54th Annual Blake Jones Trout Derby – March 11, 2023!!!
An Eastern Sierra Tradition! Over $10K in cash & prizes – One of California’s largest single-day trout derbies. Registration, check-in and prize ceremony at Tri-County Fairgrounds. Fishing at Pleasant Valley Reservoir and Owens River. Blind Bogey format with prizes for all ages.
The Blake Jones Trout Derby is set for Saturday, March 11th in Bishop, California. Since 1968, the event has been a favorite tradition for Eastern Sierra locals and visitors alike. This year is shaping up to be a great one according to the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. “We feel confident we’ll be allowed to have the event and do so in a way that is safe and fun for everyone,” states Chamber Executive Director Tawni Thomson. There is plenty of room for people to spread out while fishing and at the fairgrounds.
Every year, nearly $10,000 worth of cash and prizes are awarded including float tubes, rods & reels, gift certificates to local shops and restaurants and more. The Blake Jones derby is a blind bogey format with categories for adults and kids of all ages. In addition to the blind bogey awards, there will be prizes for early bird registrations, farthest travel, biggest fish, even prizes for those who don’t catch any fish or choose to catch & release.
Registration, weigh-in, and awards ceremony will be at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds in downtown Bishop. Fishing locations include Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Owens River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife plants Rainbow Trout year-round in these locations and the Bishop Chamber will arrange for supplemental stocking of fish purchased from Wright’s Rainbows prior to the derby. “We want to make sure there are plenty of fish for everyone,” explains April Leeson, Event Coordinator at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce.
“The derby is a real family-friendly fishing event. In addition to the fishing contest, we’ll have information booths, educational displays, kids’ casting games, activities and more,” Leeson added.
Registration for the derby is now OPEN. Online registrations will be accepted until 5pm on 3/10. Walk-up registrations will be accepted beginning at 6am on day of derby.
The Blake Jones Trout Derby is co-sponsored by Inyo County and the City of Bishop, plus many other generous prize sponsors. For more information, contact the Bishop Chamber at (760) 873-8405.
BLAKE JONES TROUT DERBY RULES: Read carefully. when you register, you are agreeing to follow the rules.
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 must be weighed in by 3pm at Tri-County Fairgrounds – no exceptions.
- Contestants who wish to enter the raffle for catch and release or no fish must also check-in by 3pm.
- Prizes will be awarded beginning at 4pm, winners must be present to claim prizes.
- 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.
BLIND BOGEY FORMAT
- 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.
OTHER WAYS TO WIN
- 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.
- No shuttle service this year including to and from town and the route along the reservoir.
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 $25/ Child $15
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.”