California’s Only’s Sportsman’s News Since 1953

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35th anniversary edition of Lake Havasu event this weekend, May 13-14


Engel Coolers, Alaska fishing trips included in 1st place Striper Derby prize package

COOLER BACKPACKS FROM Engel are ideal for the outdoorsman, featuring a rugged, tear-resistant outer shell and a waterproof TPE coating for easy cleaning.

Numerous winners at the WON/Lake Havasu Striper Derby score big year after year, and 2017 will be no different, as the first place team at this May’s event will walk home pretty well loaded. Come this Sunday’s awards ceremony at the London Bridge Convention Center, the duo who tops the field with the most total poundage of striped bass at the conclusion of the two-day Derby are sure to be smiling ear to ear.

Included at the top of the 2017 first place prize package are a pair of fishing trips of a lifetime to Alaska, two high-end 80-quart Engel Coolers, a couple pairs of Costa Sunglasses and a pair of Lew’s rods and reels — Super-Duty Wide Speed-Spool baitcast reels armed on Custom Speed Stick Super-Duty rods — just to name a few. Those landing in the runner-up spot will earn a pair of Lew’s TP1 rods and BB2 reels, Costa shades and Engel backpacks as top prizes. Third through 10th place will also be headed home with some great gear from Striper Derby sponsors.

That’s not to mention the cold, hard cash that is up for grabs this coming weekend. Aside from a guaranteed 20 blind bogey checks going out at Sunday’s awards ceremony, there will also be checks prepared for the anglers who catch the five biggest linesides over the course of the two-day tournament, along with some big bucks going out for the heaviest three fish landed by anglers in the High Roller Division.

Throw that on top of the heap of raffle prizes set to be dished out to competing anglers — including the grand prize of a Klamath 16 EXW with a 40hp Suzuki on the back, Costa sunglasses, Plano tackle solutions and much more — and there are more than enough reasons to throw your hat in the ring this weekend. 

We hope to see you at Anderson Toyota on Friday and with a bulging bag of stripers at Saturday’s weigh-ins. Catch ya at Havasu!

Engel Coolers hit the mark 


ENGEL 80-QUART COOLERS are among the highlights of the prize package going out to the 1st place team at Striper Derby 2017.

The latest sponsor to join the 2017 Striper Derby fray, Engel Coolers has stepped in to award a quartet of both high-end Engel 80-quart coolers along with four Cooler BackPacks at this year’s event. Here are some of the reasons Engel leads the way in cooler technology:

— Rotational molding process allows for incorporation of features that makes the coolers stronger and more durable.

— Increased thickness of cooler’s sides, top and bottom combined with injected poly­urethane insulation dramatically increases cooler’s ice-keeping capabilities by days, or even weeks.

— Improved latches and molded-in, full-length hinge create ultra-tight seal to keep cooler cold for longer and keep you in the field or on the water as long as possible.

— Specially designed sloping floor and lowered drain hole allows for easy drainage.

— Multiple sizes for any application (from the 21-plus-quart Engel 25 to the cavernous 317-quart Engel 320).

— With the ability to keep food chilled for up to three weeks, outdoorsmen can get fish and game to the processer fresh as can be without worrying about spoilage.

Rockfish Rumble moved back a week
Rockfish Rumble is moved back a week due to weather


Due to poor weather expected this Thursday, the fifth annual WON Rockfish Rumble has been postponed one week, said Rumble Director Ben Babbitt who has been calling all 150 entrants. The fifth annual Rumble based out of Ventura Sportfishing  has been moved to Thursday, April 13. A few spots are now available due to the change in schedule as a few anglers had to drop off, and you can grab one of those spots on one the four boats for $85.

Call Ben Babbitt at (949) 366-0726 to grab one of the open spots. Email him at to let him know you saw this and are aware of the date change, and whether you will be able to reschedule for the 13th.

Blake Jones derby cancelled
High water danger the reason

 Here is this morning's press release from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce. It is actually a smart move as water levels are such that dangerous conditions could create a true tragedy. Moving it to Millpond Rec Area would not have worked. Too small an area for 1000 people which are usually hosted at Pleasant Valley Reservoir, which is all the way up to the road. The Lower Owens is extremely dangerous as lakes are filled or are having water released, such as Crowley Lake.


 The Bishop Chamber of Commerce regrettably announces cancellation of the 2017 Blake Jones Trout Derby which was scheduled for March 11th. A unique set of circumstances beyond the chamber’s control led to the decision.


On Friday, February 24th Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rescinded its permission to hold the event at Pleasant Valley Reservoir due to public safety concerns. Strong winter storms have caused extremely high water level in the reservoir and dangerously high water flows in the Owens River. 

The chamber immediately began working with LADWP, Inyo County, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife seeking other options. Millpond was suggested as a safe alternative; however, on Monday, February 27th CADFW informed the Bishop Chamber that Millpond is not a viable location. According to CADFW regulations, Millpond is not open to trout fishing this time of year.

“Since LADWP issued the public safety warning for PVR and the Owens River, and no safe alternative is available, the Chamber’s Executive Committee has no choice, but to cancel the event for this year,” explains Tawni Thomson, Bishop Chamber CEO.

This is not a decision taken lightly. The chamber had been making plans for many months and invested several thousand dollars in advertising and prizes. They also understand the financial impact to the local economy; however public safety must be the highest priority.

The 2017 event was to be the 50th Annual Blake Jones Trout Derby and the Bishop Chamber had many new and fun activities planned to celebrate the milestone. “We’ve decided not to view this as a total cancellation. We will still have the 50th Anniversary, it will just be in 2018,” says April Leeson, Chamber Event Coordinator.

While the chamber is disappointed, they are not upset with LADWP or CADFW. “It was wonderful to see representatives from all agencies working so hard to try to save the derby,” Thomson states. “We really appreciate everyone’s suggestions and sincere efforts.”

Preregistered derby contestants will have all fees returned. “It will take us a few weeks to process the refunds and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” explains Thomson.

Frog Status Could Expand Fish Stocking Bans”
Petition Intended to Protect Yellow-Legged Frog; State could dramatically expand fish stocking ban

SACRAMENTO -- In a move that could expand a ban on fish stocking from much of the Sierra Nevada to many coastal and valley communities (see map), the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a petition to list the Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boyii) as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

In a letter to the California Fish and Game Commission, California’s leading sportfishing organization, the California Sportfishing League (CSL), requested an analysis of which bodies of water where fishing may be restricted, and to what extent and for how long fish stocking and recreational fishing could be restricted in these areas.

“Expanding a prohibition on fish stocking will have a profound impact on California communities dependent on recreational fishing for outdoor tourism and jobs,” said Marko Mlikotin, CSL’s executive director. “The Fish and Game Commission should consider the negative impact fish stocking bans have on the cost and accessibility of recreational fishing, especially if they cannot prove fish pose a real threat.”

Today, fish stocking is prohibited in much of the Sierra Nevada, and past listings have been the subject of much controversy, especially when government agencies could not provide evidence of endangered species or that fish were

leading contributors to declining frog populations. Fish stocking bans can lead to campgrounds and marina operations being closed, harming local tourism and killing jobs.

“Making fishing less accessible will further harm fishing participation rates and communities dependent on outdoor recreation for jobs,” said Mlikotin.

Despite California’s vast coastline and over 4,000 lakes and rivers, California’s fishing participation rate in comparison to other states has fallen to dead last (per capita) in the United States, and according to a CSL study, annual fishing license sales have declined over 55 percent since 1980.

The California Sportfishing League (CSL) is a nonprofit coalition of fresh and saltwater anglers, and small business owners devoted to protecting access to recreational fishing. Recreational fishing contributes over $4.9 billion annually to California’s economy, a major contributor to outdoor tourism and jobs. Over 1.6 million Californians, 16 and older, fish in California and approximately 100,000 visitors come to California to fish each year.

To learn more visit or @CASportfishing

Contact: Marko Mlikotin, 916.817.4444

Three drown in June Lake mishap
Tragic sinking in heavy winds


Special to Western Outdoor News

JUNE LAKE— The arrival of the first severe winter storm of the season in the Eastern Sierra has apparently claimed three lives on June Lake.

About 10 a.m. Saturday, a boat with five men aboard capsized in winds of 40 to 50 miles per hour.

The Mono County Sheriff’s Department issued the following statement.

“Saturday morning, at approximately 10 a.m., a boat carrying five male passengers overturned on June Lake. Two men were able to swim to shore, but the remaining three have not been found.

First responders searched all day until there was not enough daylight left. The search will resume on Sunday morning.

The two men who swam to shore were medically treated and released. The boaters were at June Lake on vacation, and their families arrived this afternoon. Please hold these families in your hearts and prayers as they cope with this tragic accident.”

As of press time, searchers from a number of agencies along with a specialized dive team from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were still working to locate the three missing men. There have been no names released, but the group was reportedly from Tehachapi.

Dave Cunningham at June Lake Marina said all boat rentals at the lake had been shut down because of the wind and rain. The group apparently launched their small, aluminum boat anyway. Witnesses said when the small boat capsized, it sank immediately.

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