June 9 is free fishing day across Nevada, allowing people to get out and do some fishing without a license or fee. While the event was recognized across the state, some locations celebrated the day by hosting special events, like at Sparks Marina.
From 7 a.m. to noon northern Nevada residents gathered at the shore of the Sparks Marina for a special fishing opportunity. Thanks to Sparks Rotary, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, the City of Sparks Parks and Recreation, and the local Safari Club International, kids received a free fishing pole and all necessary gear to start fishing.
Prior to the event large nets were set up around a section of shoreline, thanks to the Washoe County HASTY team, and stocked with fish from NDOW. While catching a fish was certainly not a guarantee, this set up definitely put the odds on the angler’s side.
Parents, grandparents, and all variety of youth, poles in hand, waited at the shore line watching their line closely. Excited screams dotted the water front as kids, like Ainsleigh Harfigan, exuberantly brought in their first ever fish.
Sparks Rotary volunteers were on hand to help new, and experienced, anglers with any problems that might arise. These ranged from needing new bait or help tying a line, all the way to removing a hook from an article of clothing.
When the event came to a close Sparks Rotary volunteers and NDOW started the unenviable task of pulling the nets out of the marina by hand. While I cannot tell you the exact weight of the nets, I can say from personal experience at the event that the weight is enormous, made even heavier when wet. To make things even tougher, the nets had become filled with hooks from unlucky anglers creating an additional challenge for the volunteers.
Despite all this, Sparks Rotary volunteers came to the task with smiles, jokes, and laughter even taking the time to hand rescue small fish and crawdads that had become ensnared in the nets.
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.