With the snow finally melting, lakes thawing and rivers raging, a new Mono County coalition aims to make sure that everyone knows it’s fishing season.
The Eastern Sierra Fishing Coalition (ESFC), led by a steering committee composed of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County representatives, will meet this coming week to discuss joint marketing opportunities to highlight the fishing at Crowley, Convict, Mammoth Lakes, and the June Lake Loop.
The ESFC plans to model itself after the Mammoth Lakes Event Coalition formed last fall. The MLEC collaborated to produce and print 155,000 copies of an event brochure, along with 250 posters each for music, arts, and sports events, and 150 fishing event-specific posters. These materials were distributed from San Diego to Las Vegas, from Los Angeles to Reno, as well as around the Bay area and locally in Mono County.
The ESFC has similar ambitions. “Much of what we need to do is combine our efforts to show the Eastern Sierra as a whole,” said steering committee member and Executive Director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism John Urdi. “We need co-operative advertising, joint promotion of events, and even things as basic as fishing maps or guides that we can distribute around the area.”
Fish stocking may be an issue, as a recent study by Dr. Tom Jenkins suggested. Urdi plans to “get a group of experts together” to verify whether public fish stocking by the DFG has decreased in recent years, and whether private stocking may be suffering as well. “The Town of Mammoth Lakes typically spends sixty thousand on stocking,” Urdi said. “But that may have gone down.”
It wasn’t just stocking that affected the fishing openers in the Eastern Sierra this year. The Crowley Opener was down 20% in attendance this year according to Urdi due in part to frigid conditions, in part to rising gas prices, and in part to lack of advertising. It didn’t help that most in attendance left without any of the big fish they may have caught in past years.
“There do seem to be less big fish than in previous years,” admitted steering committee member and Recreation Commissioner Sean Turner. “But on a positive note, I know we can do a better job of advertising the great fishing we do have here.” One of Turner’s suggestions for the Coalition will be that “creating an air of exclusivity” could help enhance Mono County’s image with regards to fishing. “Telling people that they ‘got to want to be here,’ rather than how easy it is to get here, makes people want to come visit us that much more.”
Urdi agreed: “We want to bring Mono County and Mammoth Lakes back to the level of prowess we’ve had in the past. The idea of staying in front of people to be top of mind is even more crucial these days, with competition for the limited time of our guests and economy challenges. We want to be sure that the overall experience we provide once people are here makes them come back and tell their friends to come back.”