Saugers are carnivorous freshwater fish with a very distinct look, but they’re often confused with the Walleye. Let’s get into what makes this fish stand out and how to track down a Sauger, according to their preferences.
What is A Sauger
The Sauger (Sander canadensis) is a perch-like fish under the genus Sander. This genus is shared by the Walleye, but these are two very different fish. Both are carnivorous and share a few similarities, but the Sauger has quite a few different preferences when it comes to habitat and prey motivation.
What Type of Fish is a Sauger
Saugers are carnivorous and live in freshwater sources. They have the classic elongated bodies of perch and two rayed dorsal fins. Saugers are also known as river pike, spotfin pike, and sand pike.
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This fish prefers large rivers with deep pools, generally two feet or deeper. Because these fish migrate, they can appear in a variety of habitats but are most easily found in rivers. Look for areas with cloudy water and sandy or silty bottoms. Saugers will avoid riffles and fast-running water sources.
Where Can I Find Sauger Fish??
States where Sauger are most common include Mississippi and Missouri. They take advantage of the water sources there and can be found in the Great Lakes in particular. But because this is a migratory species, the distribution of the Sauger is incredibly wide–they can be found anywhere from the eastern seaboard to Wyoming and Oklahoma in the west. They also range into southern Canada.
What Do Sauger Eat?
Like their cousin the Walleye, Saugers love small fish and invertebrates. They’ll dine on channel catfish and drum at full maturity. Growing Saugers seek out insect larvae and catfish fry, moving on quickly to larger fish. Their diet changes with the seasons; in autumn, this species’ diet consists of 99% fish.
How to Catch a Sauger Fish?
Saugers have poor vision due to light sensitivity and their love of murky water. Therefore, you may need to try a few different methods to catch their attention.
Jigging, trolling and slip floats are all great ways to lure in a Sauger. All three methods get the bait right to the bottom of the water column where Saugers tuck into the silt and sand. Jigging and trolling will give some much-needed movement to your bait whereas slip floats allow you to cast out into the deeper reaches of the rivers you’ll be fishing, while still hitting that bottom water column.
Best Sauger fishing Lures?
Mule Fishing Mule Minnow
When it comes to catching Saugers, the Mule Minnow is a great accompaniment to your tackle box. These lures are small but mighty. We suggest the 2.2 and 3.2, both perfectly sized for juvenile to adult Saugers who hunt other fish. The Minnow’s design not only mimics that of actual prey fish, but is made of durable and flexible material.
Z-Man Diezel Minnowz
Z-Man’s Diezel Minnowz are a versatile addition to your lure kit, great for a variety of species. Having them on hand allows you to play to the prey drive of many freshwater fish. If you’re looking for that trophy Sauger, Minnowz come in larger sizes (4-7 inches) and a stunning array of eye-catching colors.
Rapala Husky Jerk
The Husky Jerk from Rapala is a hard-body lure that perfectly simulates small freshwater baitfish. The design of the body allows for quick, realistic action and the paint job options range from realistic to a pop of color. Husky Jerks run straight in the water and are perfectly weighted for casting and trolling. The addition of a rattle chamber amplifies sound waves in the water and will draw the attention of any hungry fish in the area.
What kind of Gear Do You Need for Sauger Fishing?
Despite being smaller than their Walleye cousin, Saugers still put up a fun fight when they get on your line. These fish are aggressive and therefore, you need the gear to handle their attitude. A sturdy rod and line are the most important–weakness on either end will result in the line snapping or an inability to maneuver the fish to shore (or boat).
Due to the Sauger’s habitat and tendency to stick to the bottom water column, make sure you have a few different types of tackle on hand to see what they’re interested in that day. A variety of lures as well as jig setups will go a long way in landing you a Sauger.
What is a Good Sauger Fishing Rod?
Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Walleye Medium-Light Fast Action Spinning Rods
Temple Fork Outfitters’ (TFO) Walleye Lightweight rod can be shared across species, and is a great option for Sauger fishing! The lightweight construction of this rod makes it easy to carry and feel that extra punch of action, but it’s made to be sturdy and handle hits from aggressive fish. You’ll have no problem tiring out a Sauger with this rod. The split graphite reel seats are just another component of the design made to play toward sensitivity, and cork grips keep you comfortable for longer trips.
What is a Good Sauger Fishing Reel?
Lews American Hero Spinning Reel
The American Hero is a spinning reel that’s ambidextrous and lightweight thanks to a graphite body. The spool is made of aluminum and well-balanced. Anglers love how smooth this reel is and how easily it casts.
What is the Best Fishing Line for Sauger?
Berkley Trilene XT 10 lb Monofilament Fishing Line
Berkley’s 10lb Trilene line holds up great against Saugers of any size. As a monofilament, it’ll knot when needed but cast smoothly. With the variety of Sauger out there this line is perfect for pulling in the big one or sensing light action on the other end.
When do Sauger Spawn
The spawning season for this species is March-May, depending on where the population is located and the warmth of the waters. Saugers will travel up to 350 miles to reach their spawning grounds. Females deposit eggs in rocky substrate.
How Big Do Sauger Get?
On average adult Saugers reach 12-13 inches in length, but can grow much larger.
How Fast Does a Sauger Grow?
It’s hard to determine the average growth of a Sauger as juveniles are greatly affected by dams and diversion canals, where they’re unable to get out and migrate. Instead of looking at a timeline, experts consider Saugers full grown when they reach 8-12 inches in length.
What is the World Record Sauger Fish?
The largest Sauger ever caught weighed in at 8lbs 12oz. This fish was caught in North Dakota by Mike Fischer on October 6, 1971.
What is a Trophy Sauger?
While Sauger aren’t often caught as “trophy” fish, any Sauger over 24 inches in length is considered a “saugzilla,” as some anglers joke. In terms of weight, 5lbs is an impressive size for this species.
What Color is a Sauger?
Sauger coloring is unique and easily differentiates them from the Walleye. Saugers are brassy in color with some olive and dark color blotches as well. Their bellies are white and they have two dorsal fins; the first is spined, the other soft-rayed. Interestingly, the scales of the Sauger are very rough and teeth-like, called ctenoid.
What is the Lifespan of a Sauger
Unfortunately, due to damming and diversion canals, the lifespan of Saugers can be negatively affected by how man-made their habitat is. Saugers live an average of 7 years and reach maturity anywhere from 2-5 years of age. In the southern part of the US, the lifespan is shorter.
Are Sauger Fish Good to Eat?
These fish are considered some of the best-tasting freshwater fish. They have firm, white meat that has a sweetness to it. Their cousin the Walleye is similar in taste, but doesn’t quite measure up.
Is Sauger the same as a Walleye?
Saugers and Walleye belong to the same genus, but are two different species. Key differences in appearance are that Saugers are smaller, with slender bodies and wider heads. Both fish love hanging out at the bottom of the water column, however Walleyes have a broader range when it comes to habitat. Compared to a Walleye, Saugers have more rounded noses. A similar looking fish is the Saugeye, a hybrid species of walleye mixed with saugers.
If the Sauger has caught your eye and you’re looking to try your hand at catching this interesting fish, we hope you found some helpful tips. Remember to know your fish–while Walleye and Sauger are similar, they have very different preferences in terms of habitat.
Sauger vs Walleye
Fishing for fun or fishing for food, it's good to know the difference between a sauger vs walleye. This post will break it down for you.
What Is A Saugeye – The Truth About This Hybrid Fish
The Saugeye is a hybrid fish that takes characteristics from both its parent fish: the Walleye and the Sauger. Learn about them in this post!