An Arkansas angler reeled in an extraordinarily uncommon fish.
Josh Rogers landed a gold-colored largemouth bass from a swim jig at Beaver Lake in the Ozark Highlands last week.
He quickly identified the species of the fish, but the color made him wonder. Turns out, he’d hit jackpot.
“Josh needs to buy a lottery ticket because he caught one fish in a million,” Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologist Jon Stein told the Arkansas Wildlife Magazine, the AGFC’s official magazine.
Stein said the unique color of Rogers’ fish is due to a natural but rare genetic anomaly known as xanthochroism.
Xanthochroism, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a “genetic variation in various vertebrates characterized by local or general absence of black and brown pigment with normal development of the red and golden pigments (as of skin or feathers) resulting in a yellow to reddish coloration.”
Rogers said he ended up returning the fish to the lake.
“I didn’t think anything about it for an hour and a half of fishing,” he told Arkansas Wildlife Magazine. “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.”
The angler now plans to get a replica of his catch made.