It is a Walleye or is it a Sauger? In this post we will cover the differences between both fish and how you can tell the difference quickly between a sauger vs walleye and easily when you catch one.
What’s the difference between Sauger vs Walleye
The Sauger (Sander canadensis) and Walleye (Sander viteus) are two distinct species of fish, but they are closely related. When it comes to identifying the difference between a Sauger and a Walleye, the most important thing to remember is their size. A Sauger is typically smaller than a Walleye, and they have a more slender body. They also have a wider head and a flatter belly.
Walleyes, on the other hand, are typically larger than Saugers. They have a more rounded body and a deeper body. They also have a deeper head and a more pointed nose.
What is a Sauger
The Sauger is a freshwater fish with a long slender body. It’s color varies from bronze to olive and has dark blotches and a white belly. They are bottom-dwelling fish that eat small fishes, crustaceans, and insects.
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What is a Walleye
Walleyes are a popular fish throughout the Midwestern United States and Canada. They are a favorite fish for anglers who like to sport fish and who also like to keep their catch. They are dark green to gold in color and have long slender bodies.
Sauger vs Walleye Defining Characteristics
When you first look at these fish they look very similar. If you catch them in certain parts of the U.S. they are near identical in color, shape, and size. There are however, a few ways to tell whether you are holding on to a Walleye or a Sauger.
- Dorsal Fin
- Tail Fin
Size Differences between Sauger vs Walleye
One of the most noticeable size differences between saugers and walleyes is that saugers are typically smaller overall. On average, a sauger will be about one-third the size of a walleye. Saugers also tend to have shorter heads and broader bodies, while walleyes have longer heads and narrower bodies.
These shape differences can lead to different fishing tactics being effective for catching each fish. Saugers are typically caught by trolling or casting in open water, while walleyes are most commonly caught by trolling or casting in confined areas, such as a river or lake with a dam.
Length Sauger vs Walleye
The average length of a Sauger is around 15 inches long while the average Walleye grows to be 20 inches long. They can grow over 40 inches which makes them much larger and more desirable to catch for most sport fisherman.
Weight Sauger vs Walleye
Walleyes can average a whopping 6-15 pounds, but have been known to grow up to 20 pounds. While Sauger usually weight between 3-4 pounds.
Sauger vs Walleye Colorations
Saugers tend to be tan to brassy color with large blotches over their body. In some places they are even an olive color.
Walleyes colorations vary from golden to dark green. In some places in Canada you can still catch the Blue Walleye which has a silvery blue coloration.
Sauger vs Walleye Dorsal Fin
Both species of fish have a translucent dorsal fin, but they can be easily distinguishable from the other. Saugers tend to have circular black spots on their dorsal fins. Walleyes on the other hand only have a large dark splotch at the rear base of their dorsal fin.
Sauger vs Walleye Tail Fin
Tail fins are another way to identify what kind of fish you are holding onto. Walleyes have a white patch or transparent tip on the bottom tip of their fin. While Saugers have keep their consistent color pattern through their tail fin from their body.
Sauger vs Walleye Taste
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on personal preference. Some people may find that Sauger tastes more like a traditional fish dish, while others may find Walleye to be more flavorful. However, the main difference between Sauger and Walleye may be in their textures. While Sauger is typically a firmer fish, Walleye can be a bit more tender.
Where can you Find Sauger
Sauger can be found throughout the freshwater fisheries in North America, but it is not distributed as widely as the Walleye. While you can find them in lakes due to their migration patterns, they are normally found in rivers.
They are natively found in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, they are also found in in states like Texas and California.
Fishing Tips Sauger
You can catch Sauger using artificial lures or live bait. The easiest way is to vertically jig for saugers in deep water. Anglers tend to use heavier jigs ranging from 3/4oz to a full 1 ounce jig. A popular soft plastic is a paddle style swimbait or a minnow type profile. Some anglers will even tip their jig with some sort of live bait.
Saugers tend to sit towards the bottom of the water column so using a heavier jig will make it easy to get down to the fish and present your lure quickly.
Where can you Find Walleye
Walleye can be found in many areas of North America, including the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and St. Lawrence River. In the Great Lakes, they are found in Ontario, Michigan, and Wisconsin. You can also find them in the Mississippi River, they are found in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri. In the St. Lawrence River, they are found in upstate New York and Quebec.
They are found in more places than their close cousin the Sauger. Texas has had a stocking program for walleye for years now and stock thousands of Walleye every year in Northern Texas.
Fishing Tips Walleye
Catching Walleye is very similar to catching Sauger, but since Walleye don’t hang in the bottom of the water column you can catch them with several different techniques. Vertically jigging for Walleye is one of the most popular ways to catch them. Artificial lures or live bait work great, but the name of the game is finding them so having some kind of fish finder is ideal.
Trolling for walleye is another great way to catch them. If you don’t have a fish finder, trolling is a great way to find where the walleye are staging. Use a heavy jig or lure like a spoon or spinner and start trolling your lure slowly throughout the body of water you are fishing.
Last but not least, a slip bobber rig is another great way to fish for walleye. This is great for fishing from the bank or from the boat because it allows an angler to present a lure vertically from any distance without having to be right on top of them. There are lots of options to keep in your tackle box.
What is a Saugeye
Now, you might find yourself holding a fish that looks part Walleye and part Sauger. This my friends is a Saugeye. A Saugeye is a hybrid fish and are created by cross breeding a female walleye with a male sauger. While they can happen in the wild and it’s not uncommon to find wild saugeye, they are produced in state fish hatcheries.
Whether you’re looking to catch Walleye or Sauger for food or for fun, it’s good to know what you have at the end of your hook. We hope this guide has helped to identify difference between the Walleye and the Sauger.
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