The program that has brought more than a half-million dollars worth of Alpers trout to the streams and ponds in the high-country west of Bishop has dried up.
Adopt-A-Creek organizers announced this week there will not be a future plant of the trophy fish and the program will come to an end Aug. 15 after a 17-year run.
There is and has been the opportunity for another party to take over the program, ACC founder Ron Scira said. But, he added that so few have stepped forward since January when it was announced that the program was flailing, he doesn’t foresee a like-minded, ambitious and financially stable group stepping forward anytime soon.
Finances are the reason for the closure. Upper Deck, a sports trading card company and major sponsor of the program, was unable to make its annual $20,000 contribution for this year’s fishing season. This sent Scira and company scrambling to make up for the loss.
AAC put on a membership drive at this year’s annual Fred Hall Show in Long Beach in March in addition to local campaigns in an effort to drum up support in these tough financial times.
At the annual Fishing Opener Press Reception at the end of April in Bishop, Scira announced that AAC would stay afloat, read a list of fundraising ideas and was ready to turn the program over to Alex Yerkes of Alex Printing. Unfortunately, membership and fundraising ideas never materialized, Scira said by phone Wednesday.
“Us old guys can’t keep it going anymore,” Scira said, explaining that the program needs new blood. He added he couldn’t make sense of a rumor he heard that another group was trying to start a similar program, yet had not talked to him about AAC.
“Nothing makes sense,” Scira said.
“I don’t think people realize that this will be the end of Alpers trout (in Bishop Creek),” Scira added.
Scira, who owns Creekside Resort on the south fork of Bishop Creek, said he knows many tourists who consistently come back to the area because of the trophy Alpers trout. He’s not sure if they’ll be coming back anymore.
“It’ll be like it was in 1980,” Scira said. “People will wait for the (Department of Fish and Game) stock truck and follow it around.”
But, “there is a ray of hope,” Scira said – that being the hope that another entity or group out there is willing to take over the program. He said the program requires about $1,200 a week to operate.