April 23, 2014
Fish in the lower Carson River are still fun to catch. Just don't eat them, experts advise.
The 50-mile stretch from Carson City downstream to Lahontan Reservoir is Nevada's only Superfund site, contaminated by mercury released in the 19th century by miners along the Comstock Lode.
Despite the stigma, the Nevada Department of Wildlife still stocks fish in the lower river.
They just advise people not to eat anything caught below Dayton.
Mike Sevon, a biologist with the wildlife agency, characterized fish in the Lahontan Reservoir as "world-lass mercury carriers."
Once in water, mercury starts turning toxic and builds up in fish. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers fish with a level of 1 part per million unsafe for human consumption.
The average fish over 12 inches in length has mercury levels more than three times that amount, officials said.