Saugeye are a hybrid produced by interbreeding male sauger and female walleye. As would be expected of a hybrid, saugeye have some features of both parent species. The body of the saugeye is tubular and elongate and the tail fin has a white border on the lower end, like a walleye. This sleek body style allows them to burst through the water for short sprints, as well as swim long distances at moderate speeds.
Like saugers, saugeye also have the dark blotches across their sides and back, and the dorsal fin is usually spotted. Their coloration is generally yellowish- to golden-brown.
Saugeye primarily eat other species of fish, especially shad, where available. They also feed on crustaceans, such as crayfish, as well as snails, insects and insect larvae. Young saugeye will feed almost exclusively on insects and insect larvae.
Saugeye have been stocked in a number of states, most successfully throughout the Midwest. They are most commonly found in the central area of the United States running from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee west to Oklahoma and Colorado and then north to the eastern Dakotas.
Many facts regarding habitat preferences of the saugeye are still being established because of their relatively recent introduction to many of the waters where they reside. However, it is known that saugeye tend to gather close to the bottom on sand bars or near underwater drop-offs. They can thrive in partly murky water, but their introduction into some lakes has been unsuccessful because the water was too muddy.
- Because mature saugeye will eat crappie, they have been introduced to lakes with overpopulated or stunted crappie to reverse and control this trend.
- The all-tackle world record is 12 pounds, 6 ounces caught in Ohio.
- Other freshwater hybrids engineered by man include tiger muskies (pike crossed with muskellunge), wipers (white bass crossed with striped bass), and splake (brook trout crossed with lake trout).