As opener approaches, Mono County says “Come on in, the water’s fine.”
Despite the fact that the “Godzilla” El Niño predicted for the winter of 2015-16 did not materialize, Mono County streams and lakes are in good condition and the Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning on stocking more than last year, said Alicia Vennos this week, Economic Development Director for Mono County.
“Everything on the fishing front is really good news,” said Vennos, adding that, after the prolonged drought “it’s so nice to have some good news for a change.”
Mono County’s Economic Development Manager Jeff Simpson told The Sheet “I think everywhere is going to be just fine. I know Bridgeport reservoir was one of the main concerns throughout Mono County as far as water levels go, but the water is already past the marina.”
Simpson said that Mono County will augment state-stocked fish with an additional “$100,000 worth of fish into 21 bodies of water throughout the County” from just before fishing opener, on April 30 of this year, until November.
Most of those fish (95 percent) will be rainbow trout in the 3 to 5 pound range, Simpson said, and about five percent will be brown trout, all from Desert Springs Trout Farm in Oregon, which touts itself as a “Sustainable Green Hatchery” on its website.
Meanwhile, James Erdman, Environmental Biologist for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that the DFW will be stocking 20 percent more fish in Eastern Sierra lakes than it did last year. However, “last year was a huge cut” from prior years, which had been on a “downslope” since the drought began.
“I’m still a little worried personally,” he said, about water levels. “I’ve lived here 17 years and the snow level just seemed high [in elevation] to me all year.”
Erdman said that the increase is a goal, set by the DFW’s governor-approved budget, and that fish stocking will still be dependent on the health of the hatcheries that supply the state’s trout stocks.