DFW to revise trout management, seeking public input for plan


By JIM MATTHEWS

www.OutdoorNewsService.com

In compliance with Fish and Game Code, the Department of Fish and Wildlife announced this past week it will be embarking on updating the Strategic Plan for Trout Management. This plan is a grandiose statement of the principals and goals of wild and hatchery trout management throughout the state. It is supposed to be a blueprint that will make fishing better and native trout populations healthier.

Public input is required in this process, by Code section 1728, and the DFW has set up six public meetings across the state where we can make suggestions on trout management. It is a little ironic that the part of the state with the largest population and the most anglers and the poorest trout fishing and management has but a single meeting.

That meeting will be at the DFW office in Los Alamitos from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 26. Just two days before a big chunk of the trout angling public will be in or heading for the Eastern Sierra Nevada for the trout season opener.

The last version was done in November, 2003, and if you do a quick read of the 49-page document (available at this direct link: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=9631), you will find the DFW has utterly failed at the goals and objects outlined in that document statewide, but especially here in Southern California.

One of the elements in that original plan was to “Increase emphasis on developing and supporting urban fisheries.”

In the Southern third of California, it would be difficult to find a single angler who believes the DFW has developed or supported an expansion of any urban fishing program. That is because most urban trout fishing programs have dwindled under DFW neglect, lack of creativity, and reductions in trout plants. In our local mountains, management is non-existent in waters where there are or could be year-around populations of hatchery and/or wild trout.

The old strategic trout plan called for improving “communication with trout-related stakeholders,” by improving and clarifying angling regulations and reducing their complexity. Anyone who has tried to figure out the regulation quagmire for the Eastern Sierra Nevada will be laughing out loud about now. There has been no streamlining. Fail.

The old plan call for the DFW to develop “partnerships with fishing organizations and angling related businesses to produce and distribute informational material.” Find a single example of that here. There are none. Fail.

The strategic plan was supposed to be implemented in the “four-step cyclical process that includes: 1) planning goals and strategies, 2) planning actions, 3) implementing actions, and 4) monitoring and evaluation.”

For Southern California, there was never a first step completed. Skip to step four, evaluation: Total fail.

So now, the DFW wants our input for a new plan. What’s the point of this all if they never implemented the last plan?

What is even scarier this time around is that the DFW want to create “another” strategic plan for trout hatcheries.

News Briefs….

Assembly Bill 2787, which would effectively ban the use of all lead fishing weights, stalled in the state assembly this week, according to the California Sportfishing League. The bill was scheduled to be heard in the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Substance on April 10th, but was pulled from consideration. The bill could return or be amended, but for now it is idle….

Trout season in the Eastern Sierra Nevada will open Saturday, April 28. The opener is called “Fishmas” because it’s the most wonderful time of the year for anglers, according to the Mono County Tourism Department. While snowpack in Mono County is nearly 100 percent of normal, road and access is going to be better than normal. The entire June Lake Loop, Monitor Pass, and Highway 120 East are already open to traffic. Bodie Road (SR270) is expected to open by the start of fishing season. More updates as the opener nears….

A Los Angeles County jury convicted a 48-year-old man on misdemeanor charges of selling elephant ivory this past week. Oleg N. Chakov was found guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and sentenced to 10 days in county jail in lieu of a $5,000 fine, three years of probation, and 30 days of community service. He is also prohibited from possessing ivory and all evidence from the case was forfeited to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The penalty was set pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 2022, which took effect on July 1, 2016. Assembly Bill 96, passed in 2015, made it unlawful to purchase, sell, offer for sale, possess with intent to sell, or import with intent to sell ivory or rhinoceros horn. A first-time violation of this law is a misdemeanor subject to specified criminal penalties and fines between $1,000 and $40,000, depending upon the value of the item.

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