WV Wildlife: Trout 'Gold Rush' coming this Spring!
CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) —
They aren't native to West Virginia.
In fact, they aren't native anywhere--but they were 'discovered' right here in the Mountain State.
Golden Rainbow Trout--also nicknamed 'Goldies' by some anglers--are a product of coincidence and genetic savviness by West Virginia hatchery managers back in the 1950's.
"(They) Noticed a fish that had some gold spots on it, and it happened to be a female--and they kept that fish and when they reproduced it, they ended up with about 300 completely gold trout. And ever since then, West Virginia has been able to reproduce the golden trout and has always stocked it as a novelty", said Jim Hedrick--Hatchery Program Manager with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
If you look closely, you can tell that goldies are indeed closely related to regular rainbow trout with pink and purples hues dotting their sides. They are beautiful fish that draw a lot of attention, but are hard to catch!
That's what gave Jim Hedrick an idea--for the first ever 'Gold Rush' coming up later this spring!
"During the first week of April--right after Easter--we're going to do an all Golden Trout stocking, so if you're never caught a Golden Trout, this is your opportunity to do that. We'll be stocking about 25,000 Golden Trout across the state at 30 different locations--and those locations can be found on the internet at wvgoldrush.com", said Hedrick.
As long as you have a fishing license and a trout stamp, you will be good to go!
And don't worry if you like to trout fish later in the spring--these golden stockings won't take away from the DNR's regular stocking program that continues through May.
"We'll be stocking somewhere around 50 other locations that same week that won't be part of the gold rush stocking. And, a lot of folks have asked--will there be golden trout stocked the rest of the year? And the answer is yes--we're not saving all the golden trout for this".
Although fishing and hunting has declined across the United States recently, it's still very popular here in West Virginia--and DNR Biologists hope to see that love for the outdoors continue for years to come.
"The concept behind the gold rush was to create some kind of fishing opportunity for kids and families that they could actually anticipate and maybe make a plan for--and a lot of folks are looking forward to the event", said Hedrick.