With just over a week left before the general trout opener, Fish and Game staff continues to work to open waters after being slapped with legal restrictions on fish stocking. At last word Mono County appeared to be in good shape for the trout opener, but while many waters in Inyo County had been cleared for stocking, the Owens River had still not made the all clear list.
As a result of a lawsuit filed by Stanford Law Students and the Center for Biological Diversity, Fish and Game had to run the entire state fish hatchery program through the California Environmental Quality Act process. This latest round of legal wrangling requires Fish and Game to consider the impact of trout on each sensitive species in each water.
Dan Lyster with Mono County reports that Mono is looking pretty good. While there are still waters to clear, Lyster says that Fish and Game is cautiously optimistic that nearly every water will be cleared in time for the opener. Most major creeks, rivers and streams in Mono County have been cleared for stocking so far, but others such as Twin Lakes near Bridgeport, and Convict Lake have not. Lytser is optimistic that these lakes will be cleared in time.
14 creeks in Inyo County have been cleared for stocking, including Bishop Creek, but at last word, the Owens River had not been cleared in Inyo County.
Harry Morse with Fish and Game says, Were moving ahead as fast as possible. While the Owens in Inyo County has not yet made the stocking list, Morse did say that Fish and Game staff plans to update the cleared water list on their website every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
With waters either cleared or close to it, Lyster says that he is more concerned with the weather on opening day than he is with the regulatory concerns. The most important thing to remember Lyster says, is that there are still fish to be caught.