CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that the West Virginia Gold Rush, a special stocking of golden rainbow trout, is returning April 1-6 in more than 55 waters across the state.
During the week of the event, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will stock only golden rainbow trout in designated lakes and streams. The first ever Gold Rush took place in 2018 and was so successful that the state is repeating and expanding it.
“I hope as many West Virginians as possible take advantage of Gold Rush this year,” Justice said. “Fishing is a wonderful tradition in our state. I have so many great memories of times I went fishing with my dad, and I want all West Virginians to have the opportunity to make the same great memories with their families.”
Justice and DNR officials will hold a stocking event on Wednesday, April 3 at Babcock State Park. The event is open to the public, and more details will be released closer to the date.
Those who are interested in participating in Gold Rush can find a list of stocking locations 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 agents around the state or online at wvfish.com.
This year, the Gold Rush will happen in 16 streams and 41 lakes, including those in or close to several state parks. State workers will stock golden rainbow trout at 15 state parks and forests, many of which are offering overnight accommodations and scheduling special programming.
To ensure families have plenty of opportunity to participate, whether at the start or end of the week, DNR will conduct a big release on Saturday, April 6 – the last day of the event. 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.
“The 2018 Gold Rush was an exciting event that brought 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 with more trout, more locations and more chances to strike gold.”
DNR expects to be able to stock about 40,000 golden rainbows this year, up from 35,000 in 2018.
“Last year was a success – and I’ve told Director McDaniel that Gold Rush needs to be even bigger and even better this year,” Justice added. “We want more anglers getting out on the water and enjoying what our great state has to offer.”
All anglers must follow West Virginia’s fishing regulations, which can be found online at wvdnr.gov.
“The vision behind the West Virginia Gold Rush is to get people, especially children and new anglers, excited about trout fishing in West Virginia by giving them a great opportunity to catch this popular fish,” said Jim Hedrick, hatchery program manager. “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.”
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.