SPARKS, NV - It's a fish tale you'll want to believe in. Not a story about the one that got away, but the thousands of fish which now call the Sparks Marina home.
Back in December and January, low oxygen levels led to the death of 100,000 fish in the Marina. But Tuesday, anglers were back at the water's edge hoping to reel in a fresh catch.
Ever since the fish kill, the department of wildlife has been keeping a close eye on the Marina. They have a good idea of what caused the depletion of oxygen and they wanted to make sure levels had returned to normal before fish were re-introduced. Tuesday morning, wildlife officials gave the lake the a clean bill of health.
In a matter of just minutes, the Sparks Marina was full of life once again, 7,000 trout were dumped into the lake. It's the first time fish have swum these waters since a massive fish kill around the turn of the new year.
"We had lots of fish, lots of big fish that were floating up so it was something that everyone was interested in," said Kim Tisdale, Fisheries Supervisor with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Wildlife officials believe the lake turned. That means frigid temperatures in December caused the water on the top of the marina to sink to the bottom. In the process, it depleted all the oxygen and the fish suffocated.
"We need 5 parts per million of oxygen in the water and it has been that for the last month and a half so we felt comfortable that now we can start rebuilding this fishery," said Tisdale.
It's welcome news for fisherman Josh Lewis.
"I have been actually watching it and waiting to see when they were going to re-stock," said Lewis.
Josh and his son Aiden, like many people, were upset to see the fish die off. Getting back on the water quickly eased the pain.
"I like trout a lot... and other fish but mostly trout," said Aiden Lewis.
"Absolutely... any chance I can get to get out and take some time for myself and spend time with my kids... I am definitely going to," said Lewis.
The City of Sparks recognizes the value of fishing to the Marina. For that reason, they'll keep a closer eye on water quality moving forward.
"We think what happened this winter was an anomaly and we'll just be mindful of it and watch it," said John Martini, Sparks City Attorney.
There have been talks about aerating the lake to ensure plenty of dissolved oxygen, but that's easier said than done. The Sparks Marina holds about a billion gallons of water, so aerating that much water would be expensive. Still, the City of Sparks said it's something they'll consider if this problem surfaces again.