Explore the natural beauty of West Virginia and catch precious golden rainbow trout with our ultimate gold rush fishing bucket list.
The sixth annual West Virginia Gold Rush runs from March 28 to April 8. This exciting event offers anglers the opportunity to catch golden rainbow trout, win prizes and explore the state’s natural beauty. With 68 stockings and amazing prizes up for grabs, the Gold Rush is an event not to be missed.
Whether you are a seasoned fisherman or a beginner, there is something for everyone during the gold rush. In this blog post, we’ve put together a bucket list to help you get the most out of your fishing trip. Make your own to-do list or use ours. Either way, we hope you enjoy your time on the water with your friends and family. Start planning your adventure and get ready to create unforgettable gold rush memories!
Cast a line across multiple lakes and streams
Cast a line and end up in Almost Heaven. With 68 lakes and streams to choose from this year (47 ponds and lakes and 21 rivers and streams), there is gold rush stock for everyone to enjoy.
Explore our online map to find a West Virginia Gold Rush stock near you. If your favorite fishing spot is on the list, great! If your fishing spot won’t get Gold Rush stocking, this is the perfect opportunity to check out a new lake or stream. Or visit one with your friends and family.
We also encourage you to cast your line at multiple storage locations. Not only will you be able to see more of West Virginia’s scenic beauty, but you might just increase your chances of catching a tagged Golden Trout and winning one of our incredible Gold Rush Giveaway prizes.
See storage map and price list at WVdnr.gov/gold-rush.
Visit a state park or forest
Whether or not you throw a line at multiple storage locations, you should plan to visit a state park or forest during the West Virginia Gold Rush. Of the 68 lows, 15 are waters in or near state parks and forests. The lakes and streams in state parks and the forest are already some of the best fishing spots in the state. So you’ll definitely want to take this opportunity to cast a line and explore the natural beauty of West Virginia.
To celebrate the gold rush, West Virginia State Parks and Forests that receive a gold rush stocking are also offering a 15% discount on lodge rooms and cabin stays. State Park accommodations are incredibly popular and book up quickly, so this is a great opportunity to book a trip before the holiday season gets busy this summer.
All you need to do to get the 15% discount on the lodge room or cabin is book a trip to a state park or forest between March 23 and April 30, 2023. Use Code GOLD when you pay online at WVstateparks.com. Certain exclusions apply.
Fishing with family and friends
The West Virginia Gold Rush is the ultimate family fishing experience of the year. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the water or an adrenaline-filled fishing adventure, there’s a bottom where you can make it happen and create memories with your loved ones.
Another benefit of fishing with family and friends during the Gold Rush is that it’s the perfect event to teach someone how to fish. With so many stocked lakes and streams and so many trout to catch, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to teach fishing skills. Whether you are introducing a child to the joys of fishing or helping a friend who has never held a fishing rod before, the Gold Rush is a welcoming and supportive environment for beginners.
So if you’re new to fishing or looking to improve your own skills, be sure to include beginner-friendly activities on your Gold Rush bucket list. Who knows, you might even be one of the lucky few to catch a tagged trout and win an amazing prize!
Try different fishing techniques
There could be some amazing prizes up for grabs, but the best thing about the West Virginia Gold Rush being a family event is that you don’t have to take it too seriously. So, take the opportunity to experiment with different fishing techniques.
Each technique uses different lures and baits to attract fish and can yield different results depending on the weather, your location and the time you cast your line. Whichever technique you choose, the key is to be patient and persistent and to enjoy the peaceful, serene environment while waiting for a bite.
If you prefer fly fishing in a stream, take your spinning rod to a lake. Fishing only in the lakes? Cast your line into a stream. If you’ve never fished with a fly rod, consider asking someone who knows the technique to teach it to you. Fly fishing involves casting a light artificial fly to attract fish to the surface. It can be a difficult but rewarding experience. See what suits you best!
Catch a Golden Rainbow Trout
While the West Virginia Gold Rush is a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends and family, catching a Golden Rainbow Trout is such a rewarding experience. But fair warning, catching one is not like catching an ordinary rainbow trout.
Because golden rainbows lack normal pigmentation in their scales, they tend to seek out shady water and are sometimes less active. While golden rainbows are hesitant to bite, catching one requires the same skill and bait as catching any other rainbow trout. Remember, the joy of catching a golden rainbow trout and the chance to win a prize makes the challenge all the more exciting.
New to fishing? Check out our guide to fishing for the first time in Almost Paradise.
Win a Gold Rush Prize
While catching a golden rainbow trout would make any fishing trip a hit in our book, catching one with a number tag is the ultimate Gold Rush bucket list item. Of the 50,000 golden rainbow trout that will be stocked during the event, only 100 will receive a numbered tag, making catching one of these fish a rare and incredible feat.
The odds of catching one might be 1 in 500, but don’t let that put you off going for the gold. This year’s awards are worth it! If you catch a golden rainbow trout with a numbered tag, be sure to enter the tag number at WVdnr.gov/goldrush for a chance to win a free lifetime fishing license in Virginia- West Virginia, a one-night stay at a state park or forest cabin, a West Virginia State Parks gift card, or exclusive Gold Rush merchandise.
Even if you don’t catch a tagged golden rainbow trout, there are still plenty of opportunities to catch regular golden rainbow trout during the gold rush. With so many stocked lakes and streams throughout the state, all you have to do is cast your line.
Take photos and document your trip
Part of what makes the West Virginia Gold Rush so fun is the social aspect and community surrounding the event. Don’t forget to take photos and document your adventures so you can share your experience with all the other anglers at the event. Just use hashtags like WVGoldRush when posting on social media so everyone can see.
By documenting and sharing your West Virginia Gold Rush experience, you will not only create lasting memories for you and your loved ones, but you will also inspire others to discover the beauty and excitement of outdoor adventures in West Virginia. You never know who might be inspired to fish or plan a family vacation after seeing your photos and hearing your stories.
Get ready for the West Virginia Gold Rush!
The West Virginia Gold Rush will be here before you know it. All anglers 15 and older must have a West Virginia fishing license, trout stamp, and valid ID when fishing during the Gold Rush. Get your license and stamps today at WVfish.com.
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