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Fall 2004 Issue

Scorpion Stinger Spoons

Lake Erie Fishing Maps

The Official
Lake Erie Walleye
Fishing Hat



Walleye Fact File

Saugeye in Ohio

Saugeye naturally occur in nature where walleye and sauger coexist, as in the Ohio River.  However, most saugeye are produced in Division of Wildlife hatcheries.  Saugeye parents are collected from Ohio waters: sauger males are collected from the Ohio River and walleye females are collected in the March from lakes such as C. J. Brown, Mosquito and Berlin.

The Division of Wildlife’s first successful saugeye production occurred in 1977 when limited numbers were raised at the Kincaid State Fish Hatchery.  In June 1978, the first introduction of saugeye occurred in Deer Creek Lake. Subsequent fish surveys at Deer Creek (pictured left) indicated favorable survival and growth.  The success of this inaugural stocking led to the expansion of the saugeye program.  Ohio’s saugeye program has focused on stocking saugeye where walleye introductions have been unsuccessful and where saugeye are more likely to provide a quality fishery.  Hatchery saugeye production recent years has been between 6 to 10 million fingerlings per year.  In 2004, 8.7 million saugeye fingerlings were stocked into 59 water areas.

Some of the better saugeye fishing in central Ohio can be found at Alum Creek, Buckeye, Hoover,  and Indian lakes.  The northwest part of the state has Paulding and Pleasant Hill Reservoir.  In northeast Ohio, Atwood, Clendening, and Tappan,  produce excellent saugeye fishing.  Piedmont Lake boasts good saugeye fishing in southeast Ohio.  If you enjoy fishing rivers, then try fishing for saugeye in the Muskingum River.  In the southwest, saugeye fishing opportunities are best at Caesar Creek and Rocky Fork lakes.  See saugeye fishing tips for all seasons.

Stockings in some Ohio onstream flood control reservoirs have also provided high densities of saugeye in tailwater areas (the stream below the dam of a water body- pictured right) which can provide great fishing opportunities from November to July after high discharges of water.  Fishermen find tailwater areas, at lakes like Paint Creek (southwest Ohio) and Deer Creek (central Ohio), attractive getaways from the traditional cabin fever ills of winter.                              

Saugeye provide excitement and are a prized sport fish to Ohio's anglers.  The current state recordsaugeye is a 12.84 pound, 28 ¾ inch long fish which was caught at Alum Creek in late January, 2002. See saugeye fishing tips by season.

 Is it a Saugeye, Walleye, or Sauger?

How can you identify a saugeye from a walleye or a sauger?  Since saugers are primarily found in the Ohio River, the identification problem most likely to occur is between the saugeye and walleye.  Saugeye look similar to both the walleye and sauger.  Saugeye have saddle-like markings on their sides, similar to the sauger, but saugeye can have some white pigment on the lower portion of their tail along with dark bars on the dorsal fin membranes.  Walleye do not have saddle-like markings on their sides, have white pigment on the tail, and have solid shading on the dorsal fin membranes.

Ohio’s saugeye management and research has been concentrating on how to make saugeye fishing consistently better for fishermen.  Currently, research investigations are being directed towards saugeye condition and prey availability during the winter, spring, summer, and fall time periods.  Biologists are also examining whether later stockings of fingerlings improve saugeye survival.  Knowledge gained from ongoing research projects will provide the Division of Wildlife with information necessary to modify management techniques in such a way as to substantially reduce mortality and thus improve saugeye stocking success.  This, in the long-run, will eventually mean more saugeyes for the angler.    

Reprinted courtesy, Ohio Division of Wildlife


Catching Saugeye in all seasons
How might I catch a saugeye?

The following is a table of basic saugeye strategies to get you started.  There are many techniques, locations, lures and baits that will work at times that may not be listed here. 





45 - 72oF

Pre-Summer Peak

72 -78oF


78 – 90 - 72oF


72 - 45oF

Jigs tipped w/ minnows, minnows below bobbers or with tip-ups, blade baits & Rat-L-Traps style lures. Jigs tipped with minnows, in late May switch to nitecrawlers on jigs or with worm harnesses, crankbaits on rip-rap & shallow bars at night Trolling crawler harnesses or “mayfly rigs” tipped with a piece of nitecrawler, trolling or casting small shad imitating crankbaits (1”- 3”) & casting jigs tipped with worms. Troll or cast larger crankbaits (3”-6”) and use crawler harnesses and jigs tipped with worms.  Small gizzard shad are plentiful-makes finding active fish difficult Casting Rat-L-Trap style lures, using crankbaits and jigs with minnows.
Below dams & on shallow bars (points & reefs) at twilight in reservoirs w/o ice or in nearby deep water during the day

Below dams (especially high “flow-through” lakes), the rip-rap on dams and causeways in lakes, large structures (bars, points, underwater roadbeds, etc.) that reach all the way to the old stream channel in a lake.

Some fish using same locations as spring, however, fish are now scattered throughout the lake using all available structure, especially if it has cover like weed beds, stump fields or downed trees.    Deep lakes are now stratified and fish are forced to  remain above the warm/coldwater interface (known as the thermo-cline) so they can obtain enough oxygen from the water.  Fish can move extremely shallow at sunset & sunrise. Try rip-rap areas and large points with a gravel silt make-up.

Other hints: 

·        Always fish tight to the bottom for saugeye, which means using a jig heavy enough for the conditions.  Use a lift-and-drop retrieve for jigs.

·        The darker or muddier the water, the shallower the fish will be.

·        It’s never too muddy for a saugeye, try black jigs and twister tails in these conditions.

·        Always check good overhead cover in shallow lakes, saugeye have even been known to hide under lily pads like bass.

·        From “ice-out” until about 55oF water, be sure to use a stop-go method when casting and retrieving crankbaits.  Saugeye like to inhale the lure on the pause.

Reprinted courtesy, Ohio Division of Wildlife