After Coordination with Local Government, CDFW Lifts Fishing Delay in Mono County

As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham is lifting the delay of the trout opener in Mono County. Beginning May 23, trout season will be open in the county.

The trout season was originally scheduled to open in Mono County on April 25, 2020. In April, CDFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a high tourism influx to the area. Local officials were concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 and its potential to put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses including lodging, dining and camping options were closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders. Thus, CDFW, in consultation with Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar, delayed the opener through May 31, 2020.

However, in a letter yesterday, Mono County officials requested that CDFW end the delay before May 31, indicating that the county received approval from the California Department of Public Health to move into the Governor’s Phase Two, Stage Two Resilience Roadmap and would begin discussions of reopening. Though county officials requested the opening on May 22, CDFW required one additional day for consultation and processing this request, thus the delay in Mono County will expire at midnight on May 22 and fishing can resume on May 23, 2020.

This decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.

CDFW reminds anglers to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Staying home in order to stay healthy is still the best way to keep yourself and others safe. Anglers are also advised to check with local authorities on the status of access points as many site closures and access restrictions exist and may change daily.

Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide accurate information for the angling public at this website or by phone at (916) 445-7600.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

After Coordination with Local Government, CDFW Lifts Fishing Delay in Alpine County

As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham lifted the delay of the trout opener in Alpine County. Beginning May 15, trout season will be open in the county.

The trout season was originally scheduled to open in Alpine County on April 25, 2020. In April, CDFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a high tourism influx to the area. Local officials were concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 and its potential to put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses including lodging, dining and camping options were closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders. Thus, CDFW, in consultation with Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar, delayed the opener through May 31, 2020.

However, in a letter last week, Alpine County officials requested that CDFW shorten the delay from May 31 to May 15, indicating that the county was doing a soft opening of restaurants and other facilities and wished for the delay to lift sooner.

This decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.

CDFW reminds anglers to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Staying home in order to stay healthy is still the best way to keep yourself and others safe. Anglers are also advised to check with local authorities on the status of access points as many site closures and access restrictions exist and may change daily.

Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide accurate information for the angling public at wildlife.ca.gov/regulations or by phone at (916) 445-7600.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

riparian brush rabbit

Deadly Disease Detected in California Wild Rabbits for the First Time

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), in conjunction with the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab, San Bernardino has diagnosed Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) in a black-tailed jackrabbit carcass submitted from private property near Palm Springs in early May. Samples submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Plum Island, New York, confirmed the presence of the RHD virus type 2 (RHDV2) in California for the first time. This disease is highly contagious and often lethal to both wild and domestic rabbits. The carcass that was tested was one of about 10 dead jackrabbits observed on the Palm Springs property.

RHDV2 is not related to coronavirus; it is a calicivirus that does not affect humans or domestic animals other than rabbits. At this time, no other California rabbit populations are known to be infected, but the disease has spread quickly in other states, prompting CDFW biologists to prepare for more reports in the coming months. A “quick facts” reference guide can be found on CDFW’s website.

Since March 2020, RHDV2 has caused mortalities of both wild and domestic rabbits in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Deaths of both wild rabbits and jackrabbits have occurred. Infected rabbits and jackrabbits may exhibit no symptoms leading up to their sudden death, or may suffer from fever, swelling, internal bleeding and liver necrosis. The range of susceptible species in North America is currently unknown, but all rabbit, jackrabbit, hare and pika species are likely susceptible.

CDFW Senior Wildlife Veterinarian Deana Clifford noted the introduction of RHDV2 to California could significantly impact wild rabbit populations, particularly those already at risk, such as the endangered riparian brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius) and those with limited distribution in the state, such as the pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis).

“Unfortunately, we may also see impacts to species that depend on rabbits for food, as rabbits are a common prey species for many predators,” noted Dr. Clifford.

CDFW will carefully monitor the progression of RHDV2 in California, including investigating and testing rabbits found dead, monitoring populations of endangered rabbits and working with partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Public reports are an extremely helpful tool as wildlife veterinarians monitor the situation. CDFW is asking anyone who lives, works or recreates in wild rabbit habitat to report any sightings of sick or dead rabbits to CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory. To report sightings of sick or dead wild rabbits, hares or pikas contact the CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab at (916) 358-2790 or file an online mortality report through CDFW’s website.

Outdoor recreationists should take precaution when hiking, camping or backpacking and not handle or disturb carcasses to minimize the potential spread of RHDV2. Additionally, hunters should take precautions to prevent spreading the virus, such as wearing gloves when field dressing rabbits, washing hands and burying remains onsite so that scavengers cannot spread the virus. The virus is hardy and can remain viable on meat, fur, clothing and equipment for a very long time, making it easily transmissible to other areas.

In California, hunting season for brush rabbits and cottontails opens July 1 and runs through the last Sunday in January. The season is open statewide, except for a closed area in the Central Valley near the riparian brush rabbit range. Hunting season for jackrabbits is year-round and statewide.

A vaccine for RHDV2 is not currently available in the U.S., thus domestic rabbit owners should practice good biosecurity measures to protect their animals from this disease, such as washing hands before and after working with rabbits, not sharing equipment with other owners and keeping their rabbits isolated from wild or feral rabbits.

Domestic rabbit owners who have a sick rabbit should contact their veterinarian. If domestic rabbits are found dead, please contact the local CDFA Animal Health Branch or call (916) 900-5002.

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Media Contacts:
Dr. Deana Clifford, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Laboratory, (916) 358-2378
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Riparian brush rabbit photo courtesy of Moose Peterson. All rights reserved.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Responds to Request from Sierra County About Fishing

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham took two specific and limited steps today for fishing in Sierra County. As requested by county officials, CDFW suspended fishing on the mainstem of the North Fork Yuba River and delayed the trout opener on the entire Downie River mainstem in the county. Sierra County officials requested these actions last week along with requests from Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties; however; the tailored request required additional discussion with the county. The director made this decision in consultation with California Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar.

Fishing was already open on the mainstem of the North Fork Yuba River. Trout fishing was scheduled to open on the Downie River this Saturday, April 25. Trout is the only fishable species on the Downie River. The closure and delay in Sierra County will expire May 31, 2020.

Specifically, this means fishing is now suspended on the North Fork Yuba River from Yuba Pass downstream to the confluence with Goodyears Creek and the trout opener on the entire mainstem of the Downie River is delayed, both through May 31, 2020. Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide current information for the angling public online or by phone at (916) 445-7600.

Today’s decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.

For information on the delay in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties, please see this press release issued yesterday. A comprehensive summary and description of impacted regulations is available on CDFW’s website.

At the request of counties or tribes, CDFW will consider action to address needs regarding fishing seasons amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a county or tribal representative with questions or would like to provide input on potential angling related delays or restrictions, please contact Roger Bloom, Acting Branch Chief, Fisheries Branch, by email at Roger.Bloom@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

After Coordination with Local Government, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Delays Trout Season Openers in Three Counties

As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the start of the trout opener in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties. The director made this decision in consultation with California Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar.

The trout season was scheduled to open in these three counties this Saturday, April 25. The delay to the opener in these counties expires May 31, 2020.

“After talking with the county representatives, we agreed this was a necessary step toward being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency,” said CDFW Director Bonham. “These counties asked for our help, and we responded.”

Specifically this means all waters in these three counties not currently open to fishing will remain closed to fishing until May 31. After local government coordination in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties, CDFW is also making minor adjustments to bag and possession limits in waters that are currently open for fishing to protect and conserve the existing fisheries that may be affected by increased angling pressure or harvest. These modifications will also expire May 31. Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide accurate information for the angling public online or by phone at (916) 445-7600.

Today’s decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.

Early this week, CDFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a high tourism influx to these counties. Local officials are concerned that people traveling to these areas to fish would exacerbate the transmission of COVID-19 and put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses in these counties including lodging, dining and camping options are closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders.

On April 15, the California Fish and Game Commission authorized CDFW to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing if the director of CDFW, in consultation with the president of the Commission, finds that such action is necessary to protect against the threat from COVID-19 based on state, federal, local, and tribal public health guidance and public safety needs.

At the request of counties or tribes, CDFW will consider action to address needs regarding fishing seasons amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a county or tribal representative with questions or would like to provide input on potential angling related delays or restrictions, please contact Roger Bloom, Acting Branch Chief, Fisheries Branch, by email at Roger.Bloom@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937