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Saugeye fish identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.

As would be expected of a hybrid, saugeye have some features of both parent species. The body of the saugeye is tubular and elongate and the tail fin has a white border on the lower end, like a walleye. This sleek body style allows them to burst through the water for short sprints, as well as swim long distances at moderate speeds. The saugeye is a hybrid created by crossing a female walleye with a male sauger. Saugeye are easy to visually identify most of the time. They have a brown background with darker saddle-shaped markings like a sauger, and a white tip on the lower margin of the tail fin like a walleye. Saugeye have a black blotch in the last membrane of the spinous dorsal fin; sauger do not. Saugeye have a continuous black blotch on the membranes of the spinous dorsal fin, while sauger have rows of distinct black dots. Saugeye eat fish, almost exclusively, from the time they are stocked.

Saugeye Fishing Saugeye are a hybrid produced by interbreeding male Sauger and female Walleye. Saugeye have been stocked in a number of states, most successfully throughout the Midwest. They are most commonly found in the central area of the United States running from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee west to Oklahoma and Colorado and then north to the eastern Dakotas.

    Like saugers, saugeye also have the dark blotches across their sides and back, and the dorsal fin is usually spotted. Their coloration is generally yellowish- to golden-brown. Saugeye are intermediate in appearance between their two parent species, the sauger and walleye. The best character to look at for identifying this hybrid is the dark bars or oblong vertical spots between the spines of the first dorsal fin. The membrane of this fin in the unmarked areas is often a dusky color and not as clear as that of a sauger. A large dusky spot at the rear base of the first dorsal fin is usually visible on a saugeye but not as clearly defined as it is on a walleye.
    Saugeye have dark laterally oblong blotches on their sides but they tend to be smaller than those of a sauger. Saugeye also have white tips on the lower part of the tail and anal fins. These are more defined than the very thin light colored margin of a sauger but less defined than the large white tips found on a walleye. The over all body color of a saugeye is also intermediate between the gray to silver color of a walleye and the bronze or brown color of a sauger. Saugeye are a cross of the walleye and sauger. The dark bars on the dorsal fin are the best identifying characteristic for this fish. Sharp canine teeth, dark blotches on the sides, and a white tip on the lower tail also help identify the saugeye.

    Saugeye tend to congregate near the bottom on sand bars or near ledges and drop-offs. Many facts regarding habitat preferences of the saugeye are still being established because of their relatively recent introduction to many of the waters where they reside. However, it is known that saugeye tend to gather close to the bottom on sand bars or near underwater drop-offs. They can thrive in partly murky water, but their introduction into some lakes has been unsuccessful because the water was too muddy.
    Saugeye are highly adaptable to most lake and river environments and are tolerant of turbid (muddy) waters. They are stocked in many reservoirs in Ohio but often go through or over dams making it possible to catch them in the tail waters of those reservoirs. Also, they occasionally can be caught well down stream of reservoirs they were stocked into. Saugeye generally are easier to rear than walleye, and as mentioned earlier, survive and grow better in reservoir systems.
    Saugeye primarily eat other species of fish, especially shad, where available. They also feed on crustaceans, such as crayfish, as well as snails, insects and insect larvae. Young saugeye will feed almost exclusively on insects and insect larvae.

    Saugeye are produced within our state fish hatcheries. Female walleye are crossed with male sauger resulting in a hybrid known as saugeye. Although not sterile, saugeye must be stocked routinely in order to maintain fishable populations. Hybrid species are almost always sterile, this being so, saugeye are bred in fish hatcheries and stocked on a regular basis to maintain populations of the fish. However, saugeye do on occasion breed with sauger or walleye, a fact that concerns many state fish and game officials because it can compromise the genetic integrity of the sauger or walleye stock.
    Saugeye are created by crossing walleye eggs with sperm from a sauger. The result is a fast growing fish that has excellent survival abilities. This also makes it ideal for stocking into Ohio reservoirs. Occasionally this hybrid naturally occurs where both parent species are found but it is rare. A small percentage of saugeye can reproduce and will do so with one another or either parent species if they are present in the same water body. Walleye, sauger and saugeye scatter their eggs over a hard bottom and provide no parental care for the young.

    Saugeye make first class tablefare. They are being stocked particularly in lakes with stunted crappie because once they reach 16 inches, they begin to feed on these fish, thus improving the crappie fishery.
    Saugeye possess the good eating qualities (meat is soft and sweet) and moderate fighting abilities of walleye but can be easier to catch. In general, winter fishing is better than summer since saugeye are much more concentrated in winters while scattered in summers.
    Saugeye generally relate to the bottom of lakes or rivers and are often found near deep underwater structure. A good strategy to find these deepwater fish is trolling with deep-diving crankbaits. Once a group of saugeye is found, many anglers then switch to jigs or jig and minnow combinations, vertically jigging in that area.
    At times, saugeye will often feed on abundant baitfish located near the shoreline, which enables them to be caught by shore casting. Casting a jig or spoon in these areas where the saugeye are feeding can produce success.
    Saugeye are light sensitive, so the best fishing is usually in the early morning and after the suns sets, as well as during overcast days. They tend to congregate around underwater structures and are generally found at greater depths than walleye. Saugeye have a habit of scattering during the summer, which can make it more difficult to catch them during this time. However, they are among the most cooperative species for winter fishing because they remain active in cold water.
    Jigging and trolling are two popular methods of catching saugeye. Medium-sized crankbaits and live bait rigs are reliable when trolling. When jigging, leadhead jigs with hair, feather or plastic bodies are effective, especially when tipped with live bait. Traditional live minnows and nightcrawlers are the most productive live baits, whether fished on a live bait rig or tipped on a jig.
    Many saugeye are caught in tailwater areas downstream from the impoundments where they have been stocked. Crankbaits, lead headed jigs with hair, feathers, or plastic tails are good artificial lures. Live minnows and nightcrawlers are also productive. Winter is an excellent time to catch Saugeye.

Great rods for Saugeye fishing are:
18ft Telescopic Spinning Rod, 15ft Telescopic Spinning Carbon Rod, 12ft Telescopic Spinning Light Rod, 28ft Telescopic Carbon Pole, 23ft Fishing Pole Whip

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