CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Anglers in West Virginia will be pulling more gold from the state's lakes and streams, thanks to a decision to stock waters with bright-yellow golden rainbow trout.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that 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 golden rainbow trout.
Officials are calling it the "West Virginia Gold Rush." Jim Hedrick, the Division of Natural Resources' acting fisheries chief, said workers will stock about 25,000 golden trout.
Ordinarily, only one in 10 trout stocked is a golden. But from April 2-6, at 30 waters throughout the state, every single one will be.
It's a treat for anglers that took three years to pull off, Hedrick said.
"At that time, we recognized that kids aren't fishing as much as they used to," he said. "Instead of letting them live on their electronics every day, we decided to do something to get them and their families excited about fishing.
"The idea we came up with was an all-golden-trout stocking. We knew that kids like golden trout, and so do adult anglers. So we decided to do a 'Gold Rush' — an all-golden stocking — as a promotion to get more people out fishing."
Hedrick said it took the state's seven trout hatcheries almost 18 months to raise enough goldens for the event.
"Our hatcheries always run at their maximum capacity," he said. "We only have so much space. So, to get the fish for this special week of stocking, we 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.