Fish returning to Sparks Marina

April 12, 2014

The severe cold snap in December, 2013, brought single digit temperatures to the Truckee Meadows for weeks. This sort of thing happens just about every winter, but this time an event occured that hasn’t been seen before.

At Sparks Marina Park, all the fish in the lake went belly up, over 100,000 of them. At first, the mess was a mystery to investigating officials from Sparks and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).

It wasn’t obvious that the cold temperatures had anything to do with the fish dying and no toxins were found in the water. However, further testing revealed that the dissolved oxygen content of the water was too low to support fish life. The cold snap chilled surface waters to the point that they sank to the bottom, resulting in a turnover of lake water and subsequent depletion of oxygen rich water where the fish live.

Tests in February and March showed oxygen levels in Sparks Marina Lake rebounding to the point of being able to support fish life. The Nevada Department of Wildlife has begun restocking the lake, beginning with about 8,000 rainbow trout at the end of March. As many as 26,000 trout may be added to the waters this year, along with some other species like bass and catfish. According to Chris Healy of NDOW, “People will be able to catch fish, but you have a whole big lake there without any fish in it so it’s going to take a while to get the fishery back like it was.”

If spring fishing is your thing, there are plenty of other choices in the Reno area and throughout Nevada. In fact, spring fishing may be best due to predicted low water levels in area streams and lakes later in the summer. For local choices, refer to “Let’s Go Fishing in Reno and Sparks.”

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