Rare golden rainbow trout attracts waves of anglers
BARBOURSVILLE — Every so often, one of the prized golden rainbow trout would splash out of the water at Barboursville Park’s Lake William.
Those unmistakable and otherworldly sunny scales flashed like the brief flickering of a light bulb against the navy blue water and overcast sky Sunday, a metaphorical beacon of hope for the dozens of anglers casting out.
It was the last week of the second annual West Virginia Gold Rush, a special stocking of more than 40,000 golden rainbow trout in lakes and streams across the state, a new tradition promoting fishing in West Virginia’s waters.
Introduced to the public in 1963 as part of West Virginia’s centennial celebration, the golden rainbow trout is prized by anglers young and old for its unmistakable, bright-yellow color.
Designated waters were stocked with golden trout from April 1 through Saturday, locally in Barboursville Park and Chief Logan State Park in Logan.
While Sunday’s agreeable weather brought out a decent amount of rods and reels, it was nothing compared to when the fish first arrived last weekend.
“There’s a telegraph that goes on around here, and when the trout truck pulls up, it gets crowded real quick,” said Kevin Lusk, of Milton, who posted up along the bank.
Though he and fellow fisher Aaron Dement had about as little luck Sunday as anyone else sitting at the water’s edge, Lusk did manage to haul in a golden rainbow trout at the onset last week.
Its shadow alone probably weighed 4 pounds, he laughed, though in reality it was closer to about a foot in length.
On those first days, some people easily hit their six-per-day catch limit, he continued as he and Dement questioned whether the overall limit was 12 or 18 fish total.
“I don’t know. I’ve never caught that much,” Dement laughed.
Raised in West Virginia Division of Natural Resources hatcheries for the occasion, golden rainbow trout normally bite on trout eggs, PowerBait, mealworms and sometimes garlic cheese, they explained. They’re as good to eat as any fresh-caught trout, and Lusk usually catches enough to fuel a family fish fry.
A complete list of stocking locations, including some at state parks, is at www.wvgoldrush.com.
All anglers age 15 and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license with a current trout stamp and a valid form of identification while fishing. A West Virginia fishing license can be purchased at approximately 180 retail locations around the state or online.
All anglers must follow West Virginia’s fishing regulations, which can be found online at wvdnr.gov.