Plan the ultimate Gold Rush fishing trip and explore 68 of West Virginia’s most popular lakes and streams

The West Virginia Gold Rush is returning for its seventh year on April 1-13, bigger and better than ever! For two weeks, this exciting event will provide anglers and their families an opportunity to catch golden rainbow trout, win prizes and explore the state’s natural beauty.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, we’ve put together this bucket list to help you make the most of your fishing trip and enjoy your time on the water. Start planning your adventure and get ready to make unforgettable Gold Rush memories.

Cast a Line at Multiple Lakes and Streams

With 68 lakes and streams to choose from this year, there’s a Gold Rush stocking for everyone to enjoy. If your favorite fishing spot is on the list, great! If your go-to spot won’t receive a Gold Rush stocking, this is the perfect opportunity to discover a new lake or stream.

Gold Rush is also a good opportunity to cast your line at multiple stocking locations. Not only will you get to see more of West Virginia’s scenic beauty, you might just increase your chances of catching a tagged golden trout and winning one of our incredible Gold Rush prizes.

Visit a State Park or Forest

No matter what kind of trip you plan for Gold Rush 2024, make sure you visit a state park or forest. Out of the 68 stockings, 15 are waters in or near state parks and forests, which are some of the best fishing spots in the state.

To celebrate Gold Rush, West Virginia’s state parks and forests are also offering a 15 percent discount on lodge rooms, cabin stays and campsite bookings. All you have to do to get the 15 percent lodge room or cabin discount is book a trip to a state park or forest between now and April 30, 2024. Use code GOLD when you checkout online at Some exclusions apply.

Fish with Family and Friends

Gather your loved ones and embark on an unforgettable angling expedition during the West Virginia Gold Rush. This event isn’t just about catching fish — it’s about creating cherished memories with those closest to you. Whether you’re introducing a child to the joys of fishing or bonding with friends over shared adventures, the Gold Rush provides the perfect backdrop for quality time spent on the water. So, pack your gear, round up your favorite fishing buddies, and get ready to reel in the fun together. After all, the best catches are the ones shared with family and friends.

Try Different Fishing Techniques

One of the best things about the West Virginia Gold Rush being a family-friendly event is that it provides a welcoming environment for new and experienced anglers to experiment with different fishing techniques.

If you prefer fly fishing in a stream, take your spin rod out to a lake. Only fish at lakes? Cast your line in a stream. If you’ve never fished with a fly rod, consider asking someone who’s familiar with the technique to teach you. Fly fishing involves casting a lightweight artificial fly to lure fish to the surface. It can be a challenging but rewarding experience. See what works best for you!

Catch a Golden Rainbow trout

Catching a golden rainbow trout is such a rewarding experience. But fair warning — catching one isn’t like catching a regular rainbow trout.

Because golden rainbows lack normal pigmentation in their scales, they tend to seek shady water and are sometimes less active. While golden rainbows are reluctant to bite, catching one takes the same skill and bait required to catch any other rainbow trout. Just remember that 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 Heaven.

Win a Gold Rush Prize

Out of the 50,000 golden rainbow trout that will be stocked during the event, only 500 will receive a numbered tag, five times the number of trout tagged in years past. That means this year is your best chance to win 

If you catch a golden rainbow trout with a numbered tag, be sure to enter the tag number at for a chance to win one of the following prizes:

  • FREE Resident West Virginia Lifetime Fishing License (5 Winners)
  • West Virginia State Park or Forest Cabin Stay (1 Night)
  • West Virginia State Parks gift card ($25 Value)

In addition to increasing the number of tagged trout, we are also giving away exclusive Gold Rush merchandise to everyone who reports their tagged golden rainbow trout catch during the event.

Take Pictures and Document Your Trip

Part of what makes the West Virginia Gold Rush so much fun is the social aspect and community surrounding the event. Don’t forget to take pictures and document your adventures so you can share your experience with all the other anglers participating in the event. Just tag your photos with #WVGoldRush when you post on social media so everyone can see your prized catch.

Buy Your License and Trout Stamp to Get Ready Gold Rush

As you plan your West Virginia Gold Rush adventures, remember that all anglers 15 years and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license and trout stamp, which can be purchased online at

Elevate your angling experience this year by opting to purchase a physical license card with a golden rainbow trout on the cover. This collectible card not only looks good but serves as a memento of your commitment to the sport and the conservation efforts that keep it thriving. It’s a small upgrade that can make a big difference, ensuring you’re always ready to seize the moment when the waters call.