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Fact File

Scientific Name: Sander canadensis x vitreus

Classification: Fish, Order Perciformes, Family Percidae

Size: Saugeye regularly exceed 20 inches in length in Virginia

Life Span: Saugeye live for about 12 years in Virginia waters

Identifying Characteristics

  • Distinctive streaks throughout the spiny dorsal fin
  • Body color is tannish yellow to gold, with dark blotching present throughout
  • Dark coloration at the base of the spiny dorsal fin
  • Rough scales throughout the cheek


Saugeye thrive in Virginia’s reservoirs where thermal stratification occurs. They can be found at depths that have cool water that support adequate oxygen levels. Saugeye can tolerate more turbid waters than Sauger or Walleye. Saugeye can often be found at channel drop-offs near sandy, rocky substrates.


Saugeye are highly piscivorous once they reach maturity, and will consume most fish they can fit in their mouth.


Saugeye persist in Virginia due to their value as a prized recreational species. Fishable populations are a product of Virginia DWR stocking efforts. Saugeye can be found at locations within the Appomattox , James, Potomac, Upper Dan, Upper Roanoke, and York watersheds.

Saugeye Management in Virginia

Saugeye were stocked into several established Walleye fisheries in Virginia in 2013–2015, 2019, 2021 and 2022. Saugeye outperformed Walleye in many of these locations and are now established in a number of these waters. Saugeye in Virginia are managed similar to Walleye, are treated as Walleye in the regulatory process, and are included in the state’s Walleye management plan. The following conditions will be met in order to stock and manage Saugeye in Virginia waters. Saugeye will not be stocked into drainages or waters that have naturally reproducing Walleye populations and/or waters that provide Walleye broodstock for hatchery production. This will reduce the risk of genetic pollution occurring in systems that have natural reproduction and prevent unwanted crosses of Saugeye and Walleye made at hatcheries.

The production and stocking of Saugeye into various waters within Virginia would not be made possible without the help of the West Virginia DNR and the hatchery staff at Apple Grove Fish Hatchery in Gallipolis, WV. The healthy population of Sauger in the Ohio River serves as the annual brood source for hatchery operations.

Walleye – Saugeye Management Plan

Walleye – Saugeye Production

Last updated: May 20, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.