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Parts of a Fish
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The sauger is a freshwater fish. The walleye
and the sauger are close relatives. Saugers though are usually
smaller and they tolerate rough water better than the walleye.
They are distinguished from the walleye in appearance by their
spotted dorsal fin, by no white spot on the caudal fin, by their
rough skin over their gill and by their darker more brassy
The average sauger caught by an angler is 1 pound with the world
record being 8.1 pounds.
Saugers can be found in rivers whereas walleyes are found more
in lakes and reservoirs. The sauger is considered a delicious
food. Its highly praised in its taste.
Even though saugers and walleyes are similar, the dark blotches
on the sauger will really separate the two.
Saugers have very light sensitive eyes. Because of this they
prefer a deep and murky environment. They avoid shallow, clear
water. The only exception to this is during low light periods.
The sauger has a tubular shaped body which enables them to stay
and hold tight to the bottom in fast water as opposed to the
walleye who has a pear shaped body. Sauger’s and walleyes are
often found together but the sauger will usually be in deeper
water in a swift current. Walleyes are in shallower water with
breaks to it. In rivers, sometimes the opposite is true. The
sauger may be found in shallower water than the walleye. Clearly
some overlap occurs.
In river environments that are big, during the late fall and
winter, large amounts of sauger can be found in the first few
miles that are below big power dams. This provides anglers with
a terrific open water place to fish for them. And this is where
they tend to stay throughout the winter. In this location, the
sauger will actually go to depths of 50 feet where there is a
comfortable current for them.
Besides this spot in the river, lots of the fish go to shallower
places that are downriver from the dam. In this place there are
current breaks in the main channel. They usually go around
objects in the water such as pilings, riprap shorelines or
markers. And then they head down to deeper water.
The commonality seems to be that the sauger prefers fairly deep
water that has some current, not a roaring current, but some
current. They like to be on the bottom holding on.
Additionally, if a sauger finds a hole such as
in a channel they may remain there during spawning time rather
than moving all the way upstream to the dam. They like to spawn
near rocks, gravel and sand. If the water temperature rises up
to close to 40 degrees F, the sauger will move from the holes up
towards the edges of the holes, finding a gravel flat and then
spawning once the water reaches around 50 degrees F. They spawn
deeper than walleyes and also in a faster current.
Angler’s have a hard time catching the sauger because it likes
to go so deep. The traditional shallow cast won’t catch one of
these fish, particularly during daylight. The exception is the
anglers that cast from the shore below big power dams. They tend
to have good luck catching the saugers. This is particularly
true if it is during low light conditions when the fish moves to
shallower water. And when they move to shallower water its often
It is believed that anglers would catch more saugers from a boat
if they dangled a vertical bait or lure directly under the hull
of the boat and all the way to the bottom. Sure they will lose a
few lures but they will catch a lot more saugers too. One reason
anglers prefer to fish from shore is this, they don’t want to
lose a lot of lures coming of the ripraf, rocky bottom.
But for those that go out in a boat, bouncing a lure along the
bottom while drifting in the current will surely bring about a
sauger or two. Large lures are often used as saugers are not
intimidated by them.
In discussing the difference between the sauger and the walleye,
it must be mentioned that they also have a slight variation in
their eyes. Saugers are even more light sensitive than walleyes.
This is why saugers prefer deeper and murkier water than
walleyes. Also saugers thrive in turbid environments.
For anglers to note, in lakes and reservoirs, sauger tend to
bite much better than the walleye during the day. Because they
prefer the deeper water, the best time to catch them is in the
late morning or late afternoon because the light is how they
like it to feed during those times. Twilight is not a good time
to go sauger fishing.
The sauger is a beautiful fish to catch and a fun one to fish