How to tell the difference between Walleye and Sauger

What Are The Differences Between A Walleye And Sauger

There are very few differences between the Walleye and Sauger and the easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at their Dorsal and Caudal (tail) Fins.

The Walleye & The Sauger

Both these species of fish have a lot in common and are very good to eat. The Walleye and Sauger are; similar in color, have a long and roundish body, have a forked tail, are sensitive to bright light, and have a very good low-light vision. Thus giving them a big advantage on their favorite prey the perch.

How To Tell A Walleye & Sauger Apart

The best way in telling these fish apart is by spreading the Dorsal fin out and looking for the rolls of black spots between each spine. Then take a look at the tail to see if there is a white spot in the outer lower corner or a white line running along the entire bottom. click on the picture below to enlarge.

1W. The Walleye has a white corner on the lower part of the tail.
1S. The Sauger has a white line running along the lower part of the tail.

2W. Walleyes are golden in color with a white belly and dark back.
2S. Sauger are golden with black blotches in color with a white belly and dark back.

3W. Walleyes do NOT have black spots on their Dorsal or Adipose Fins.
3S. Sauger HAVE black spots layered between the spines of their Dorsal & Adipose Fins.

4W. The Walleye is a larger fish and will grow up to 20 pounds.
4S. The Sauger is a smaller fish and will grow up to 5 pounds.

Where You Can Find Sauger

The Sauger’s distribution is much more limited then the Walleyes. In Minnesota you will find Sauger in; Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, Lake Kabetogama, Lake St. Croix, and the Minnesota & Mississippi Rivers. In Wisconsin you will find Sauger in the Chippewa & Mississippi Rivers, and in Lake Eire, where the Ohio DNR have been working hard to bring back the Sauger population.