Anglers, grab your gear! Gold Rush set to return for 5th year

Josh Stewart via troutbitten.com

TAYLOR COUNTY—For the fifth year in a row, residents and guests to West Virginia’s lakes, rivers and streams will have the chance to snag some gold. Soon the waters of Tygart Lake State Park will sparkle with treasure.

Governor Jim Justice announced on Tuesday that the West Virginia Gold Rush trout program would be returning to the waterways of the state, and this year it would be bigger and better than ever.

“Every year through our incredible Gold Rush program, more and more people are discovering the thrill of fishing in West Virginia’s pristine waters, surrounded by the awe-inspiring nature we are blessed to enjoy in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Many are creating memories and family bonds that will last a lifetime,” Justice expressed. “As someone who’s fished his entire life, I can say that this is one of the most exciting events of its kind anywhere in the nation, and we invite everyone to come and experience the joy of fishing in West Virginia.”

This year, there will be 12 days of stocking and more opportunities for anglers across the state to win some great prizes.

Beginning Tuesday, March 29, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WV DNR) will commence stocking the state’s streams, lakes and rivers with approximately 50,000 golden rainbow trout, one of the state’s most treasured fish. 

The stocking will continue through Saturday, April 9, in more than 62 lakes and streams, including waters in and around the Mountain Momma’s magnificent state parks and forests.

During the event, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will stock only golden rainbow trout in designated lakes and streams, in an attempt to help draw anglers of all ages to the area, while providing the perfect opportunity to introduce their friends and family to sport fishing.

This golden trout, while native to West Virginia, is a prized catch among anglers on its own, however this year, landing certain golden trout could help anglers snag some great prizes.

“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 prize.”

The DRN revealed that they will be tagging 100 of the 50,000 fish, and if an angler reels in a catch with a numbered tag, they can enter to win one of four prizes, including a lifetime hunting and fishing license, a one-night cabin stay at a West Virginia state park or forest, a West Virginia State Parks gift card and exclusive Gold Rush merchandise like shirts, stickers and patches.

To celebrate the 5th Anniversary, any angler who catches a golden trout can enter their information on the Gold Rush Giveaway site to claim their special commemorative coin. The WVDNR will also be giving away free Gold Rush decals that can be requested at wvdnr.gov/goldrush.

“All it takes to get someone hooked on fishing is an exciting opportunity to catch an incredibly beautiful Golden Trout,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion.

To enter the contest, anglers will need to visit GoldRushWV.com to enter their tag number, fill out a submission for and then wait for a call, as prizes will be awarded at the end of this year’s Gold Rush.

What does it take to catch one of these golden treasures? Some time, patience, skill and most importantly, a West Virginia fishing license for anglers 15 years old or older. Licenses must have a current trout stamp.

Be sure to take a form of photo identification while hitting your favorite fishing holes, as it will be required to be shown to a WV DNR officer upon request.

Fishing licenses are good for one calendar year, but residents may also purchase a five-day license. Additionally, non-residents may purchase a one-day fishing license, to take part in a fun day of fishing on WV’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Licenses can be obtained at approximately 180 retail agents around the state, as well as online at www.wvhunt.com.

WV DNR officials are also urging those taking part in the Gold Rush to follow all West Virginia fishing regulations, to avoid possible citations and fines. Download a copy of the 2021 fishing regulations at wvdnr.gov/fishing/fishing_regs.shtm.

For more information about this special program and a complete list of golden rainbow trout stocking locations during the West Virginia Gold Rush, please log on to GoldRushWV.com.

“The West Virginia Gold Rush is proof that a whole lot of good things happen when we combine a big idea with our unmatched natural resources and invite the rest of the world to come enjoy it all with us,” Gov. Justice said. “We truly have something special here in West Virginia. As someone who’s been in our pristine waters his entire life and just loves everything to do with fishing, I can say that the Gold Rush is one of the most exciting events you could be part of. I encourage everyone to get out and experience the joy of fishing in West Virginia.”

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