Golden Trout WV
YouTube: Brave Wilderness

A Brief History of West Virginia's Unique Golden Trout Stocking Program

Have you ever seen a beautiful golden trout?

Trout fishing is favorite pastime of many anglers and there are a ton of different varieties out there to target. One of the rarer variants of trout is a golden color phase. While these trout occur naturally in the wild on occasion, they are found on a regular basis in the Mountain State of West Virginia.

That's because biologists with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources have been selectively breeding them there since one was discovered in a fish shipment from California in the 1940s. These are actually golden rainbow trout.

DNR Biologists have since perfected raising these beautiful fish in a trout hatchery and every year they are released into lakes and streams statewide as part of an event known as the "West Virginia Gold Rush." Coyote Peterson, one of our favorite wildlife YouTubers recently took a trip there to check out these fish firsthand. Hear him talk about some more of the history in the video below.

What the state did with these golden trout stocking events was a brilliant idea to help boost tourism in the state. What angler wouldn't want to catch one of these golden beauties? In addition to booting tourism around stocking locations, this special event also helps boost visitors to West Virginia State Parks., guide services and resorts. That's a win-win for West Virginian residents who depend on the tourism. Last year they stocked about 50,000 gold strain trout into 61 lakes and streams across the state.

It also helps boost sales of West Virginia fishing licenses as anglers come from all over for a unique fishing getaway. These special stockings also give the WVDNR the chance to draw in new anglers to sport. Because a golden trout is going to catch a lot more eyes than a regular rainbow. Stocking locations in the past have included prominent areas like Charleston, Morgantown and more.

West Virginia usually does their golden trout stockings the first week of April. It got delayed in 2020 due to concerns about Covid-19, but we are guessing it will return next year. Check out for more information on this unique angling opportunity.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels