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West Virginia Wildlife
Golden Trout
Patrick McMurtry A Golden Anniversary For A Mountain State Original

March 20, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Homer Tinney knows as much about golden rainbow trout as anyone in the state.

As manager of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Petersburg trout hatchery, he has spent most of his career working with West Virginia's unique fish, and it all started with one unusual looking rainbow trout 50 years ago.

"They fooled with it and kept it here and it got a golden band all the way around it," Tinney said. "When it got to be 2 years old, they spawned it and low and behold, 300 turned gold, so they set them aside and started spawning gold to gold until they got this natural bright-colored gold they wanted."

And now everyone, it seems wants to come check out these beautiful fish in the wilds of West Virginia. They may not be too different from rainbow trout genetically, but boy that gold color sure does make them special.

"You have two types of people, either love them or hate them. They love them if they can catch them, but hate them if they can't catch them and some use them to find other fish. They figure if there's golden in there, there should be some rainbow there. That's one reason people like them, they say if they see them, there's some trout here so we'll sit here and fish." Tinney said.

That alone makes the golden trout a successful effort -- anything that will get people out on the water with a pole in their hand is good. When you combine beauty, natural elusiveness and being fun to catch, there is not much more you can ask for in a fish.

"They are so bright, they're skittish when they see somebody. They are going to naturally hide like any wild animal will, and I think that's a lot of it. There are a lot of people who, when they catch them, think of it as a prize, even after the 50-year anniversary of stocking the golden rainbow trout." Tinney said.

For anglers across the Mountain State, they have created 50 years of stocking memories, dreams and hope.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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