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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy photo/ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION Rainbow trout with a golden hue have been stocked in the White River below Bull Shoals Dam.

Anglers on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam have struck gold in their catch, thanks to a recent stocking of 7,500 rainbow trout, which include some with a golden color.

Christy Graham, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission trout management program coordinator, said the fish were stocked May 6 and anglers already are beginning to share photos of the golden fish they have caught.

"Golden rainbow trout cause a lot of excitement because they're something that looks completely different from the rest of the fish anglers catch," Graham said. "It's just another unique opportunity anglers will have over the next few months when trout fishing."

Golden rainbow trout are a color variation of rainbow trout that some fish producers stock as a novelty for anglers. States such as West Virginia have caused quite a buzz by intentionally stocking these bonus fish.

Arkansas does not have any true golden trout, which are native to California. Anglers catching these pale orange rainbow trout can keep them just as if they were a normal rainbow. All rules for rainbow trout apply to golden rainbows as well.

Graham said the stocking, which included standard rainbow trout along with the golden variety, was part of a federal reimbursement from 2017 when a flood decreased the Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery's ability to produce trout. The loss of hatchery production from flood damage reduced the number of rainbow trout stocked in the state by 25 percent.

Game and Fish has been able to purchase roughly 60,000 rainbow trout from a private fish farm in Missouri with the reimbursement. Those trout will be split up over the next three months (15,000 per month) and distributed throughout the White River from Bull Shoals Dam to Norfork. The remaining 15,000 fish will be stocked in the Little Red River.

Another 60,000 rainbow trout will be purchased in 2020 from the reimbursement and follow the same stocking schedule.

"The flood at Spring River was unfortunate and had a significant impact on our anglers," Graham said. "We're happy to be able to provide this additional opportunity for the next couple of years to offset that loss."

She said golden rainbows have been stocked in Arkansas tailwaters before.

"After a flood loss in 2008, rainbow trout were purchased from a private fish farm, which also had the golden variety mixed in," Graham said. "Any of those fish would be 11 years old by now and would be easily differentiated from this recent stocking effort."

Sports on 05/14/2019

Print Headline: White River trout anglers strike gold

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