Invasive fish removed from Baily Fishing Pond

Travis Hawk of NDOW helps pull the net to the shore of Baily Fishing Pond on April 12.

Travis Hawk of NDOW helps pull the net to the shore of Baily Fishing Pond on April 12.
Chelsea Kincheloe/Courtesy

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Approximately 116 green sunfish — a type of game fish — were pulled from Baily Fishing Pond in south Carson City on April 12 to better protect and preserve the urban fishery’s trout population.

Officials from the Nevada Department of Wildlife joined forces with half a dozen volunteers from the Carson City Fly Fishing Club to net the pond and sort out invasive species.

“The positive news is the sunfish we removed are highly competitive with native trout stocked in the pond,” said Chelsea Kincheloe, Carson City’s volunteer coordinator.

Kincheloe said they found sunfish shorter than an inch and some specimens up to four inches. They did catch a footlong trout and “let him go on his merry way.”

Kincheloe urged anglers not to return any invasive species caught in the pond.

“If you should catch a goldfish or carp or jellyfish, it’s greatly appreciated if you do not put them back in the pond,” she said.

NDOW Fishery Biologist Kris Urquhart speculated on the origins of the sunfish.

“Either someone illegally moved the fish from a nearby pond or river, or they made their way into Baily via Clear Creek that connects to the Carson River, which also has a green sunfish population.”

Urquhart said no carp or goldfish were netted April 12.

“But we know they’re in there,” he said. “The goldfish are most likely from aquarium dumping by the public. We see this at just about every urban pond across the state.”

Also of concern are freshwater jellyfish. Last year, there were reports of the small creatures in Baily Fishing Pond.

“They are small (usually about the size of a dime) and are not dangerous to people,” said Urquhart. “However, they can cause food web problems for fish populations. We were not able to positively identify them to species, but they were most likely what is commonly called the peach blossom fish, which occasionally show up in a couple other locations in Nevada and lots of places in California as well as surrounding states.”

Like goldfish, the jellyfish were likely introduced by dumping a pet fish tank. Urquhart reminded residents dumping doesn’t only hurt the ecosystem, it is illegal.

“Our aquatic habitats are sensitive and can be dramatically altered by a single illegal introduction that may have been done by someone that just didn’t know any better,” he said. “Don’t dump your pets in public waters or take fish from one waterbody and release them into a different waterbody.”

Sunfish can be “perfectly fine” in other locations, Urquhart said. He said fish management should be done by biologists.

“The largest concerns are food availability and water quality,” he said. “Species like the green sunfish and carp or goldfish will eat the same things a trout would be looking for in these ponds, namely insects. But carp or goldfish also cause additional problems because they muddy up the water by swimming along the bottom and kicking up sediment. Trout need clean water with lots of bugs to eat.”

Baily Fishing Pond first opened at Fuji Park in 2010. Fifteen feet deep, the fishery was named after Kevin "CK" Baily of Carson, who was a driving force behind funding and construction of the pond.

“NDOW stocks anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 rainbow trout into Baily Pond each year,” said Urquhart. “Trout are not self-sustaining in the urban pond environment due to the lack of available spawning habitat; however, other non-desirable or invasive species can be self-sustained, which makes them all that much more problematic.”

Fishing licenses are required at Baily Fishing Pond for anglers over the age of 12. A trout stamp is also required to take trout. For information, visit


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