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53rd Annual Blake Jones Trout Derby – March 13, 2021!!!

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce has announced significant changes for this weekend’s Blake Jones Trout Derby.  In light of rapidly evolving concerns regarding Corona Virus/COVID-19, “social distancing” and “mass gatherings,” the Bishop Chamber is taking measures to at reduce risk to derby attendees, staff and volunteers for the event.

“We’ve given careful consideration to the situation including consulting with the Inyo County Public Health Officer,” explains Tawni Thomson of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce.  Dr. Richardson stated he feels the event is low risk and did not recommend cancellation; however, in order to minimize chances of virus spread, the Chamber Board of Directors has decided to eliminate the traditional awards ceremony “mass gathering” portion of the derby and all prizes will be awarded via raffle.

How will this work?

  • Everyone who has pre-registered for the derby will automatically be entered into the raffle.
  • Winners will be chosen on Monday, 3/15/21 then notified by email or phone.
  • Winners will have the option to pick up the prize at the Chamber or have it shipped.
  • People that have pre-purchased a t-shirt will have the option to pick up at Chamber or have it shipped.
  • There will be no fish-weighing and no prize ceremony at the fairgrounds.

“The fish have been stocked, the prizes are all ready to go,” explains Chamber Event Coordinator April Leeson.  The Bishop Chamber understands the annual derby is a beloved tradition that draws anglers from near and far to enjoy the family-friendly fishing event.  They also understand the derby is very important to our local economy.  “Although less than ideal, we believe this plan represents a good balance between preserving the fishing tradition and accommodating current health care concerns,” added Leeson. 

“We’re calling our new format Plan “C” for Coronavirus,” stated Thomson.  “We are keeping a good sense of humor about the situation and we hope everyone that chooses to fish near Bishop this weekend has great luck and a great time.”

What’s next?

If you have already registered and would like participate in the raffle, you do not have to do anything.  Have fun fishing and we’ll notify you if you win a raffle prize.

If you have registered, but do not wish to be in the raffle, send an email to .  We will process a refund of your entry fee by 3/31/20.

If you would still like to register to participate in the 2020 BJD Raffle, you can do that online at or in person at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce – 690 N. Main Street.

Bishop, California invites anglers of all ages to fish Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Lower Owens River near, each vying for their share of more than $10,000 in prizes. More than 1,300 fish are weighed-in, with several lunkers over 5 pounds. It’s important to note that the Bishop Chamber of Commerce purchased more than 3,000 pounds of catchable rainbows prior to the derby to make sure there are plenty of fish to go around.


Prizes are awarded by a blind bogey raffle. All participants with fish matching the target weight are entered into a raffle. While the Bishop Chamber is the proud organizer of the beloved annual event, it’s important to note that they rely on a solid group of volunteers to make it all happen.

  • All fish entered must be caught on day of derby.
  • Participants must catch and enter their own fish.
  • All fish entered must be caught in waters that are open for fishing as indicated by CADFW Regulations.
  • All participants must hold a current valid California fishing license.
  • All CADFW regulations apply. If you are unsure of the regulations, copies of CADFW Freshwater Fishing Regulations Booklet will be available at check-in table.


  • Prior to derby, a secret fisherman will catch Blind Bogey fish and record the weight.
  • On day of derby, each participant may catch and register up to five(5) fish.
  • Those that match the Blind Bogey weight are entered into a raffle to win prizes.


Prizes may be awarded for additional categories: Early Bird Registration, Farthest Traveled and Big Fish. Themed raffle baskets and special raffle prizes for those who catch and release or don’t catch any at all.


  • The Blake Jones Trout Derby is a family-friendly event. All ages are welcome.
  • The Blake Jones Trout Derby is organized by the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau with the help of many co-sponsors including the County of Inyo and City of Bishop. Please be sure to check out our sponsor board near the prize stage.
  • Please help us keep our beautiful area clean. Don’t discard fishing line, packaging, cans or other trash in the water or along the shore.
  • We know some folks like to enjoy adult beverages while fishing. In order to make sure everyone gets back to their home or hotel safely, please have a designated driver.

Held every March since 1968, The Blake Jones Trout Derby is always held the weekend after the Fred Hall Sports Show in Long Beach. The site of the derby is along the Owens River, just below the Pleasant Valley Reservoir, six miles north of Bishop.

Fishing during the derby is allowed in the reservoir and along the Owens River (avoid barbless, catch & release area below PVR campground.)  Loads of trout are planted just before the derby by both Desert Springs Trout Farm and the DFW (formally DFG). You can enter your catch in any number of categories including “Blind Bogey” for a chance to win your part of over $10,000 in prizes including high quality rod & reel combos, float tubes, custom lures, lodging, dinners and other goodies from local merchants and friends of the Bishop Chamber.

Put on by the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, this pre-season event is a great chance to wet your line and hone your fishing skills while getting a chance to win big prizes!


Weigh-in and awards ceremonies are held at the Eastern Sierra Tri- County Fairgrounds

Fees: Adults $20/ Child $10
Day-of registration Starts at 6am
Weigh Your Catch By 3pm
Awesome Prizes! Win Cash, Float Tubes, Rod & Reel Combos…Loads of Fishing Gear To Be Awarded!
Register Online, by Mail or at Tri-County Fairgrounds the Day of Derby


Interesting history about the derby…..

Who was Blake Jones?

Whenever you bait your hook with Powerbait or any of the other modern cheese baits, you can thank the late Blake Jones. Jones invented cheese bait which was unique when it was introduced back in the 1950s. Before Blake Jones came along anglers had to use Velveeta cheese spread or cut small pieces from a block of cheese which easily fell off the hook when immersed in water. Blake’s special cheese bait stayed on the hook even during heavy casting.

But Blake Jones was probably best known as one of the legendary anglers Bishop. Along with his wife, Peggy, he fished all over the high country and taught hundreds of people how to fish the lakes and streams of the High Sierra. Longtime local resident and business owner Don Barrett explained.

“They were the type of people who would never hesitate and help people fish. They might hand someone a jar of bait and show them how to use it. They were just that way.”

The couple took their knowledge of fishing the local waters to various trade shows in Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Francisco. With his charismatic personality, Jones became an outstanding spokesman for Bishop and the Eastern High Sierra and helped turn Bishop into a vacation destination.

The Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce which had been holding an annual fishing derby since 1968 decided to honor Jones for his work and dedication by renaming the derby after him. Unfortunately, Blake Jones died on June 14, 1987 before the first derby bearing his name took place.

Marvin Jones said:

“My father was a serious fisherman and he always wanted to help someone. He was a good public relations man. He always wanted to be sure the other person always caught a fish. He went to a lot of work to fish.”


“**Make sure to tag your Instagram and Facebook photos with #VISITBISHOP so we can find them!!