Truckee River Fish Five
OK, so the plan was that 20 fish—a newly crafted subspecies of electrifying neon Lahontan cutthroat trout—would light up the Truckee River on Wednesdays and Fridays during Artown.

But since the first night of neon artist Jeff Johnson‘s installation, Truckee River Fish Market, the fish have neared extinction more than once. First it was the weather—possible lightning made the fishy debut a no-go. Since, the project has experienced more than its share of muddy water and technical difficulties. One of the donated transformers powering the fish was the wrong species of transformer. So Sierra Arts is trying to help Johnson find the right transformer.

All of this is water down the stream. On Friday, five of the 20 fish braved the sparkling current.

The project is experimental, Loni Harris of Sierra Arts reminded us. Unforeseen glitches are part of the learning curve.

“We’ve got five fish in,” she said. “It’s been exciting to see how it goes. … That’s part of our mission—to support the artists in what they do. It’s a great project. We just didn’t know what to expect.”

A few spectators bent over the bridge to watch the neon Friday.

“They are fun to look at,” one woman said. “I wonder if they attract the other fish.”

Once the whole project gets working, Sierra Arts wants to extend the exhibit through August so more people can get a chance to see it.