Sparks Marina Park Pond
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The site on which Sparks Marina Park is located was once a gravel pit owned and operated by Helms Construction Company (1968 to 1995). In 1987, petroleum products and solvents were discovered seeping into the 100 feet deep pit along the southwest wall. The contamination was traced to a massive spill at the fuel-tank farm one mile west. The site was declared a Toxic Superfund Site and a comprehensive cleanup was initiated. In 1996, the groundwater was reported free of petrochemicals and the property was turned over to the City of Sparks. Millions of dollars of spill mitigation money were made available to the City, which was used to construct the park and make the pit into a recreational pond. They also planned to fill the pit to a depth of 30 feet; however, in January 1997, the Truckee River overflowed its banks and filled Helms Pit creating what is now Sparks Marina Pond. The pond is a natural aquifer and in order to keep the lake at the desirable level, the city has to pump 1 to 2 million gallons of water into the Truckee River daily.
Sparks Marina is 100 feet deep and covers approximately 77 surface acres. Rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout, spotted bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, green sunfish, channel catfish, bullhead catfish, and carp have been introduced into the lake. The typical baits and lures for trout work such as Power Bait, salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, small spinners and spoons, and flies (hare’s ears, prince nymphs, and Sheep Creek specials). Channel catfish are caught on nightcrawlers, liver, and shrimp off the bottom. There is a small concrete boat ramp located at the south beach on the west side of the lake and parking lots are located on the west side by the beaches and on the southwest corner of the lake. There are restrooms and a fishing pier.
Only vessels without motors and vessels with electric motors are permitted on Sparks Marina. Vessels are prohibited in areas designated by signs or buoys at the swimming and diving areas.
The Park is situated alongside Interstate 80 in Sparks. Exit on East McCarran Blvd. and turn north. Turn east on Nichols.