Sunny skies and cool temperatures are in the forecast for Saturday's opening of the Eastern Sierra general trout-fishing season. Anglers planning to participate might also be pleased to learn that fishing licenses will be readily available, after all.
Concern was raised when some bait-and-tackle stores within Inyo and Mono counties stopped selling licenses after the Department of Fish and Game launched its computerized Automated License Data System at the beginning of the year.
However, dozens of vendors have since come online, and to fill the void in Bishop -- where Culver's Sporting Goods, Mac's Sporting Goods and Brock's Fly Fishing Specialists are not selling licenses -- the DFG will be selling them Thursday through Saturday at the Chamber of Commerce on Main Street.
Fishing licenses, which are mandatory for anyone 16 or older, also are available online and at many larger sporting goods stores throughout California.
Anglers will have no excuses when DFG wardens make their customary checks throughout opening weekend and the remainder of the season.
The Bishop Chamber of Commerce is at 690 North Main St. The DFG will sell licenses Thursday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Friday from 10-9, and Saturday from 8-noon. An annual license costs $43.46. A one day licenses sells for $14.04 and a two-day license sells for $21.86.
As for the fishing, most waters from Bishop to Bridgeport are well-stocked with rainbow trout. The mid-elevation lakes are free of ice, and five-fish limits ought to be fairly common.
To be sure, the only real drawback to this year's opener will be the painfully high gas prices. This might keep the crowds down but it will hurt area business that traditionally have relied on the economic boost provided by large opening-weekend crowds.
-- Image of Garrett Arman, one of the top anglers during the 2009 trout opener (at Gull Lake) is by Pete Thomas. Arman was 8 at the time and the rainbow trout weighed 5.4 pounds