By Montana Grant

Posted: April 22, 2023

Back in the day, I was fishing in a creek in Maryland called Deer Creek. It was near Pennsylvania and stocked trout often washed downstream. PA. stocked a diversity of trout including Golden Trout. One of them washed down into the hole where I was fishing. After several hours, I managed to catch the first recorded Golden Trout in Maryland. Later I would fish Shaffer’s Fork in West Virginia. I netted a 24 ½ inch Golden under an old mine trestle and released it.

Golden trout are also known as Palomino’s, Shills, and Bananas. They are a hybrid rainbow trout that is not related to the wild Golden trout native to some California waters. The Petersburg Hatchery in West Virginia developed the Golden trout in 1949. West Virginia now shares eggs with many other states that raise and stock their public fisheries with this colorful and hard to catch trout.

This Spring, Benji Lilly of Beckley West Virginia caught the new state record Golden. The state celebrates a week of trouting called the Gold Rush, to honor their unique trout. 25,000 Goldens are released into public fisheries. 

The state record was released into Little Beaver Pond in Raleigh County. After a 10-minute battle, Benji netted the monster Golden. He caught it on a 1/32nd oz. jig tipped with a Berkeley Power Worm. At first, he was going to give the fish away until a spectator measured it and said that it could be the new state record.

After having the trout weighed and measured at a certified fishery office, the Golden Monster weighed in at 9.72 pounds! Instead of having the new record fish mounted, Benji gave it to the spectator who ate it! I guess he liked the Big Banana a whole bunch!

Only in West Virginia!

Montana Grant

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