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The gold of Fish of the Week: Exploring/explaining golden rainbows caught in Illinois’ trout seasons

Bob Lubek sent a note and photo of a gold-colored trout, which earns Fish of the Week honors for his son-in-law and grandson and allows for an explanation of those trout in Illinois and how they are not California golden trout.

California golden trout from a 2008 project report. Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife
California golden trout from a 2008 project report.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Bob Lubek emailed a note and photo of a gold-colored trout caught as part of “a group effort by my son-in-law Bob Derzinski and grandson Jim.” They were fishing at Lake Milliken in Will County. (Just to be clear, the photo at the top is not what they caught but a California golden trout for comparison.)

Every year, readers send notes about catching gold, yellow or pale trout during Illinois’ trout season. Spring trout opened Saturday. Illinois fisheries chief Mike McClelland said they are a color variant of the rainbow trout the state stocks.

The trout catch by Bob Derzinski and son Jim included a golden rainbow trout. Provided by Bob Lubek
The trout catch by Bob Derzinski and son Jim included a golden rainbow trout.
Provided by Bob Lubek

“We have them in most of our waters,” he said. “We don’t order them, that is the way the hatchery sends them. There are two or three or four at most sites.”

The gold colored rainbow is not to be confused with golden trout, a species generally found in higher elevations in California. The state freshwater fish of California is “[w]idely regarded as one of the most beautiful trout in the world,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. See the photo at the top.

All around the family had a great day, part of their catch included a regular rainbow trout of 18 34 inches weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces.

A surprisingly big rainbow trout of 18 3⁄4 inches weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces caught on opening weekend of Illinois’ spring trout season. Photo provided by Bob Lubek
A surprisingly big rainbow trout of 18 3⁄4 inches weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces caught on opening weekend of Illinois’ spring trout season.
Provided by Bob Lubek

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter, as this one shows) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the paper Sun-Times. The online posting here at https://chicago.suntimes.com/outdoors goes up at varied days of the week, depending on what is going on the wide world of the outdoors.

To make submissions, email (BowmanOutside@gmail.com) or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).