Two fish that have a nearly identical appearance in the perch family is the sauger and the walleye. Anglers in the north target these freshwater fish because of both the taste and the fight. However, most don’t know that the two fish extend into the northern portions of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. What is the difference between sauger and a walleye?

What Is The Range Of The Sauger and Walleye

Both varieties of fish inhabit the same range across the United States and Canada; therefore, anglers catch walleye and sauger in the exact locations. 


When it comes to catching sauger in the southeastern United States, the population is more limited when compared to walleye. The water temperatures must remain cool to sustain the fish’s life. As a result, sauger is found in the northern lakes of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Unfortunately, stocking efforts have failed to maintain healthy populations. 


Unlike the sauger, healthy numbers of walleye are found in the colder northern areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Due to the substantial population, anglers venture onto lakes specifically targeting walleye. 

Is Sauger The Same As Walleye

Both types of fish belong to the perch family,, but they are their own unique species. However, at first glance, it is challenging to recognize a difference.   

Sauger Identification

The coloration of a sauger is bronze when compared to the gold of a walleye. Additionally, the body and the dorsal fin are marked with dark blotches scattered about randomly. 

Fortunately, the tail is a sure giveaway of identifying sauger when compared to walleye. The tail is uniformly striped yellow and black and does not contain a small white section near the bottom.

When it comes to size, the sauger is smaller in size and ranges between 11 and 13 inches, weighing 1 to 3 pounds. 

Walleye Identification

When it comes to identifying a walleye, it would be considered a sauger on steroids. The shoulders of the fish are far more pronounced as a result of being meatier. 

The fish’s top features black bands that fade to gold from the midline down through the belly. Keep a lookout for the distinct white lower top of the tail for a guaranteed way to make a proper identification. 

Walleys are much larger, averaging over twenty inches in length and weighing between 3 and eight pounds. 

Is Sauger Good Eating

Both the sauger and the walleye are arguably the best-tasting freshwater fish. The taste and texture of a sauger is sweet, mild, tender, white, and flakes into small pieces easily.

As a result of the taste, the fillets can be prepared in many ways, including broiling, baking, pan-frying, and the most popular is deep frying. 

Are Walleye Good Eating

Walleye are great to eat. Again the same as its relative, the fillets are mild, sweet, flaky, and highly regarded by freshwater anglers. 

Both the walleye and the sauger in a blind taste test would be nearly impossible to distinguish from each other. 

What Methods Are Used To Catch Sauger And Walleye

Fortunately, you will not need to purchase gear specific to each member of the perch family. Anglers can utilize the same equipment, and for this reason, it helps save money rather than needing to buy extra rods, reels, and lures. 

What Size Rod And Reels Are Necessary

The rod and reel size is highly dependent on the style of fishing. Anglers have to option to bounce the bottom or troll lures.

When it comes to trolling, the rods must be medium weight and measure at a minimum of 7 feet. Combine the rod with a size 15 or 30 levelwind reel spooled with 12 to 14-pound line. Remember to clip the line loosely to the downrigger ball because walleye are gentle strikers. 

While trolling requires heavier gear, bottom bouncing is more about feel; therefore, lightweight equipment is needed. The best combos are light to medium weight spinning and rod combinations with 10 to 12-pound monofilament line. The key is to feel the bite and set the hook firmly. 

What Bait And Rigs Work To Catch Sauger and Walleye

When targeting walleye and sauger, remember that the fish stay low in the water column except for the evening hours when they venture to shore looking for food. 

Anglers find the most success by bouncing a weight with a worm harness on rocky bottoms and drop-offs. Alternatively, downriggers with minnow imitation lures or worm harnesses can be deployed to cover more ground. The key is to find structures where the walleye seek shelter. 

Should You Go Fishing For Sauger And Walleye in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia

 Anglers in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina should target these members in the perch family. However, it is more likely that you will catch walleye than sauger because of the more robust population. Lastly, remember to purchase a fishing license for the state in which you are fishing.