All That Glitters

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This is not a golden trout. Photo by Louis Cahill

This is not a golden trout. Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

About once a year I get an email from the editor of a fishing magazine saying, “I heard you have photos of golden trout.”

IMG_8289The answer is yes, but better than half the time the question is completely wrong. There seems to be a lot of confusion over exactly what is a golden trout, and the media has done it’s part to foster that confusion. In reality, the jury is not, in any way, out on the subject but more than half the time what they are referring to is actually a palomino trout, not a golden.

I saw this meme on Instagram the other day and it made me think this was a good subject to help clarify. A palomino trout is actually an albino rainbow trout. though they do accuse in small numbers in the wild, they are most commonly raised and stocked as a novelty in pay-to-play private waters. Feelings are widely split on these fish, who never asked to be called into existence. They are at once kind of cool and the highest level of bullshit. I’ll let you decide where you land in that debate. You can read more about palomino trout here.

Golden trout on the other hand, are something truly special.

_DSC7300Native to the Kern River drainage in California, this unique and rare subspecies of rainbow trout is one of the most beautiful fish you will ever see. They exist a few places outside their native range, notably in the Wind River Range of Wyoming and are known to be extremely elusive. The golden trout likely tops the list of fish most anglers will never catch. In addition the being rare and hard to reach, they are not easy to catch. Fickle and moody, it’s not uncommon for anglers to blister their feet reaching a golden lake and the fish no-show.

So I guess I feel like confusing them with with the bright yellow Frankinfish is just fundamentally wrong. It doesn’t take any of the shine off of these beautiful little creatures, but I can’t say the same for the anglers who don’t know the difference.

Check out this video of golden trout in the Wind Range.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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6 thoughts on “All That Glitters

  1. “They are at once kind of cool and the highest level of bullshit.” lol. That’s a great line.

    Doesn’t help that our Pennsylvania Fish Commission calls them “Golden Rainbows.”

    Lots of confusing things in fishing, though, and it takes a lifetime to sort it all out.

    Good stuff. Think I’ll share this one.

  2. There are a pair of lakes in the Cascades that allegedly hold Golden Trout. I’m going to take off from work right now and see if they’re there. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Streamside | All that Glitters -- Gink & Gasoline on Golden Trout | Troutbitten

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