The Secrets Of Walleye Fishing In West Virginia
Guide To Fishing For Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye
West Virginia offers excellent walleye fishing opportunities, with its lakes and rivers providing ample habitat for these sought-after game fish. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about walleye, saugeye and sauger fishing and identify popular walleye waters in the state. Anglers targeting walleye in West Virginia often encounter two related species: sauger and saugeye.
Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.
Sauger are native to the Ohio River system and are a popular target among walleye anglers. These fish closely resemble walleye, with their distinct white spots and elongated bodies. Sauger can be found in the Ohio River and its major tributaries, such as the Kanawha River and the Guyandotte River. They prefer deeper, slower-moving water and are known for their aggressive strikes. Anglers typically target sauger using jigs, live bait, or trolling with crankbaits.
Saugeye, on the other hand, are a hybrid species resulting from the crossbreeding of walleye and sauger. Saugeye exhibit traits of both parent species and are known for their hard-fighting nature and excellent table fare. They can be found in several lakes and reservoirs across West Virginia, including Burnsville Lake, Sutton Lake, and Stonecoal Lake. Saugeye are often targeted using similar techniques as walleye, such as casting or trolling with crankbaits, jigs, or live bait.
West Virginia's lakes and rivers provide prime walleye fishing opportunities. The Ohio River system, including the main stem and its tributaries, is known for its walleye and sauger populations. Additionally, the state's reservoirs and lakes offer excellent walleye fishing, particularly for saugeye. These waters provide a variety of fishing methods and techniques, allowing anglers to find success using their preferred style, whether it's jigging, trolling, or casting.
The state of West Virginia boasts impressive walleye and saugeye records, showcasing the trophy potential of its fisheries. The state record for walleye stands at 16 pounds, 5 ounces, caught in the Kanawha River in 2007. The saugeye record is a remarkable 16 pounds, 6.5 ounces, caught in Sutton Lake in 1997. These records highlight the potential for anglers to land trophy-sized walleye and saugeye in West Virginia's waters.
Anglers targeting walleye, sauger, and saugeye in West Virginia should be familiar with the fishing regulations specific to each waterbody. It's essential to adhere to size and creel limits, as well as any special regulations in place to protect the fishery. Obtaining a valid fishing license is also a requirement for walleye fishing in West Virginia.
Whether you're casting a line in the Ohio River or exploring the state's scenic lakes, West Virginia provides exciting opportunities for walleye, sauger, and saugeye fishing. With their thrilling fights and excellent table fare, these species draw anglers from near and far, making West Virginia a top destination for walleye enthusiasts.
Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Lakes
You might be surprises at the walleye fishing opportunities in West Virginia. Many of the rivers in the state, especially those that flow into and out of lakes with walleye, are an excellent place to fish for them. The major lakes with walleye populations include Beech Fork Lake, Burnsville Lake, Cheat Lake, East Lynn Lake, Jennings Randolph Lake, Moncove Lake, Mount Storm Lake, Stonewall Jackson Lake, Summersville Lake and Tygart Lake.
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 18.97 lbs
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 5.06 lbs
World record: 15 lbs 6 oz
State Record: 8.73 lbs
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top lures for walleye in West Virginia
Jigs work well in virtually any depth water. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. As they move deeper, ice jigs and spoons are ideal for active walleye. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes can enhance your chances of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.
West Virginia State Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Records
The state record walleye was caught out of the Elk River.
The state record sauger came from the Ohio River.
The state record saugeye was taken out of East Lynn Lake.
Fishing For Walleye
This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.
Fishing For Sauger
Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.
Fishing For Saugeye
This hybrid is 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.
Walleye prefer moderately deep lakes with gravel, rock or sandy bottoms. It is found primarily in cold water lakes but has proven to survive in warmer impoundments. It is prized for its great tasting filets. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.
West Virginia walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.
Learn the migration patterns of walleye
Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.