The 2017 Blake Jones Trout Derby is Saturday, March 11th at Pleasant Valley Reservoir!
Since 1968, the Blake Jones Trout Derby has been a favorite event for local and visiting anglers and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever!
Derby headquarters will be at Pleasant Valley Reservoir, 8 miles north of Bishop. The contest is a “blind bogey” competition, so everyone has equal chance to win. Each registered participant may enter up to five fish and if any fish matches the blind bogey weight, they’ll be entered into a raffle to win great prizes. There are categories for adults and kids; additional prizes are awarded just for participating. Prize packages include rod & reel combos, float tubes, tackle, gift certificates for local restaurants & retailers, and much, much more. Typically, more than $10,000 worth of prizes is given away!
Prior to the derby, Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Owens River will be heavily stocked with rainbow trout. California Department of Fish and Wildlife will plant fish and the Bishop Chamber has made arrangements with Desert Springs Trout Farm to plant more than 700 pounds of fish.
Register now and then just check-in day of derby. You can also pre-order your commemorative t-shirt and pick up on derby day.
During the derby, you are allowed to fish in both the Pleasant Valley Reservoir and any section of the lower Owens River (except the catch & release Wild Trout area) and bring your catch to the derby headquarters at the reservoir to have them weighed.
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.”