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Identifying a saugeye from a walleye or a sauger is no easy task. Saugers are primarily big-river fish and there won't be too many walleyes and saugeyes crossing paths with it. The real problem lies in distinguishing the saugeye from a walleye. Saugeyes are the hybrid between walleyes and saugers that are commonly stocked into shallow lakes. They grow fast and within three or four years can be 15 inches long or so, and though usually produced under artificial hatchery conditions, the hybridization can occur naturally as well. They're a lot of fun to catch and taste great on the plate.
Saugeyes have markings on their sides that resemble saddles, similar to the sauger, but may have some white pigment on the lower part of their tail in combination with dark bars on the dorsal fin membranes. Walleye don't have the saddle markings on their sides, have white pigment on their tails and sport solid shading on the dorsal fin membranes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|