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Long and cylindrical body, usually olive-gray. The back is crossed with 3 to 4 dark saddles, which extend down the sides. The white color of the belly extends to the tip of the tail, but the coloration does not spread out at the end of the tail and form a definite white tip as it does on Walleye. There are 2 or 3 rows of black dots on the first dorsal fin and a large black blotch at the base of the pectoral fin. There are 17 to 19 rays in the dorsal fin and 11 or 12 in the anal fin. The lateral line has 85 to 91 scales. About 15 rows of scales cover the cheeks. It does not reach the size of Walleye, seldom exceeding 2 to 4 pounds.
Mostly limited to the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and the lower reaches of their tributaries.
Adult Sauger eat mostly fish, crayfish, other crustaceans and insects. The young feed extensively on midge fly larvae and, as they become older, on immature and adult mayflies.
6 pounds, 8 ounces - Missouri River, Woodbury County, October1976 - Mrs. W. Buser, Sloan, Iowa
Most sauger are caught near the bottom below a dam. Look for large instream structures that divert flow and you will find fish.
The Sauger is not picky in its choice of clear waters and is often found in muddy rivers. It prefers larger rivers and spends much of its life there except during the spawning season, when it ascends tributary streams or enters backwaters in search of suitable spawning habitat.
Spawning takes place in April through early May. Their spawning habits are very similar to those of Walleye. Eggs are deposited at random, fertilized and left unattended. Incubation is completed in 12 to 18 days depending on water temperature. Young Sauger reach about 2- to 4-inches long the first year and mature in their third or fourth year of life. It is a slower growing fish than Walleye. Most fish taken by anglers are less than 15-inches long.
Recent stream sampling information is available from Iowa DNR's biological monitoring and assessment program.