With having so many different species of fish in the waters of Lake of the Woods, there are bound to be a few that look very similar. Two fish that are commonly mistaken for the other are walleye and sauger. They can be a bit difficult to distinguish at first glance, but we have a few pointers to help you know what’s on your hook next time you are fishing Minnesota lakes.
Markings and Colors
Though Minnesota walleye and sauger look very similar, there are a few tell-tale signs in their coloration and markings that will help you figure out what you reeled in. Walleye are almost always a solid golden color throughout their body whereas the sauger will be more of a brassy color with dark splotches across their body. Sauger will also have dark spots speckling their dorsal fins. Walleye do not have spots on their dorsal fins, but they will have solid black on the last 2 spikes of the dorsal fin. This is one of the best color indicators of a walleye. If you still aren’t sure if you have a walleye or a sauger, take a look at the tail. A walleye will have a solid white patch on the bottom fin of the tail, and a sauger will have a continuous pattern throughout the entire tail.
A Few More Helpful Hints
Coloration is one of the best and easiest ways to tell the difference between a sauger and walleye. However, another way to identify these Minnesota game fish apart is to look at their physical shape and size. One physical attribute that is typically a dead giveaway to if you have a sauger or walleye is the size. Yes, there are going to be young walleye that are smaller than usual, but sauger only grow to be about 15 inches long. Walleye tend to be nearly twice the size of sauger.
Though these two Minnesota game fish look pretty similar to each other, you can rest easy knowing that they tend to prefer very different water habitats. Walleye tend to frequent deeper, open waters. Lakes like Lake of the Woods with rocky bottoms or gravel are their favorite spot to hang out. On the flip side, sauger prefer waterways like rivers with murky waters and fast currents. You can definitely find them in lakes, but they will stick to sand and muddy based areas. As long as you are targeting areas that walleye prefer, you aren’t likely going to pull in a sauger by accident.
Minnesota Game Fish
Walleye are easily one of the most popular fish to catch when fishing Minnesota waters- especially in the walleye capital of the world. Lake of the Woods is home to an abundance of fish that will keep you coming back for more. Whether you are looking for delicious fish to bring back for water-side cookouts or in search of that monster trophy catch to add to your collection, you will find it on the waters of Lake of the Woods. River Bend Resort is also right on the Rainy River for even more fishing adventures. Discover some of the best fishing Minnesota has to offer and make your way to Lake of the Woods for a fishing adventure you will never forget.