Fish Tale: Unusual "golden" fish catches eye of DNR

Fish pulled from Fox River Friday morning

NBC26 - NEENAH, WI -- A golden fish, pulled from the Fox River this morning, is causing waves in Wisconsin and on social media.

But what it is exactly is up in the air tonight. 
 
Neenah native Steven Volkman says he's an avid crappie fisherman along the Fox River, which is what he was after this morning. But what he reeled in is likely a once-in-a-lifetime catch.
 
The crappie run is heating up in the Fox River.
 
"They're getting ready to spawn," says Volkman. "The weather has been up and down, so they're not quite ready, but we're getting a few."
 
On the docks near the Neenah Public Library, competition can be fierce.
 
"Too many for me," adds Volkman, referring to the fishermen that can swarm the area during the spring spawn.
 
Whether it was luck, or just the right colored jig, Volkman says--around 11 Friday morning--the bite picked up. 
 
That's when he says he sunk his hook into something that surprised him.
 
"Yeah, it hit like any other crappie, says Volkman, "right before the clouds rolled in, I caught the 'magical crappie.'"
 
...or, at least, that's what he and others are calling it right now. 
 
"People were like, 'what is that thing?' It was so brilliant orange," says Volkman, holding it, "same color as a goldfish."
 
Volkman says biologists with the DNR in Oshkosh couldn't I.D. it on site.
 
"They were startled like I was," laughs Volkman, "you know?"
 
"I'm very proud of him," adds Volkman's daughter, Gina, who took to social media moments after it had been reeled in.
 
"[I was] asking everybody, sharing it on Facebook," says Gina, "'does anybody know what kind of fish this is?'"
 
So far, a popular theory is that it's a "golden crappie," or a black crappie with a rare skin pigment mutation.
 
They're answers to come with the lab results from Volkman's scale samples, now in Milwaukee. 
 
Until then, Volkman says he'll be back here, "almost every day," he adds, waiting for the next golden fish tale. 
 
Right now, Volkman says there is no official timeline as to when the lab results will be in. But he's hoping it's within may, at least.
 
Volkman says he plans on having the fish mounted at his home. 

 

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