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Rescheduled – Blake Jones Trout Derby (Sept 16)

September 16

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The 2023 Blake Jones Trout Derby

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Cast Your Line Into The Legends Of The Blake Jones Fishing Derby 

Originally set for 3/11, then 5/13 – the RE-RESCHEDULED NEW DATE IS SEPTEMBER 16, 2023.

Due to safety concerns, the Bishop Chamber of Commerce has made the difficult decision to reschedule the previously rescheduled 2023 Blake Jones Trout Derby. Originally, the event was set for March 11 th, but unusually heavy snow made holding the derby impossible at that time.

Organizers had hoped conditions would improve by May, but the Owens River is running too high and too fast. Access to other waters is limited due to ice, snow removal and road repairs. New date for Blake Jones will be Saturday, September 16th , 2023.

“We’re sorry to have to do this, but safety of our guests is our highest priority,” explains Event Coordinator April Leeson.

Conditions should improve greatly by mid-September. Flows in the Owens will likely stabilize and upper elevation lakes like Sabrina and South Lake will be open and ice-free. Pleasant Valley Reservoir should be good as well. The derby will follow the same format – registration, weigh-in and prize ceremony at the Tri-County Fair & Event Center. It will be a blind bogey with plenty of prizes for all.   Derby participants that have already registered may choose to rollover the fees to the new date or receive a refund.

“We’re grateful for all the hard work of the land and water management agencies as well as road repair crews.  This winter has been a tough one and we know everyone is working as hard as possible to get us safe access to all the places we love to recreate. We’ll just have to be patient,” adds Tawni Thomson, Chamber Executive Director.

Note: California Department of Fish and Wildlife has not changed the date for the General Trout Season Opener – Saturday, April 29 th . The Bishop Chamber, LADWP and Inyo County encourage anyone who is fishing or otherwise recreating in the region to be extra careful around all waterways. Please obey all road closures and pay attention to posted warning signs.

A silver lining… “We may get a bit of a late start this year, but we’ll see great fishing later into the season.  Summer and fall will be wonderful with full lakes and flowing streams,” adds Thomson.

This more than half century old event isn’t just a fishing derby, but a testament to the popularity of fishing in the Eastern Sierra. To this day, it is still the largest single day fishing derby in the state of California. Held every March a month prior to “Fishmas” and the opening of the alpine lakes, this is your chance to warm up your cast and enjoy the spring weather in the Eastern Sierra. 


Everyone Can Win 

One of the unique aspects to the Blake Jones Derby is the idea of the “Blind Bogey” format. Ahead of the tournament, a secret fisherman goes out and catches a fish and then records it. During the tournament, if any registered competitors match the secret fish weight, they win the Blind Bogey raffle. Additional prizes are awarded for early registration, farthest travel, biggest fish, and even no fish for those who choose catch and release. 

>> Don’t Miss Out!

This Year’s Events 

This year’s Blake Jones Trout Derby will be held on Saturday May 13th. Nearly $10,000 worth of cash and prizes will be awarded, which includes items such as float tubes, rods & reels, gift certificates to local shops, restaurants and more. Even if the rest of your family isn’t into fishing, this is the perfect time to visit. While you enjoy casting on the Pleasant Valley Reservoir or Owens River, they can explore Bishop and its big backyard. Take in some of best spring hiking. Dust off your mountain bike and hit the trails. Heck, bring your camera and get a photo or two of the jaw-dropping scenery. The opportunities for outdoor spring fun are endless. 

>> Sign Up for you and your family


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, music, activities, food & beverage vendors and more,” Leeson added.

The Blake Jones Trout Derby is co-sponsored by Inyo County and the City of Bishop, plus many other generous sponsors.  For more information, contact the Bishop Chamber at (760) 873-8405.

Who Is Blake Jones 

Named after the late Blake Jones, he invented the modern cheese bait like PowerBait back in the late 1950s. With his charismatic personality, Blake Jones became a spokesman for Bishop and the Eastern High Sierra, helping to turn Bishop into a year-round California fishing vacation destination. 

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.

Since 1968, the event has been a favorite Eastern Sierra tradition.  Last year, nearly 400 registered participants weighed in more than 500 fish. The largest was 5 pounds and most were in the 1-pound range. Lucky winners took home about $10K worth of prizes including float tubes, Yeti coolers, barbecues, rod & reel combos and tons of other great gear provided by the event’s ever-generous co-sponsors.



September 16
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Tri-County Fairgrounds & Event Center
475 Sierra Street
Bishop, CA 93514 United States
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