water temperature and flow rates that determined stocking, but didn’t really address the sustainability issues. In response to question two, he said trout spawning patterns would be outside of the bait-fishing season on many waters that will run from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September.
Then Pecsi addressed the Council, citing the Commission’s objection letter which will go before the Inyo Board of Supervisors at its April 16 meeting. His primary question was whether the resources could support the year-round fishing.
Other issues included the safety of anglers wandering around iced-over mountain lakes, the burden of enforcement with only five wardens, the financial impact on area resorts and their employees and the interaction of water fowl hunters and fishermen.
Pecsi also predicted a drop in fishing licenses. Erdman confirmed the money from those licenses went into the stocking fund.
Assuming the regulations will be approved by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, Pecsi suggested getting the County’s state representatives involved in the battle.
The Council will be sending a letter of protest similar to the County Commission’s.