Guide To The Secrets Of Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Fishing In North Dakota
Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye
North Dakota is renowned for its fantastic walleye fishing, offering anglers opportunities to catch these prized fish in both lakes and rivers. Alongside walleye, anglers may also encounter sauger and saugeye while targeting these popular game fish.
Walleye are highly sought after for their delicious flesh and challenging fight. They inhabit a variety of waters in North Dakota, including lakes, reservoirs, and river systems. Anglers often target them during the open-water season using techniques such as jigging, trolling, or casting with live bait or artificial lures. Some of the popular walleye fisheries in North Dakota include Devils Lake, Lake Sakakawea, and the Missouri River.
Sauger, a close relative of the walleye, shares many similarities in appearance and behavior. These fish are often found in rivers and some larger lakes in North Dakota. Anglers targeting sauger typically use similar techniques and baits as those used for walleye fishing.
Saugeye, on the other hand, are a hybrid species resulting from the crossbreeding of walleye and sauger. They possess some of the desirable characteristics of both parent species. Saugeye are stocked in select waters in North Dakota to provide additional angling opportunities for anglers seeking a mix of walleye and sauger traits.
North Dakota boasts several lakes and rivers known for their excellent walleye fishing. Devils Lake, Lake Sakakawea, and the Missouri River are popular destinations, offering not only abundant walleye populations but also picturesque surroundings.
When it comes to state records, North Dakota has seen some impressive walleye catches over the years. The current state record reflects the potential for trophy-sized fish to be caught by dedicated anglers. However, it's important to note that catching a record-breaking walleye requires a combination of skill, knowledge, and a bit of luck.
Anglers interested in pursuing walleye, sauger, or saugeye in North Dakota should familiarize themselves with the fishing regulations and seasons specific to the waters they plan to fish. This ensures adherence to size and bag limits and helps preserve the fishery for future generations of anglers.
Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Fishing Lakes in ND
Fishermen in ND are quite fortunate to have excellent walleye throughout the state. Major lakes including Arrowwood Lake, Bowman-Haley Lake, Buffalo Lodge Lake, Devils Lake, Dry Lake, Jamestown Reservoir, Lake Ashtabula, Lake Audubon, Lake Darling, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Oahe, Lake Sakakawea, Lake Tschida, Pipestem Lake, Stump Lake and the Missouri River all have healthy populations of walleye. Ice fishing for walleye is popular on many of these waters in winter. Many rivers flowing into or out of these lakes may also have walleye.
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 15 lbs 13 oz
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 8 lbs 12 oz
World record: 15 lbs 6 oz
State Record: 12 lbs 0 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top lures for walleye in North Dakota
Jigs with a variety of trailers and bait work well in virtually any depth water. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. Jigs and ice jigs are very productive when ice fishing. As they move deeper, spoons are ideal for active walleye. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes improves your odds of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.
North Dakota State Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Records
The state record walleye was caught out of the Missouri River.
The state record sauger came from Lake Sakakawea.
The state record saugeye was taken out of the Yellowstone River.
Fishing For Walleye
This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.
Walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Fishing For Sauger
Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.
Fishing For Saugeye
This hybrid is created by mating sauger with walleye. The walleye influence allows the hybrids to grow larger than sauger, often to sizes equaling walleye. Saugeye tend to survive best in turbid/silty water and are caught in the same general areas and habitat populated by walleye and sauger.
Walleye prefer moderately deep lakes with gravel, rock or sandy bottoms. It is found primarily in cold water lakes but has proven to survive in warmer impoundments. It is prized for its great tasting filets. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.
North Dakota walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.
Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.
Learn the migration patterns of walleye
Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.