Explore West Virginia’s natural beauty and catch a prized golden rainbow trout with our ultimate Gold Rush fishing trip bucket list.

The sixth annual West Virginia Gold Rush is March 28 – April 8. This exciting event offers anglers an opportunity to catch golden rainbow trout, win prizes and explore the state’s natural beauty. With 68 stockings and incredible prizes up for grabs, the Gold Rush is a can’t miss event.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during the Gold Rush. In this blog post, we’ve put together a bucket list to help you make the most of your fishing trip. Make your own bucket list or use ours. Either way, we hope you’ll enjoy your time on the water with friends and family. Start planning your adventure and get ready to make unforgettable Gold Rush memories!

Cast a line at 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’s a Gold Rush stocking for everyone to enjoy. 

Explore our online map to find a West Virginia Gold Rush stocking near you. If your favorite fishing spot is on the list, great! If your fishing spot won’t receive a Gold Rush stocking, this is the perfect opportunity to discover a new lake or stream. Or visit one with your friends and family.

We also encourage you 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 win one of our incredible Gold Rush Giveaway prizes.

See the stocking map and prize list at WVdnr.gov/gold-rush.

Visit a state park or forest

Whether or not you cast a line at multiple stocking locations, you have to make plans to visit a state park or forest during the West Virginia Gold Rush. Out of the 68 stockings, 15 are waters in or near state parks and forests. State park and forest lakes and streams are already some of the best fishing spots in the state, so you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this opportunity to cast a line and explore West Virginia’s natural beauty.

To celebrate Gold Rush, West Virginia’s state parks and forests that receive a Gold Rush stocking are also offering a 15 percent discount on lodge rooms and cabin stays. State Park accommodations are incredibly popular and book up fast, so this is a great opportunity to book a trip before the vacation season gets busy this summer.

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 March 23 and April 30, 2023. Use code GOLD when you checkout online at WVstateparks.com. Some exclusions apply.

Fish with family and friends

The West Virginia Gold Rush is the ultimate family-friendly fishing experience of the year. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the water or an adrenaline-fueled fishing adventure, there is a stocking where you can make that happen and make memories with your loved ones.

Another benefit of fishing with family and friends during the Gold Rush is that this is the perfect event to teach someone how to fish. With so many lakes and streams being stocked and so many trout up for grabs, you can’t ask for a better opportunity to teach fishing techniques. Whether you’re introducing a child to the joys of fishing or helping a friend who’s 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, make sure you 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 might be incredible prizes up for grabs, but the best thing about the West Virginia Gold Rush being a family-friendly event is that you don’t have to take it too seriously. So, take this time 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 of day you cast your line. No matter what technique you choose, the key is to be patient and persistent and to enjoy the peaceful and serene surroundings while waiting for a bite.

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

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 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

While catching a golden rainbow trout would make any fishing trip a success in our book, catching one with a numbered tag is the ultimate Gold Rush bucket list item. Out 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 achievement.

The odds of catching one might be 1:500, but don’t let that discourage you from going for the gold. The prizes this year 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 West Virginia lifetime fishing license, 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, there’s still plenty of opportunity to reel in a 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 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 use hashtags like #WVGoldRush when you post on social media so everyone can see.

By documenting and sharing your West Virginia Gold Rush experience, you’ll not only create lasting keepsakes for yourself and your loved ones, but you’ll also inspire others to experience the beauty and excitement of outdoor adventures in West Virginia. You never know who might be inspired to take up fishing or plan a family vacation after seeing your pictures 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 years and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license, trout stamp and a valid form of identification while fishing during Gold Rush. Get your license and stamps today at WVfish.com.