Bishop Visitor Logo

Bishop Visitor's Center

50th ANNIVERSARY
March 17, 2018

Intro

The Blake Jones Trout Derby, held in Bishop every year in March, is one of the largest single day fishing events in California. The Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce began the annual fishing derby in 1968 and renamed it the Blake Jones Trout Derby in 1988 in honor of one of the region’s greatest fishing legends, Blake Jones.

Jones was the inventor of a form of cheese bait that revolutionized the fishing industry – so whenever you bait your hook with Powerbait or a modern cheese bait, you have the late Blake Jones to thank.

His enthusiasm for fishing was infectious and he helped many people learn to fish and improve their skills. Jones had extensive experience and in depth knowledge of fishing the waters of this region and with his charismatic personality he was the perfect spokesperson for Bishop and the Eastern Sierra. He helped spawn the local fishing tourism industry.

Sadly Jones passed away before the first derby bearing his name was held, but his legacy lives on.

What Makes It Great


This pre-season family oriented event is held at Pleasant Valley Reservoir, six miles north of Bishop, where fishing is allowed in the reservoir and along a stretch of the lower Owens River – all year long. The Derby is not just a chance to win fantastic prizes, but also an opportunity to get ready for the general fishing opener which is the last Saturday in April when all Eastern Sierra waters open for trout fishing.

The derby format includes a “Blind Bogey” so everyone has a chance to win some of the great cash and gear prizes on offer valued at over $10,000.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) plants fish regularly at Pleasant Valley Reservoir and Owens River and the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce purchases extra fish from Desert Springs Trout Farm for the event. There are always lots of fish and plenty big ones too!

Who Is Going to Love It


This is an angler’s dream event where fishing comes first!

However, for family and friends who need a change of pace or scenery Bishop offers a host of alternative things to do during the weekend. The area offers some of the best spring hiking, mountain biking, photographic opportunities, and incredible night sky viewing. So don’t leave anyone (not even the furry family members) at home. Find out more about all the great activities available here in this previous ‘not-so-much-fishing’ related blog, A Few Fun Ways to Celebrate Fishmas – besides Fishing!

The Season

March in Bishop is springtime! That means you can expect almost any kind of weather – from hot and sunny to cold and windy, perhaps some snow or a little rain, and sometimes all of it in the same day. Spring in the Eastern Sierra is very unpredictable and highly changeable.

Wildflowers could be in bloom and the waters of the Owens River can run high if winter snowfall has been good or low if winter has been dry. Nevertheless it’s always beautiful and wild!

white pelicans landing, in the water, and taking off in flight

American White Pelicans gather by the hundreds during migration in the spring and the fall.

Get Ready to Fish the 50th Anniversary of the Blake Jones Trout Derby

The 2018 Blake Jones Trout Derby will be the 50th Anniversary of this event.

The only year in the history of this event that the derby was cancelled was 2017, which would have been the 50th in consecutive years. However, the historic record-breaking winter snowfall of 2016-17 resulted in extreme spring water runoff conditions and the river was deemed to be too dangerous to fish.

Staff of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, local anglers, and business owners are notably proud that the legacy of Blake Jones still continues and this upcoming 50th Anniversary event is going be staged and celebrated with the towns’ customary flair.

Register for the 50th Anniversary (take 2) of the Blake Jones Trout Derby online here or by mail or at the Tri-County Fairgrounds on the day of the Derby.

Fees: Adults $20/ Child $10
Day-of registration Starts at 6am
Weigh-In Deadline: 3pm

https://youtu.be/D5rgqvVuloM

A NEW REGISTRATION LOCATION:

Directions. Parking. Regulations.

A new venue for registration, check in, weigh station, and prize giving is at the conveniently located Tri-County Fairgrounds in downtown Bishop.

The entrance to the Tri-County Fairgrounds is on Sierra Street and we must warn you that there is no physical address for the fairgrounds. So GPS or Google mapping won’t give you anything good to follow.

Check out this video and follow these directions. There is plenty of parking at the fairgrounds and on-site RV camping may be available – contact Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds at 760-873-3588.

Please obey all speed limit signs as you enter town. Remember that US Highway 395 is also Bishop’s Main Street where many pedestrians cross. Plenty of free parking is available just a block east or west of Main Street and all of the retail shops and restaurants have entrances from the parking lots.

The Pleasant Valley Reservoir is a 6-mile drive from downtown Bishop north on US Highway 395 to Pleasant Valley Rd. Turn right and follow the road to the road closure at the base of the dam. Shuttle service will run between the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds and Pleasant Valley Reservoir all day on derby day.

Visit Bishop and fish the 2018 Blake Jones Trout Derby to stand a chance of landing your share 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.

Pop into or call the Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N. Main St. or (760) 873-8406 and let the friendly, knowledgeable folks there help you plan a weekend of fun and fishing.

 

Coronavirus Special Message

Check out the Digital Bishop Visitor Guide!

Archived Stories

Tell us:

Follow Us on Instagram

Join Us on Facebook!

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

This message is only visible to site admins
Problem displaying Facebook posts. Backup cache in use.

Error: Error validating access token: The user has not authorized application 1332798716823516.
Type: OAuthException

3 days ago

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist
... See MoreSee Less

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
https://californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist

Comment on Facebook

Wow... been a good long while since I’ve been to Bishop. Their high school team was in our league (I went to Tehachapi High) and we traveled there for some football games — something like a 5-6 hour drive each way if I recall correctly. A tough team to beat also. I’m betting it hasn’t changed all that much over all these years (circa late ‘60s).

I'm so sorry the smoke is bad there still. I missed my annual visit this year. It's on my to do list for next year.

We can see it over the Spring Mountains to the West/NW here in Las Vegas. Fortunately, not much of it made it into the LV valley.

Would LOVE to move there if my hubby can find a job nearby!

We left this morning. Not only is it very smokey the smell of smoke is incredible. I don't smoke and I was ready to light up.

Nice photo. That's the real West.

Miss Bishop, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Tinnamaha campground!!!!

No, that is where the theater and Joseph’s used to be. Joseph’s has been gone for some time now. Penny’s is now Dollar General. Unfortunately a lot of vacant stores. Hi Kent!❤️

Hello and good morning. I am planning to drive up to Bishop from Southern California. The main purpose is to see fall colors. May I know if the fall colors are still at peak this coming next two weeks or is it past peak? Thank you for your advice/suggestions.

We were just there.😔

We have to leave too, I almost threw up it was so bad, got to Lee Vining and blue fresh air..take care of yourselves

so sorry for the smoke crazy time for all this year.

I spent a week here and didn't get to see the beauty through the smoke 😏

When was this picture taken, Sunday at 6 am ? never seen it this quiet.

Awesome pic! I wish a Main Street business had a rooftop deck so you can eat with that exact same view!

No smoke in the photo. ??

Is this an old photo? Joseph’s market was the only market back when we lived in Bishop in 1969.

It’s still Smokey? Where is the smoke coming from ?

Beautiful town

I always love to go threw Bishop.

Went thru Bishop yesterday, it was terribly Smokey 😪💚

I wish it was still small !

Does bishop still have a jack in the box

My favorite place ❤️

Isnt that the Old JC Penney store?

View more comments

6 days ago

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom
... See MoreSee Less

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful vacation destination

And a free thinker! This is Good!

🙏praying that it stays like this 💖

I miss Bishop so much and living there too 😢😉❤️

This is one of my favorite places to take pictures when I lived in Bishop. There’s many more.

Sigh. Bishop. Love it.

See you next week little sheep

We loved our visit to Bishop

Miss bishop fun times there

Nice!!!

Oh how I love that view

It was beautiful

Love Bishop

👍

Need snow on them things!

View more comments

1 week ago

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14
... See MoreSee Less

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14

Comment on Facebook

I've been on that same road every year at this time...

It sure was smoky today.

Still hazy there.😥

I love the West.

Beautiful picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

We always used to stay at Brown’s Millpond Campground just north of Bishop. Very nice private campground with a stream running through it. So many wonderful memories from Mule Days!

Up her for 4 day little smoke but really nice trees turning colors

It's the hunting and fishing Road 🏞️🎣🏕️🌌🤠🥰

Love Bishop and the surrounding mountains !!!

Hwy 168 going to Lake Sabrina, North and South lakes?

With I was there.

maybe next weekend any hotel suggestions?

Johanna Atwell

GOD HOW I WISH I WAS ON THAT ROAD... CAREFREE HIWAY...

Lots of nice smoke.....

View more comments

1 week ago

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!Hello Friends!☺️
💥 ESCA 20th Annual 5K Walk & Fun Run! 💥October 11-17th! Virtual Edition!
Please LIKE and SHARE this flyer with your friends and family!
Thank you for your continued support! ☺️
... See MoreSee Less

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!

1 week ago

Dog days of summer or fall??!!
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe
... See MoreSee Less

Dog days of summer or fall??!! 
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I heard the colors have peaked in this area. Is it still worth visiting or are there other good spots to hit up?

Beautiful picture.

Wonderful vacation destination

Beautiful

Beautiful picture! Cute dog!

North Lake?

Looking good

View more comments