Despite the cold and rainy weather throughout last week, fishermen took to the banks of rivers and streams throughout the state hoping to land one of West Virginia’s fabled golden trout.
The number of golden trout trolling the waters of West Virginia increased last week as part of the Department of Natural Resource’s Gold Rush event. Gold Rush’s inaugural year witnessed 50 locations receive golden trout in their waters.
Gold Rush began Monday, April 2 and ended Friday, April 6. Throughout last week, state hatcheries were able to stock close to 40,000 golden trout.
Pendleton Lake in Blackwater Falls State Park and Spruce Knob Lake were the two stocking locations closest for Tucker County fishermen.
“I don’t think the weather kept people away,” Blackwater Superintendent Matt Baker said. “No, I think with trout fishermen, this is the weather they expect.”
DNR trucks showed up to Pendleton on Monday to unload the fish. “There were hundreds of people here the morning of, 300 hundred maybe,” Baker said. He reported a steady stream of visitors all week. “You could barely find a place to park,” Baker elaborated.
When the stocking took place at Pendleton, they unleashed around 250 pounds of golden trout. Each fish averaged one to two pounds.
On Wednesday, despite upwards of 30 mph winds and freezing temperatures, about 10 people were fishing on Pendleton Lake, halfway through the Gold Rush week. Most of the visitors were on the dam side of the lake. Some had traveled from Pennsylvania and Maryland to partake in the event.
While no golden trout were landed during that time, an older couple reported catching two earlier in the day.
The dates of the Gold Rush were planned for the public schools’ spring break, but with the snow and work stoppage, that spring break was shortened. Another DNR initiative to get kids and families fishing is the announcement of stocking times and locations.
“There were a lot of kids here, which is what it’s about in my opinion,” Baker said. “Announced stocking, in my mind, are to get families and kids out. They want to get the kids to see the stocking.”
The origin of the West Virginia golden trout began in 1963 when West Virginia DNR, as a part of the state’s centennial celebration, bred golden rainbow trout. After decades of lore and coveting, DNR decided to host an event centered on the celebrated fish.
Even though Gold Rush is over, all of those golden trout are still lurking the waters…