The West Virginia Gold Rush—special stocking of golden rainbow trout—will return in 2019 with more fish and new locations, according to Stephen McDaniel, director of the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources.
"Gold Rush" will return the week of April 1-6, 2019, and include stockings and events at more than 55 lakes and streams across the state, including those in 12 state parks, McDaniel said.
Division personnel will stock only golden rainbow trout in designated lakes and streams that week. To ensure families have plenty of opportunities to participate in the event, the division is planning a big release on Saturday, April 6, the last day of the event.
“The first West Virginia Gold Rush exceeded our already-high expectations, bringing hundreds of new, active and reactivated anglers back to our lakes and streams,” McDaniel said in a press release.
“Thanks to the efforts of our trout hatcheries staff, we will be able to do it again next year, with more trout, more locations and more chances to strike ‘gold.’”
Gold Rush stockings are not part of the division’s regularly scheduled trout stockings, which otherwise stock golden rainbows at a 1-to-10 ratio with regular rainbow trout.
A list of stocked waters and more details about Gold Rush can be found at www.WVGoldRush.com.
According to Jim Hedrick, hatchery program manager, the gold-rush program has been a positive means of introducing new anglers to the sport.
“The purpose of West Virginia Gold Rush is to get people, especially children and new anglers, excited about trout fishing by giving them a good opportunity to catch this popular fish,” Hedrick said.
“We're looking at being able to stock 40,000 golden rainbows — up from about 35,000 this year. We will again be tagging some of the goldens so those who are lucky enough to catch one can turn in the tag for a West Virginia Gold Rush T-shirt.”
Golden rainbow trout will be stocked at 12 state parks where special activities will be offered for visitors. Anyone who catches a golden rainbow at a state park is eligible to receive a West Virginia Gold Rush Golden Rainbow Trout Certificate. Anglers can also print their own Gold Rush Certificate at www.WVGoldRush.com.
Introduced in 1963 as part of West Virginia’s centennial celebration, golden rainbow trout are prized by anglers young and old for its unmistakable, bright-yellow color. For more than 50 years, goldies have provided a special experience for anglers who have been lucky enough to catch them, and have been a source of frustration for those who haven’t.
Those who want an up-close look at golden rainbow trout may do so at the division’s “West Virginia Gold Rush” booth at Stonewall Resort State Park during the 2018 National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22-23.
Golden rainbow trout can be seen at all state trout hatcheries during certain times of the year. West Virginia’s hatchery facilities play an important role in the state’s fisheries management efforts and are open daily to the public.