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Sauger

Here is a good joke for you: When is a walleye not really a walleye?-When it's a SAUGER!! OK, maybe it's not a very good joke, but have you ever heard of a fish called a sauger? Not too many people have, so you're not alone. Sometimes people have trouble identifying a sauger from a walleye.

Sauger are a type of fish that are closely related to perch and walleyes. They have a long body, with a sharp, spiny fin on their back. This fin is called the dorsal (door-sal) fin. If you look carefully at the dorsal fin of a sauger you will see that it has rows of darkly colored spots in it. This is a good way to tell a sauger from it's cousin the walleye. Sauger are usually darkly colored, and have a blotchy pattern on their skin.

The sauger is a NATIVE fish of Montana. That means it was a fish that was here when the earliest people arrived in the state.

Sauger are fish that prefer to live in moving water. They are found in places like the missouri and yellowstone rivers, and in some lakes and reservoirs east of the continental divide. They seem to prefer turbid (terr-bid). This is water that is kind of cloudy or silty. If you have ever looked at the water in the lower Yellowstone or Missouri river, you would know that sauger like to live there because it is very turbid!!

Sauger like to eat other smaller fish. That makes them popular fish with anglers, or people who like to catch fish. They catch sauger on live bait, and sometimes on lures like jigs, and plugs, which are small lures that look like little fish. The state record sauger weighed over eight pounds, and was caught in Fort Peck Reservoir in 1994. If you have a map, see if you can find Fort Peck Reservoir. It is in the north east part of the state. It's a really good place to go sauger fishing.