A golden trout caught at John Muir Wilderness in California. Public domain image found on Wikipedia
Golden Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita)
The mountains of the Sierra Nevada area have been described as some of the most beautiful in the world. Nestled within this mountain region are rivers and tributaries that are accessible only to the most adventurous – the brave who are willing to leave the safety of the road behind and head out on foot or horseback. It is fitting, then, that hidden within this beautiful landscape are some of the most beautiful fish you can catch.
Where to Find Golden’s
Native to the rivers of California is the Golden Trout – a small, colorful trout that was discovered in the late 1800’s by explorers of the area. A golden orange color with olive sides, the golden trout has red accent stripes, black dots and white tips on its fins. Typically between six and twelve inches long, these beautiful fish thrive in the rivers of the upper mountains.
Early discoveries of the golden trout led to attempts to introduce the fish into the waters of other areas, efforts which were largely unsuccessful. A few areas where the fish have been known to survive outside its native home include Montana, parts of Canada and Wyoming. There have been reports of the fish elsewhere, but it is assumed that those reports were incorrect.
Like all trout species, the golden prefers cooler waters – thriving where the water temperatures range between 50 and 60 degrees, which explains why the high mountain ranges are the preferred home of the trout. While the golden trout lives primarily in rivers, it has been successfully introduced into some lakes where the conditions were favorable. The golden trout was once considered a standalone species, but has since been categorized as a sub species of rainbow trout.
How to Catch a golden
Similar to other trout varieties, the golden trout enjoys standard caddis, mayflies and other aquatic insects. Lures such as spoons and spinners have also been successful in catching the golden trout, as well as the flies used in fly fishing.
Status of this Fish Species
Since 1978, scientists have been tracking the existence of this beautiful trout, leading it to be placed on the threatened list due to crossbreeding with other fish and beavers damming its habitat. With limited areas of survival, it is only due to the efforts of conservationists that the golden trout has managed to maintain a presence in the high peaks of its native California.
Anglers who forge into the wilderness trails of the high mountains are often captivated by the beauty of a fish that Colonel Chuck Yeager described as one of the best game and most delicious fish available. Catching a beautiful fish, in a setting of exquisite unspoiled nature is a moment few people apart from trout fisherman get to experience. Quietly, these golden trout have enjoyed the beauty of their surroundings with limited interferenc