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The Art of Fishing for Sauger & Saugeye

All about sauger and saugeye fishing.

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Sauger

A member of the perch family, it is closely related to the walleye and quite similar in appearance. Sauger are found throughout the US even though their initial distribution was among the waters of central North America, including the Mississippi and Missouri River regions. It is generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddy rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. Sauger spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.

Saugeye

A saugeye is a hybrid, created by mating sauger with walleye. The walleye influence allows the hybrids to grow larger than sauger, often to sizes equaling walleye. Saugeye tend to survive best in turbid/silty water and are caught in the same general areas and habitat populated by walleye and sauger.

Fishing for sauger and saugeye

Techniques used for walleye typically work for sauger and saugeye.


Sauger

Stizostedion canadense

Sauger

As they resemble a pickerel, they are also known as gray pickerel, spotfin pike, gray pike and river pike. Ideal water temperature: 64° to 72°

World record: 17 pounds, 7 ounces

Excellent eating fish which typically runs a bit smaller than its cousin the walleye. The sauger prefers cold and cloudy, moving water. They spawn in the low to mid 40s. You can tell them from a walleye by the dark spotting on the dorsal fin, darker coloring and the rough covering of the gill area. When the water turns cold and other fish are hard to come by, this is the time to fish for sauger.Fish with jigs, spoons and crankbaits imitating crayfish or baitfish. Fish near the bottom and experiment with presentation action and speed.


Saugeye

A cross between sauger and walleye.

Saugeye

This is a fast growing fish but does not get as big as the walleye. Ideal water temperature: 65° to 75°

USA record: 15 pounds, 6 ounces

This hybrid (walleye/sauger) successfully inhabits waters where the walleye sometimes struggles. Look for them near bottom on sandy bars and particularly along drop offs and river channels. Use small crankbaits that resemble minnows, shad or small crappies. Fish is their primary food source.


Sauger & Saugeye

SPRING

Top Baits: Small crankbaits, small jigs and plastic worms.
Fish shallow to moderate depths as the walleye move into the shallows to spawn, actually spawning during the dark of night. Gravel ledges, points and submerged humps in protected areas are ideal holding areas.

SUMMER

Top Baits: Crankbaits, Jigs and plastic worms.
Fish shallow in the mornings and evenings and move deeper as the sun rises. Use lures that mimic crawfish or baitfish. Follow points and rocky or gravel structure deeper until you establish the proper depth.

FALL

Top Baits: Jigs, crankbaits and spoons.
Fish shallow to moderate depths in the mornings and evenings. As the sun rises move deeper toward outside structure and use small spoons or jigs.

WINTER

Top Baits: Jigs, spoons and plastic worms.
Try moderately shallow depths in the mornings then move deeper as the sun rises. Both species are less active in cold water, so move your bait in a slow, easy to catch manner and fish deep structure.

 

Walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing waters by state.

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