Randy Yohe Published

‘Gold Rush’ Is On; State Golden Trout Stocking Begins

A man in a stream tosses a bucket of orange-gold colored fish into the water.
Stocking golden trout into Glade Creek.
WV Governor's Office

It’s well established that Gov. Jim Justice loves to hunt and fish. Sitting on the banks of Glade Creek at Babcock State Park Monday, he told the gathered crowd a fish story, one with a bittersweet ending.   

“There’s no trout stream anywhere in the absolute world that’s as beautiful as Glade Creek,” Justice said. “I can’t tell you the number of days that I would walk all the way to the river, and try to start fishing my way back upstream in the middle of the summer. I think during all those trips, I probably caught two trout. I caught a lot of little, horny toad minnows, but it absolutely was the most beautiful place on the planet.” 

Glade Creek’s beauty took on a much richer, golden rainbow hue on Monday as the sixth annual Gold Rush got underway. The state’s largest fish stocking initiative highlights the golden rainbow trout.  

Department of Natural Resources Director Brett McMillion said with recent hatchery restoration, West Virginia’s fish crop production numbers have positioned the Mountain State among the east coast leaders. He said this first stocking is just the beginning for the prized catch.  

An orange-gold colored fish leaps out of a bubbling creek in West Virginia.
West Virginia native golden rainbow trout in Glade Creek. Credit: WV Governor’s Office

“We’re going to stock over 50,000 pounds of golden rainbow trout, ” McMillion said. “This is a native species, home grown here in the state of West Virginia. We’re going to hit 68 waters, 47 lakes and 21 streams. Our intent will be to turn this into a family oriented activity. We think that getting the kids into fishing and having outdoor sports are the best things we can be doing right now.”

The trout stocking will continue in waters in or near West Virginia’s 15 state parks and forests. The 12 days of Gold Rush stockings are not part of the WVDNR’s regular trout stockings. As a fishing event, the Gold Rush is unique because only golden rainbow trout are included in the stockings. During traditional trout stockings, only one golden rainbow trout is stocked for every 10 regular rainbows.

McMillion said 100 of the golden trout have been tagged, with winners earning prizes ranging from lifetime fishing licenses to state park overnight lodgings. If an angler catches a trout with one of these tags, they can enter the tag number at WVdnr.gov/goldrush.

During Monday’s stocking, Justice also announced the opening of Old Sewell Road, a hiking trail connecting Babcock State Park with New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The newly renovated path runs alongside Glade Creek in Babcock State Park downstream to the New River. He presented certificates to the West Virginia Division of Highways Central Heavy Highway Maintenance Crew for their efforts in renovating the trail.

“Getting this trail finished is an incredible feat, and I am so proud of everyone,” Justice said. “Who would’ve thought that West Virginia would be in an international travel guide saying this is the place to be? There’s no way of imagining what you’ve accomplished. All I did was turn you loose.”

The sixth edition of the Gold Rush runs until April 8.