Rare orange smallmouth bass caught on Muskegon River

A Michigan man recently caught an “extremely rare” fish on the Muskegon River.

It was Saturday, Aug. 25 when Paul Gillis caught the unique specimen during a fishing trip with his brother and daughter.

“We were catching a ton of smallmouth, walleye, trout and suckers,” he said. “We decided to hit a hole we were fishing earlier. As I was about to set anchor my brother David said ‘Hey Paul, what is that? Is that a fish?’ I said that’s a fish and grabbed my pole, thinking someone let a goldfish free in the river.”

But this was no goldfish, but rather a rarely-seen, orange-colored smallmouth bass. Kevin Wehrly, Ph.D, fisheries wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources identified the fish on Wednesday, Aug. 29.

According to Wehrly, the fish is exhibiting a genetic condition known as Xanthism in which yellow pigments are expressed more than usual.

Xanthism is known to naturally occur in several fish families as well as in birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals although it is more common in the pet trade where they are selectively bred and highly sought after.

LINK (via: Michigan Live)

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