PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, Va. (WSET) — It's a once-in-a-lifetime catch for one Virginia angler.
While fishing at the Sandy River Reservoir outside Farmville, Corinda Clark caught a leucistic channel catfish.
Often confused with albinism, leucism is a genetic mutation resulting in a partial loss of pigmentation, causing Clark's fish to be a pale yellow color instead of a typical gray/brown color.
Dept. of Wildlife Resources aquatic biologist Hunter Hatcher says that this fish is likely one that they stocked into the reservoir.
“When they’re raised in an aquaculture environment, leucistic fish actually have a better survival than they would naturally,” Hatcher said. “We stock them at about 8 inches in size, so these fish grow out to about 8 inches in size without danger of predation by other species. A juvenile fish in the wild with that color wouldn’t have good odds of surviving to the eight-inch size.”
Although the mutation is a recessive gene, Hatcher notes that leucistic fish are not uncommon when they are hatchery-raised.
The 740-acre reservoir boasts one of the best sportfish opportunities in Central Virginia. Some species that can be found at the lake include largemouth bass, black crappie, redear sunfish, bluegill and chain pickerel.
For more information about boat requirements and fishing regulations, you can visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website.