Missouri Woman Who Caught Extremely Rare ‘Gold’ Fish in Backyard Pond Speaks Out

by Emily Morgan
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Photo by: DE AGOSTINI PICTURE LIBRARY / Contributor

A Missouri woman became the talk of her small town when she caught a rare gold fish while fishing in her backyard pond. According to reports, officials identified angler Holly Haddan’s unbelievable catch as a golden crappie. These species are born with a genetic condition that makes their scales a shiny, yellow color.

“I was very surprised to pull this one in,” she admitted about the once-in-a-lifetime catch she landed on October 3 while fishing at her property in Springfield.

She added: “I decided to go down there with my family. And we were all just bobber fishing with worms.” Haddan also explained that she didn’t know “much about this pond” and was “just fishing it to kind of see what was in it.”

Unbeknownst to her, she would soon hook gold. “I wasn’t even paying attention,” she admitted. “I was talking to my brother who’s just recently home from the Marines, and he said, ‘Hey sis, your bob’s gone.'”

Haddan then set the hook and reeled in her chance catch. At first, she initially thought the shiny fish was a yellow perch until she looked and saw that it had the mouth and fins of a crappie, a type of panfish.

Later, the Missouri Department Of Conservation posted photos to Facebook showing Haddan’s shiny two-pound, 13-inch catch. According to Crappie Fisher, her catch is the “rarest of the crappie species,” which is typically seen with black and white coloring.

Angler’s gold fish turns out to be ‘rarest of the crappie species’

According to experts, the golden crappie she caught suffers from xanthochromism, which is a genetic mutilation that creates bizarre yellow or orange pigmentation, “similar to how albinism causes a lack of pigment,” per the Facebook post.

The phenomenon only affects fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Regardless, Haddan was ecstatic at her lucky catch. “The picture doesn’t do it justice,” she gushed. “It shines like gold when the sun hits it just right.”

She added: “I’ve seen other people that say they’ve caught them, but I’ve never caught one myself or seen one with my own eyes.” She is currently housing the fish in her Koi pound. Haddan said she found her glittering catch quite phenomenal as she “wasn’t aiming for it; it just happened to choose my worm.”

Haddan put the fish in a koi pond after catching it and plans to later release the specimen back into the pond where she found it. “I like to eat fish, but I also don’t see the need to kill something when there’s no need for it,” she said.

However, this isn’t the first time someone has discovered an animal with an interesting pigment. For instance, in 2020, Indian villagers found a softshell turtle whose carapace was yellow.

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