MASON COUNTY — Twice a year, Santa (also known as the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources), arrives in Mason County to stock trout at Krodel Park in Point Pleasant and Cornstalk Lake in Southside.
The two local lakes received fish in January and earlier this month. In addition to that stocking, Gov. Jim Justice recently announced the West Virginia Gold Rush trout program is returning this year bigger and “better than ever,” with 12 days of trout stockings and more opportunities for anglers to win prizes, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“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,” Gov. Justice said. “With all the excitement surrounding this event, it only made sense to add more days of trout stockings and more great prizes for anglers. 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.”
WVDNR will stock 50,000 golden rainbow trout from Tuesday, March 23, through Saturday, April 3, at more than 60 lakes and streams, including waters in or near 15 state parks and forests. Stocking locations and details about Gold Rush can be found at GoldRushWV.com. Stockings for the Gold Rush are performed in addition to regularly scheduled trout stockings, as noted earlier in this article.
Though no Gold Rush stockings are planned for Mason County, locations which are near the area include Rollins Lake in Evans, North Bend Lake (tailwaters) at North Bend State Park in Ritchie County, Barboursville Lake in Cabell County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County and many more locations across the state.
The WVDNR is increasing the number of prizes for catching a tagged trout. This year, 100 trout will receive a special numbered tag, which can be entered to win one of four prizes. The grand prize is a three-night cabin stay at Blackwater Falls State Park. Other prizes include one-night cabin stays at a state park or forest, West Virginia State Parks gift cards, and exclusive Gold Rush merchandise. Anglers who catch a golden trout with a numbered tag during Gold Rush can enter the number online with their contact information for a chance to win prizes.
For those who don’t reel in one of the 100 golden rainbow trout with a tag, there are still chances to win prizes by signing up to receive travel tips and information from the WVDNR during Gold Rush.
“I want to thank Governor Justice for the incredible support he brings to the Gold Rush program each and every year. As a lifelong angler himself, the Governor gets what fishing is all about,” WVDNR Director Stephen McDaniel said. “Gold Rush is an exciting event that gets anglers and their families to lakes, streams, and our wonderful parks and forests all throughout the state. Not only is this event great for tourism and a boost to the economy, it provides exciting opportunities for kids and new anglers to enjoy trout fishing.”
All anglers age 15 and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license with a current trout stamp and a valid form of identification while fishing during Gold Rush. Licenses and stamps can be purchased online at wvfish.com. Additionally, all anglers must follow West Virginia’s fishing regulations.
For more information and fishing resources, visit wvdnr.gov.
About West Virginia’s Golden Rainbow Trout: Introduced to the public in 1963 as part of West Virginia’s centennial celebration, the golden rainbow trout is prized by anglers young and old for its unmistakable, bright-yellow color. For more than 50 years, golden rainbows have provided a special experience for anglers who have been lucky enough to catch them, and have been a source of frustration for those who haven’t.
Information on the Gold Rush stockings provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice. Beth Sergent contributed to this article.