Anglers score big at Third Annual Bishop Trout Rodeo catch and release event.


Published in Western Outdoor News, April 8, 2024

Western Outdoor News Staff Writer

BISHOP— Tournament director, Michael Schweit, had instructed anglers to snap a quick photo of each catch, and log them in on the iAngler App when they had a good connection.

“At just a few minutes after the start time of 9:00 a.m. a flood of fish came into the Bishop Trout Rodeo tournament headquarters,” said Schweit at the awards presentation that evening. “Not enough to break the internet, but enough fish on tapes to show we had a day of competition ahead.”

         There was plenty of action for competing anglers despite heavy rains during the weeks prior to this year’s 2024 Bishop Trout Rodeo, putting 280 fish on the leader board before days end.

“We fished the Upper Owens and Lake Crowley tributaries, Hot Creek, the Lower Owens and any water down to Lone Pine that was considered open by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” said Schweit.

The father-son team “Dead Drift” tromped through a couple of feet of snow to fish Hot Creek. Pilar Carrillo and his 15-year-old son, Nick, logged 29-fish for over 250-inches posted by the team for a Third Place finish in the Fly Fishing Team competition.

“We had fished the Wild Trout section below the dam with no luck, so my dad said we would try hiking back into Hot Creek,” explained Nick Carrillo. The duo fished dry-dropper with excellent results, young Nick getting a 17-inch brown, the largest fly caught fish of the event.

The Bishop Trout Rodeo, sponsored by the Southwest Council, Fly Fishers International, and held Saturday, February 10, 2024, was open to all comers, spinning gear or fly-fishers. For this annual event, director Michael Schweit had some exciting sponsor-supplied swag for raffle prizes at the end of the day’s fishing, including several guided trips throughout the Owens Valley and an excellent Snowbee USA fly fishing rod and reel set.

Competing anglers signed up using the latest version of iAngler Tournament, a web app designed for fishing contests. Once action got under way, each angler logged their catch into the app, and the info was automatically uploaded to the master file on the Trout Rodeo HQ laptop at the Tri-County Fairgrounds back in Bishop. The system allowed the total inches of all the fish landed by an individual to be calculated and then used to determine winners in each category.

The day began with clear, sunny skies, air temps at 27-degrees Fahrenheit, and the Owens River water measuring 45-degrees, with wild section flows steady at 180-CFM. The day slowly warmed up to mid-fifty-degree air temps and a brisk, chill wind in the afternoon. The turn in the weather made an excellent day fishing in Bishop’s back yard.

The four categories in the competition included Fly-Fishing team, Fly-Fishing individual, Gear-Fishing team, and Gear-Fishing individual, with prizes going to most total inches and largest individual catch.

Winning top honors in the Fly-Fishing Individual category, L.A. area angler Dan Oliver showed an amazing 38-fish, totaling over 398-inches taken somewhere along the Lower Owens. Oliver applied his efforts to the event using Euro-nymph techniques and his own Quilldigon flies for huge numbers.

Oliver’s Team Tenkara took second place for the Fly Fishing Team group, and each of the members, including Thomas Paulson, Diane and Jeff Kimura, and Michael Williams, won a pack of valuable raffle tickets for the event’s prizes.

Taking first place in the Fly Fishing Team division anglers Austin Perry, James Guth, John Godel and Matthew Mayer posted an amazing 660.75-inches total for Team Trouser Trouters.

The Gear Fishing Team division had four teams competing and the winners, with 223-inches of fish safely released, were Jim and Vince Sainz of Team Sainz Cats.

Second Place Gear team was Chico and the Man, with Milton Rios and Kenneth Hernandez, Richard Lancaster, and Gardiel Santa, representing at 121-inches. Third place was a four man team called Team Collins, with Cary Collins, Philip Powers, James Powers and Evelyn Powers participating.

A special award was given to angler Daniel Davis who logged the only bass of the day. Davis also took top honors in the Individual Gear Fishing category with 285.5-inches on the board. Sweeping the guide category was standout local guide, Chris Leonard.

Second place in the Gear Fishing Individual Division was Oleg Shaidurov, with 223-inches and third going to Vince Sainz, logging 158-inches of fish measured and released.

As the competition ended at 4 p.m. anglers found their way to the tournament HQ at Tri-County Fairgrounds to see how their logged catch held up. Organizer Michael Schweit and his volunteers had no problem tallying the results and setting prize packages.

Pino Meat Pies were made available on pre-order allowing tired anglers to munch the tasty, warm treats, and sip sodas while awaiting the awards announcements.

Event sponsors included Snowbee USA, donating a 9-foot Diamond 2 rod and matched, Specter reel worth over $500.00 won by lucky angler Thomas Herrera during the raffle. Mac’s Sporting Goods, Bishop, graciously donated a couple of gift certificates. Local guides, David Downs, Pat Jaeger, Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing’s Fred Rowe, and Andre Nersesian of Eastern Sierra Sportfishing, put up free half day trips and a 2-for-1 all day trip as prizes.

For a complete list of standings check out the Southwest Council Facebook page.

Each year the Southwest Council FFI Bishop Trout Rodeo brings out more competition and even better prizes. Getting to know the waters and the competition is all part of the fun of coming back again year after year.


Southwest Council FFI 1213 Sunset Place, Ojai, California 93023,

Michael Schweit Special Projects Director 818-601-9702 [email protected]


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Bob Semerau

The many years I have spent running my own business gives me a unique perspective on managing projects and creating effective programs. Coupled with the ten years I have been writing for Western Outdoor News these experiences have allowed me a set of skills perfectly suited for the OWAC Board of Directors. During my tenure as OWAC Vice President we have achieved substantial progress in the way OWAC operates and how we serve our membership. These contributions have been some of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my professional life. The further development of the craft awards program, working with each successive chair person, is among the many progressive developments I have accomplished as a volunteer on the OWAC Board. My interest in making OWAC work better, adding value both professionally and personally for each member, is the driving force behind my desire to stay aboard and complete initiatives recently begun. I seek your vote for re-election to the board so I may further the cause of OWAC and its membership and help it to continue to build as a unique, and outstanding, professional organization.


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