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The 54th edition of the Blake Jones Trout Derby is now “in the books” and it was a good one! Despite rescheduling the event from March to May then to September, there was a good turnout, and everyone had a great time.

There were 233 registered participants this year, about half as many as normally attend when the derby is held in March. “We were happy with that crowd and thankful to our faithful participants for sticking with us through all the date changes,” stated Tawni Thomson of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce. “We are already planning the 2024 Blake Jones Derby for March 23rd, and we sure hope Mother Nature will cooperate with that plan.”

According to event organizers, there was a good mix of locals and visitors participating. Most guests came from southern California, with a few from the Bay Area. Many attendees brought multiple generations of anglers. “It’s great to see little kids out there fishing alongside their parents and grandparents,” noted April Leeson, Chamber Event Coordinator.

Prior to the derby, lakes and streams were well stocked by CADFW and the Bishop Chamber worked with the resorts in Bishop Creek Canyon to fund an additional stocking from Wright’s Rainbows in Thatcher Idaho. This should lead to excellent fishing conditions this fall.

Registration, weigh-in and awards ceremony took place at the Tri-County Fairgrounds.

The weather was picture perfect and lucky winners took home nice prizes including float tubes, Yeti coolers, rod & reel combos and tons of other great gear provided by the event’s ever-generous co-sponsors. Long time volunteer Harold Reuter was surprised when he was presented with a plaque commemorating his 30+ years of heading up the fish weighing crew. 

The derby is an important tradition for visitors as well as locals. “We want to make sure that it’s sustainable so upcoming generations can enjoy the fishing fun. We’ve added a category for catch & release and a special raffle prize for those who pick up trash while they are out fishing. And we always purchase and plant far more fish than are usually caught at the derby,” explains Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tawni Thomson.

Event organizers emphasize that this event is all for fun and thanks to the blind bogey format, you don’t have to catch a big fish or lots of fish to qualify for the great prizes. This year’s blind bogey weight was 7 ounces and there were dozens of adults and kids that qualified with that weight.

SOME of the 2023 Blake Jones Derby Winners Include:

  • Catch and Release Category (awarded via raffle): Adam Krackle of Los Angeles and Patty Grider of Lancaster.
  • Early Bird Registration: Harold Politt of Winnetka.
  • Adult 1st Prize Blind Bogey Winner: John Vincent Joaquin of Los Angeles.
  • Children’s 1st Prize Blind Bogey Winner: Scripture F. of Phelan
  • Big Fish (4lbs. 11oz): John Vincent Joaquin of Los Angeles.

*There were many more winners – too many to list here!

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce is grateful to the many volunteers and co-sponsors of the event including Amigos, Anne Marie’s Home Boutique, Ashley Furniture-Ridgecrest, Back Alley Bowl & Grill, Berkley, Bishop Automotive Center, Bishop Country Club, Bishop Flyfishing Guide Service, Bishop Lions Club, Booya, Black Sheep Coffee, Brown’s Supply, CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, City of Bishop, Costa, Creekside RV Park, Deadeye Outfitters, Deep Sea and Offshore Fishing, Dr. Slick, Eagle Claw, Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds, El Pollo Loco, Father and Son Fishing, Filthy Anglers, Fish Sniffer, Fish Taco Chronicles, Grocery Outlet, Hendrix, High Country Lumber, Inyo County CPSP, Inyo County Probation, The Inyo Register, KIBS/KBOV Radio, KMMT Radio, Laws Railroad Museum, Laughing Parrot Productions, Liquid Assassins, The Looney Bean, Los Angeles Dept of Water & Power, Mahogany Smoked Meats, Manor Market, Mr. K Automotive, Mountain Apparel, Northfork Outdoors, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Peixe, Protroll, Reagan’s Sporting Goods, Reel Happy, The Rolling Chef 395, She Angler, Sierra Bright Dot Flyfishing, Sierra Maps, Sierra Reader, Sierra Slammers, Sierra Wave Media, Southern California Edison, Something Fishy, Speeding Bullet Lures, The Sheet & Turner’s Outdoors

“We had so much fun and we’re already looking forward to next year. We hope everyone will mark their calendars now for March 23rd, 2024!” states Bishop Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator April Leeson.