Well, this is something you don't see every day.

An Indiana man named Josh Chrenko recently took a trip to Newaygo to do a bit of fishing. Specifically, he was fishing for smallmouth bass in the Muskegon River. So, imagine his surprise when, after reeling in his catch, this golden fish popped out of the water instead:

Via/ Josh Chrenko
Via/ Josh Chrenko
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Via/ Josh Chrenko
Via/ Josh Chrenko
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Now, I have to be honest...the very first thought that popped into my head was, "Did someone release a goldfish that somehow survived and mutated into this giant fish?" The answer to that incredibly ridiculous thought is, of course, no. The fish actually has Xanthochromism, as Josh pointed out in a recent Facebook post.

What is Xanthochromism?

As defined by Merriam-Webster, Xanthochromism is,

abnormal coloration of feathers (as in some parrots) in which yellow replaces the normal color

While the condition itself is rare, it's most commonly seen in birds. Take, for example, the yellow cardinal:

One news source in Florida called the spotting of a yellow cardinal "one in a million". Since it's more common in birds, it's a bit mind-boggling to think just how lucky Josh Chrenko had to be to reel in a fish with the same mutation. For reference, and for those that are unfamiliar with smallmouth bass, this is what they usually look like:

Smallmouth Bass
SteveOehlenschlager
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Did He Keep It?

No. In true sportsman-like fashion, he released it back into the water so it could continue to live its days as a one-of-a-kind fish:

Sure, some would be tempted to keep a fish like this. Perhaps, they would even mount it on their wall. But, as Josh pointed out in his Facebook post,

I can only imagine that this little guy had to overcome crazy odds to survive the first couple years of his life from predation. Being neon orange would make for a tough life as a small freshwater fish where pretty much everything is earth tones.

An animal that has survived through all of that certainly doesn't need to be turned into a wall decoration, right?


When it comes to smallmouth bass fishing, Josh Chrenko has the experience to know what he's talking about. In fact, he hosts a weekly podcast called Smallie Talk where he and fellow host, Chris Vaughn, discuss everything related to smallmouth bass fishing. That includes tips and tricks, interviews, general discussions, and anything else that might come up related to smallmouth bass.

Their latest episode covers the recent golden bass catch. You can find it and all other podcast episodes here.

Fan of fishing and need some new gear? Josh also has a fishing apparel line named Achigan which, suitably, is the French word for smallmouth bass. They offer shirts, hats, other accessories like buffs and decals, and more. See their full inventory here.

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