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Guide To The Secrets Of Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Fishing In Virginia

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Walleye fishing in Virginia

Virginia provides exciting walleye fishing opportunities, with anglers targeting both native and hybrid species such as sauger and saugeye. These predatory fish are highly sought after for their aggressive strikes and delicious table fare.

Sauger, a close relative of the walleye, can be found in Virginia's rivers, including the Ohio River and its tributaries. These fish thrive in swift currents and are known for their preference for rocky habitats. Anglers targeting sauger often use jigs tipped with minnows or soft plastic baits to entice these elusive fish. Sauger fishing requires patience and finesse, as they can be selective in their feeding habits.

Saugeye, a hybrid between a walleye and a sauger, are also present in certain Virginia waters. These hybrids combine the best characteristics of both species, including the aggressive nature of the walleye and the adaptability of the sauger. Lakes such as Claytor Lake, Lake Anna, and Lake Moomaw are popular destinations for saugeye fishing. Anglers often employ trolling techniques or cast crankbaits and jigs to catch saugeye.

Virginia has a history of producing impressive state records for walleye, sauger, and saugeye. Anglers have landed trophy-sized fish, with walleye weighing over 15 pounds and sauger surpassing 5 pounds. These records demonstrate the potential for memorable catches and showcase the quality of walleye fishing in the state.

While walleye populations in Virginia's lakes and rivers can vary, the Clinch River, New River, and Lake Gaston are recognized as walleye fisheries. Anglers typically target walleye during low light conditions, such as dawn and dusk, as these fish are known for their preference for low-light feeding activity.

It is important for anglers to be familiar with specific regulations and size limits for walleye, sauger, and saugeye fishing in Virginia. These regulations help maintain the sustainability of the fishery and ensure the long-term viability of these prized gamefish.

Virginia's lakes, rivers, and reservoirs offer anglers a range of opportunities for walleye, sauger, and saugeye fishing. Whether pursuing native sauger in the rivers or targeting the hybrid saugeye in the lakes, anglers can enjoy the challenge and rewards of catching these elusive and highly prized fish.

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 water.

Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Waters

Claytor Lake, Flannagan Reservoir, Kerr Reservoir, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Lake Gaston, Leesville Reservoir, Occoquan Reservoir, Philpott Lake and South Holston Lake are the major lakes in Virginia with walleye. Rivers flowing into and out of these lakes are also a good place to look for walleye. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Virginia

Fishing for walleye in Virginia



World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 22 lbs 8 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 8 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: Available*

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top lures for walleye in Virginia

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. 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.

Virginia State Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Records

The state record walleye was caught out of New River.

The state record sauger came from Clinch River.

*The state record saugeye is open, 6-pound minimum to submit.

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.

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.

Dave Boyers with a very nice Virginia walleye. Virginia 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.

Walleye Resources

In-Fisherman - Walleye
U.S. Fish & Wildlife - Walleye
The National Wildlife Federation - Walleye


Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.

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