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sauger (Sander canadensis) Photo © Lance Merry

Features and Behaviors

The sauger lives an average of seven to eight years. A typical sauger is 15 inches long and weighs two and one-half pounds. This fish may attain a maximum length of 30 inches. Its cheeks are covered with scales, and teeth are present on the jaws. Dark half-moon spots are seen on the dorsal fin. The back and sides are brown, and the sides have dark brown bars. The belly is white.

The sauger lives in rivers, lakes and impoundments. This species moves in loose groups near the bottom. It ranges over a wide area and is active at night. The sauger reaches maturity at an age of three to four years. This fish moves to tributary streams to spawn. Spawning occurs at night in April and May. The female deposits 32,000 to 83,000 eggs that are scattered over the bottom. Eggs hatch in seven to 18 days. No parental care is given to eggs or young. The sauger eats fishes and insects.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Percidae

Illinois Status: common, native