Arkansas Angler Catches Rare Golden Bass

A strange golden-colored largemouth bass caught in Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas left the angler scratching his head.

“I had two thoughts when I caught it,” said angler Josh Rogers about the fish. “The mid-lake area on down is uncharacteristically muddy now, and I know that bass get light-colored when they are in the mud. But when I looked at the mouth and gills, I wondered if he was sick. My buddy I was fishing with said, ‘Surely it’s not something he’s eating that would turn him that color.’”

They took photos, figuring someone could explain the golden tint, and returned the bass to the water. “I didn’t think anything about it for an hour and a half of fishing. Then I started sending pictures to friends and putting it on Instagram and Facebook, and from the reaction of everybody, I started thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it back.’ I was surprised it caused such a reaction from people.”

Rogers’ catch, in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologist Jon Stein’s words, was akin to hitting the Powerball, only without the cash payout. “Josh needs to buy a lottery ticket, because he caught one fish in a million.”

Stein says the gold-colored largemouth bass was a genetic anomaly. “The unusual bass has what is known as xanthochromism, which is the loss of darker pigment with the pigmentation replaced with yellow. This is very rare and does occur naturally.”

Rogers said, “I’d never heard of one like this before seeing one.” Although he caught-and-released this rarity, he said he is having a replica made through the photographs.

For more from Arkansas DNR, see www.agfc.com.

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