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leah kirk

If you catch a golden rainbow trout with a gold tag, you've won an exclusive Gold Rush T-shirt! To redeem your free shirt, download and fill out this form and send it with the tag to the WV DNR office in Elkins. Your tag will be returned with your shirt. If you catch a golden rainbow trout during Gold Rush, celebrate the occasion by downloading this special Gold Rush certificate. Just fill out the information and print!

The West Virginia Gold Rush, a special stocking of golden rainbow trout, will return in 2019 with more fish and locations, according to West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel.


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 12 state parks. That week, DNR personnel will stock only golden rainbow trout in designated lakes and streams. To ensure families have plenty of opportunities to participate in the event, DNR is planning a big release on Saturday, April 6, 2019, 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,” said DNR Director Stephen McDaniel. “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 DNR’s regularly scheduled trout stockings, which have golden rainbows stocked at a one-to-10 ratio with regular rainbow trout. A list of stocked waters and more details about Gold Rush can be found at

“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,” said Jim Hedrick, hatchery program manager. “We are 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

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. For more than 50 years, golden rainbows 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 DNR’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 the WVDNR 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.