In a scene reminiscent of the "old days" a small string of pack laden horses recently made their way into the rugged Toiyabe Mountains of Nevada. Their precious cargo was neither gold nor silver but rather a load of brook trout fingerlings bound for two of the many small streams that can be found in that part of the Silver State.
Two streams and four roundtrips later, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) had successfully released 3,000 fingerlings in the North and South Twin Rivers about. Each stream received 1,500 of the colorful fish that NDOW trucked in from a hatchery in Ogden, Utah.
Mark Beckstrand, NDOW fisheries biologist, said the agency's goal is to restore angling opportunity at some of the higher elevations.
"Locals who frequent these high mountains said they used to fish those areas, but drought caused some of the streams to dry up or become intermittent, and a lot of fish were lost," Beckstrand said in a news release.
This project was a joint effort between NDOW and Bryan Perchetti, an outdoor enthusiast whose family has lived in the area for four generations. He and his wife Tansy provided the pack horses, labor, and encouragement for the fish plant.
"When I was a kid, we used to fish all these creeks," Perchetti said when asked why he became involved. "That was the biggest thing, remembering from my childhood that, 'Hey we used to fish all the time."
Beckstrand said that brook trout are a hardy fish.
"The hope is they'll reproduce on their own and kind of build up the fishery," he said.
Perchetti realizes the restoration process is just that, a process that is going to take a while and will surely benefit from a little luck saying, "I think they'll come back. It's just going to take some time, and Mother Nature's got to cooperate a little bit to help us out."
Beckstrand said if they have never dried up, the streams will hold brook or brown trout, and many have both.
"You aren't going to catch giant fish by any means, but there's plenty of fish to be caught," Beckstrand said of what he describes as a high-elevation, backcountry fishing opportunity. "You can drive to the mouth of the canyon but then its trails and hiking the rest of the way."
The Sparks Marina has been stocked regularly this summer - over 26,000 fish.