In early April, state natural resources officials will change the color of the trout they stock in Mountain State waters. Instead of drab-colored brook, brown, and rainbow trout, they’ll be bright-yellow golden rainbow trout. Called the ‘West Virginia Gold Rush,’ about 25,000 goldens will be stocked that week.
Ordinarily, only one in 10 trout stocked is a golden. But from April 2 to April 6, at 30 waters located throughout the state, every single one will be. The state’s seven trout hatcheries took almost 18 months to raise enough goldens for the event. Hatcheries always run at their maximum capacity, but there is only so much space. To get the fish for this special week of stocking, the state replaced about 25 of every 1,000 rainbow trout we ordinarily raise with goldens.
The fish were spawned at the DNR’s Petersburg Hatchery and were reared at the Bowden, Spring Run, and Reeds Creek hatcheries. The fish being distributed in the stockings might be special, but most of the stockings themselves will not be. Hedrick said most of the Gold Rush waters were going to be stocked that week anyway.
These stockings will take the place of the regularly scheduled stockings at the same locations normally stock. They’ll just be a different color.
At five state parks, the stockings will indeed be special because their dates have been made public. DNR officials don’t ordinarily let people know when waters will be stocked. For the Gold Rush. Golden rainbow trout will be stocked April 2 at Cacapon, Blackwater Falls, Pipestem Resort, Watoga, and North Bend state parks, where special activities will be offered for visitors. Hedrick said many adults will have the day off because of the Easter holiday, and stockings on that date would give families an opportunity to go fishing together.
Anyone who catches a golden at one of those parks on April 2 is eligible to receive one of the Gold Rush Golden Rainbow Trout Award certificates DNR officials are having printed to mark the occasion.
The full list of Gold Rush waters is as follows:
Lakes and ponds will include Barboursville, Bear Rocks, Berwind, Boley, Cacapon, Cedar Creek, Chief Logan, Coopers Rock, French Creek, Little Beaver, Mason, Mountwood, Pendelton, Pipestem, Rollins, Spruce Knob, Tomlinson Run, Wallback, Watoga, and Warden.
Streams will include the Blackwater River, Cranberry R., North Fork of Hughes R. at North Bend State Park, Opequon Creek, Guyandotte R. at R.D. Bailey Dam, Shavers Fork upper and lower sections, South Branch of the Potomac Smoke Hole section, West Fork R. at Stonewall Jackson Dam, and Tygart R. at Tygart Dam.