Do saugeye try to spawn?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by wildbiologist, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Howdy, I'm new to this forum basically because I have a saugeye spawning question that I figure experienced anglers can answer better than current literature.

    I am a wildlife biologist and understand the spawning behavior of walleye. I also understand that saugeye are a hybrid man-made fish cross between the walleye and sauger. Current literature labels the saugeye as infertile due to their hybridization. Makes sense.

    However, I suspect that the saugeye don't realize they are infertile and go through the spawning process just like walleye and sauger; moving to shallow rip-rap in the early spring.

    I don't have alot of experience fishing for saugeye, but a local lake here in Oklahoma is stocked heavily with them to help the great crappie population there.

    I regularily catch monster saugeye by accident while fishing the crappie spawn at the end of April each year. I am wondering if anybody has any knowledge/experience fishing for saugeye. Specifically, I am wondering if I could catch the saugeye up on the rip-rap areas in early March (like they catch walleye in another lake a few hours from my home) going through the spawing process.

    Thanks in advance for your time and effort in sharing.
  2. yes yes yes. You are right on. its very common here for anglers to fish stickbaits in the spring especiall in the evening or after dark targeting large females trying to spawn along rip rap areas near dams and bridges. In stained water you can catch them all day. even as shallow as 1 ft deep along the rocks. my biggest saugeye have come this way. Ive read that in controled labs as many as 30 percent of saugeye eggs do in fact hatch. use #10-12 Huskyjerks, blade baits like sonars, and jigs with twistertails. If local people haven't figured this out yet you might just be in for some amazing fishing as this is very common knowledge up here and some of the best fishing of the year. Sometimes shoulder to shoulder with everyone getting a limit.
    Seth Stephens likes this.

  3. Wildbio,

    I believe they do exhibit spawning type behaviors in terms of seasonal movement as their parent stock sauger/walleye. In mid/late winter they tend to move upsteam in rivers below impoundmants, as do both sauger and walleyes. By most info I've read, they actually do have the ability to breed within their genus with either sauger or walleye as well as with saugeyes. The relative lack of numbers of saugeyes along with either sauger or walleye in bodies of water with suitable spawning substrate and the lack of suitable spawning substrate where saugeyes are abundant may be the cause of the low fertility rates. Here's a good "oldie" from OGF.

  4. Thanks guys, good information. I will get out there and try to hammer some here in a few weeks. This lake is loaded with them as a crappie management tool that is working great. There are lots of 15 and 16 inch crappie in the lake and subsequently I have caught some 7 pound saugeye but have never tried for them early March. Oklahoma has an 18 inch limit on saugeye, so the beasts get huge.
  5. Lewis


    Man....I wish Ohio had that size limit!
  6. with the longer growing season and less saugeye fishing pressure, I wouldn't be suprised at all if Oklahoma evenually has the world record. Just give it time.
  7. snake69

    snake69 Equal opportunity fishing

    Since you have gotten the answer you were seeking, I have a question for you. How did you find OGF there in Oklahoma? Did you know someone here, you were on here before or maybe a search turned us up? Just curious. I know there are members in other states and even other countries, but I believe most were from Ohio in the beginning....
  8. Wildbio as Big Joshy was saying you have a party waiting to happen. But you do not have to wait get started on them now!! They will feed along the rip rap all winter find some area where the deeper water comes up onto a shallower flat like in a bay along dam rocks saugeyes feed all year long and usually will come up on shallower edges to feed on shad or bait around dark all the way thru the night at certain times. You find some fish now you will have twice the fun later because you now have found a feeding area. I use Husky jerk supenders and rogues with Husky jerks i throw a #14 more then any right now with 10-12 in certain areas. Work these baits so slow it hurts make long casts and then pull lure down let it set keeping line tight enough to be in contact with bait let it sit there then pull or twitch it a couple times and leave it sit again when it seems to long leave it sit somemore do this process all the way back. Many hits end up coming within last 10-15 yards out. Bite usually is like a jig bite just a light tick or weight set hook. Somenights they smash it when really feeding. Have caught a lot of saugeyes this way over years and know if you stick to it and figure out the areas bait are pushed to or stack up you will be the guy always getting some quality saugeyes all year long. :)
  9. As slim said, the only reason to wait would be if your reservoir is locked up with ice. And when that happens here in Ohio, we head below the dam and pitch round ball jigs with twister tails in the spillways. I would assume that would work in OK too. Two general rules...the best fishing comes with the worst weather. And the night time is the right time! Bundle up and get out there.
  10. Lundy

    Lundy Staff Member

    Don't we wish we had the problem with our Ohio reservoirs locked up with ice.

    If you have fish-able ice, don't wait for a second, go fish for those saugeye

    I doubt you have any real ice in OK, but I'm not sure. Anyway you don't need to wait for any spring bite to catch Saugeye, they will cooperate readily right through the winter periods.
  11. Well, I found this site by googling "spawning behavior of saugeye". OGF was the first link on the google list.

    I really appreciate your tips guys. We are a bunch of warm water species anglers in Oklahoma; flathead catfish, channel and blue cats, crappie, LMB, bluegill, and of course the Oklahoma State fish, the white bass (or sandie as we call it here).

    One thing I am sure of is that the saugeye population in Oklahoma is a relatively under utilized resource. Not alot of Oklahomans fish this introduced species. Most saugeye here are caught by accident. The lake I speak of is 3,400 acres in size, and 4 miles from my house.

    I'll get some Husky jerk suspenders and get after it. There is no ice in Oklahoma now and rarely does it get cold enough, long enough to ice over the bigger waters.

    A few years ago I caught (by accident of course) a saugeye that measured 27" in length. The thing was huge! I am still kicking myself for not getting that fish mounted. I think a saugeye on the wall would look awesome. Vicious fishes for sure.
  12. bruce


    What waters did get stoked with them in ok.
  13. practically every Oklahoma lake that the Ok Dept of Wildlife Conservation manages is stocked regularily with saugeye as a crappie management tool. The saugeye program is a "put and take" program. I suspect there is a lot more "put" than "take" going on here in Oklahoma. Some good evidence of that notion is in the current state saugeye record. The dude that holds the record moved here from up north, lol.

    The below link has his story in it. It doesn't give the year, but I believe he caught that eye last year.

    Ha,,,,,won't let me post a URL. So..........just google up the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and follow links to the saugeye record.

    Like I said in an earlier post on this thread, I am a federal wildlife biologist here in Oklahoma (born and raised here) and the saugeye is a fish species kinda out of my league, but from guys like you all, I have figured that Oklahoma is probably a great place for this fish. Crappie are very popular and abundant here and most of our lakes are pretty turbid (after all, the Indian word "Oklahoma" translates to "Red Earth"). Any crappie fisherman will tell you how much he loves the saugeye.......but only because it creates big crappie, not because he fishes for the eye.

    Long growing season, muddy lakes, lots of food, very little angling pressure. It all adds up.

    I know this probably sounds funny to you guys up there, but I really prefer fishing turbid water. Not too muddy of course (and we have a few of them), but water where my lure disappears after about a foot deep is prime to me. Fish are less spooky and tend to get in close to investigate, then pounce.

    So, if you ever plan to come down here; be prepared for thick water.
  14. bruce


    I lived in tulsa in the eighties fished all over key stone up top down below,spavanow,skytook,sooner,navigation chanel and countless others. just loved the QUAIL hunting.
  15. shroomhunter

    shroomhunter USMC 1979-1983

    And I'll add... you wont beat the taste!!!!!These saugeyes are delicious out of cold water. If you want more info on these fish and the studies conducted there are links in the Ohio DNR website that you can read. I know it was discovered years ago when they fed them that they would eat all the crappies first. There are also many threads on this site about saugeye, if you search the old threads you may find one by Corey and it is about the most informative article I've ever read on this fish! Listen to what Fishslim has to say about catching saugeye, he's one of the best on here when it comes to inland lake saugeyes. I'll just add if you can find rocky areas with light at night you should do real well...hint..boat ramps!!