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  • Scientific Name: Sander canadensis
  • Found in Illinois: Mostly occur in the Mississippi River
  • State Average: 11"
  • State Record: 5lbs/12.5oz (1967)
  • Best Lures: minnows

Angling Tips:

Similar techniques to walleye: Deep trolling near the bottom, still fishing in deep water with minnows. A medium to light weight open-face spinning rod and reel combination equipped with 8–12 pound test "high abrasion" resistant line works very well.

Habitat: Sauger prefer large rivers, and there is evidence that they are more tolerant to muddy or murky conditions than walleye. The largest sauger populations occur in the Mississippi River, but they are also found in other rivers in northern and central Illinois. More sauger than walleye are caught in the Mississippi, whereas walleye predominate elsewhere.

Feeding and Habits: Sauger diets consist mainly of minnows and other small fish, but will eat crayfish, frogs, snails, and large aquatic insects. At night, sauger tend to feed along the shoreline or on bars and shoals, while moving into deeper water to feed during the day.

Reproduction: Sauger are usually old enough to reproduce when three to four years old and 13 inches in length. Small males are the first to seek spawning areas shortly after the ice melts (March–April). One or more males accompany a female to the spawning areas where the eggs are deposited at random over a rocky or gravel bottom in water one to four feet deep. Fertilized eggs are left unattended and hatch in twelve to eighteen days.