Angler Catches a Rare Golden Crappie

Grizzled old miners used to rant about where to find gold in western mountains, but a Missouri women recenty discovered a one-in-a-million golden-hued crappie in her private farm pond.
Holly Haddan's gold crappie
Holly Haddan’s once-in-a-lifetime catch. Courtesy Holly Haddan

Holly Haddan had just moved to Springfield, Missouri, and the property had a two-acre pond. She’d not fished the spot until the evening of Oct. 3, when she tossed out a baited hook dangling below a bobber to learn if there were fish in her little fishing hole.

“I really didn’t know much about this pond,” Haddan told the Kansas City Star. “We were just fishing it to kind of see what was in it. I wasn’t even paying attention. I was talking to my brother and he said, ‘Hey sis, your bobber’s gone.’”

Haddan set the hook and started reeling. Soon a yellow-hued fish showed that she thought was perch. But she noted the catch looked more like a crappie.

Missouri’s Department of Conservation reported on Facebook that while most crappies are colored black-and-white, Haddan’s unique fish is gold because of a genetic condition called xanthochromism, which causes fish to have a high amount of yellow pigment.

“I was very surprised,” says Haddan. “It shines like gold when the sun hits it just right.”

The fish was 13-inches long, weighing almost two pounds, about the size of a dinner plate, says Haddan.

She released the one-in-a-million crappie into a pond and intends to fish her new family fishing spot again soon.

In recent months there have been an unusually large number of gold-colored fish caused by xanthochromism caught from freshwaters around the U.S.

In May 2021 angler Josh Rogers caught-photographed-and-released a 2-pound gold-hue largemouth bass from Beaver Lake. State biologists confirmed the bass was a one-in-a-million catch, with the rare but natural genetic condition xanthochromism.

On Dec. 30, 2021 ice fisherman Terry Nelson caught a golden xanthochromism sunfish from Lindstrom Lake in Minnesota’s Chisago County.

Remarkably, ice angler Rick Konakowitz also caught a similarly colored golden crappie on Clear Lake, Minnesota in February, 2022. Clear Lake is located northwest of Minneapolis near St. Cloud.

Josh Chrenko of Indianapolis is a hard-core smallmouth bass angler and had traveled to Michican’s Muskegon River in July, 2022 where he caught a 1.5-pound golden smallmouth having xanthochromism that looked more like an oversize goldfish or koi fish (Amur carp).