David Allen Sisson, of Magnolia, Arkansas, caught a fish on July 27 that few anglers have ever seen or even heard of: a golden crappie.Sisson was vertical jigging a brushpile at the 3,000-acre Columbia County water supply reservoir when he hauled up the unusual fish.
“The pictures still don’t do it justice,” Sisson said. “It was amazing, and I just feel blessed to have caught it.” Arkansas Game and Fish Commission District Fisheries Supervisor and avid crappie angler Andy Yung also was excited to hear about the catch.
“I had never seen a golden crappie in my life,” Yung said. “I’ve read about them, but it’s something you just never see in the wild.” Yung explained the gold coloration is caused by a genetic mutation called Xanthism, similar to what causes a rare animal to be an albino or the black pigmentation in some extremely rare cases of deer and other animals. Xanthic crappie not only are lottery-drawing rare, but their coloring can hinder their ability to survive. These sorts of animals usually stand out from the others and are typically eaten by predators long before they reach maturity.
Sisson said his golden catch didn’t end up in a frying pan, but has been taken to a taxidermist in Magnolia to mount.