The Sparks Marina Park is a great place to go swimming, walking or even fishing. The 81-acre lake which has an estimated 1 billion gallons of water, is loaded with rainbow trout, channel catfish and brown trout stocked by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
The History of Sparks Marina Park
The lake at Sparks Marina wasn’t always swimmable or allowed for lake animals to survive. It started out as a gravel pit that was owned by a construction company. In the late 1980s, petroleum products and other contaminants were found seeping into the pit, which apparently came from a tank farm a mile away. Deemed unsafe and stated a Toxic Superfund Site, a cleanup crew was initiated and the Sparks Marina Park went into the hands of the City of Sparks in 1996. Finally, after a successful cleanup and the pit was believed free of contaminants, the city took the funds it received and created a park with a pond and beaches to be used for recreation.
The city planned on filling the pond with 30 feet of water, but then the Flood of 1997 happened, causing the Truckee River to overflow into the pit. With a natural aquifer replenishing the pond with 2-3 million gallons of water per day, the “pond” is now a “lake” estimated to be up to 120 feet deep. Now, the city states the water quality surpasses the U.S. EPA standards and they regularly monitor the lake.
Fishing at Sparks Marina
With the flood, anything could’ve been introduced into the water at Sparks Marina. Fish species found include spotted bass, largemouth bass, green sunfish, carp, and two different kinds of catfish. Fishermen have been known to catch over 12-pound carp and catfish. There are also at least four different kinds of trout swimming in the Sparks Marina waters.
The fishing limit at the marina is three game fish per day, with no more than two black bass. Anglers are prohibited from using live bait fish or fishing in swimming areas. Fishing is available an hour before sunrise through two hours after sunset. Fishermen can obtain a fishing license from The State of Nevada Division of Wildlife and catch and release is heavily encouraged.
Where to Fish
A fishing pier is located at the southwest end of the lake, near Howard Drive. It’s possible to fish from a non-motorized boat as long as you aren’t trying to fish in a swimming or diving area. Only non-motorized boats (like canoes or kayaks) and boats with electric motors are allowed in Sparks Marina.
The best time to fish is when NDOW puts 10,000 rainbow trout in the lake in the spring and 8,500 in the fall. A few thousand channel catfish and brown trout are also available in early summer. As we go into spring and the weather starts to get warmer, now is the time to go fishing.