Chamber changes Blake Jones Derby in light of COVID-19

Register Staff
Staff Writer

The Bishop Chamber of Commerce has announced significant changes for this weekend’s Blake Jones Trout Derby.
In light of rapidly evolving concerns regarding coronavirus/COVID-19, such as social distancing and mass gatherings, the Bishop chamber stated in a release that it is taking measures to reduce risk to derby attendees, staff and volunteers for the event.
“We’ve given careful consideration to the situation including consulting with the Inyo County Public Health officer,” said Tawni Thomson, executive director of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce. “Dr. (James) Richardson stated he feels the event is low risk and did not recommend cancellation; however, in order to minimize chances of virus spread, the chamber board of directors has decided to eliminate the traditional awards ceremony ‘mass gathering’ portion of the derby and all prizes will be awarded via raffle.”
Everyone who has pre-registered for the derby will automatically be entered into the raffle.
Winners will be chosen on Monday, March 16, then notified by email or by phone.
Winners will have the option to pick up the prize at the chamber or have it shipped.
People that have pre-purchased a T-shirt will have the option to pick up at chamber or have it shipped.
There will be no fish-weighing and no prize ceremony at the fairgrounds.
Anyone who does not wish to be in the raffle will have their registration fee refunded.
“The fish have been stocked, the prizes are all ready to go,” said chamber event coordinator April Leeson. “The Bishop chamber understands the annual derby is a beloved tradition that draws anglers from near and far to enjoy the family-friendly fishing event. We also understand the derby is very important to our local economy.
“Although less than ideal, we believe this plan represents a good balance between preserving the fishing tradition and accommodating current health care concerns,” Leeson said.
“We’re calling our new format Plan ‘C’ for coronavirus,” Thomson said. “We are keeping a good sense of humor about the situation and we hope everyone that chooses to fish near Bishop this weekend has great luck and a great time.”
Anyone who has already registered and would like to participate in the raffle does not have to do anything. Have fun fishing, and the chamber will notify you if you win a raffle prize.
Anyone who has registered, but does not wish to be in the raffle, send an email to A refund of the entry fee will be processed by the end of the month.
Anyone who has not yet registered for the derby but would still like to register to participate in the 2020 Blake Jones Raffle, may do so online at or in person at the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, 690 N. Main St. in Bishop.