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#562660 11/24/23 01:57 AM
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Hey all, hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!
I wanted to give an update on the Saugeye(SAE) production and provide some info and explanation as to some very misunderstood ideas and concerns I'm reading about.
This is something I think anyone interested in walleye (WAE) survival and growth, Panfish population structure and catchability in general, should read and think about hard.
In recent conversations with my Ks state fish management contacts, we've discussed the differences in WAE vs SAE and how they have become such an important fish for many KS waters.
Some of our conversations have entered around customers wanting WAE and declining the opportunity to try the SAE.
Part of this is because very few are familiar with this fish and it's habits-complete lack of knowledge.

In a recent meeting of hatchery techs and field biologist's, I posed the question of "If they had a choice".. what would they stock..

1. 99% agreed the SAE is a much better choice whether pond or large lake. Reason for this? SAE grow faster-considerably-are more readily caught by angler due to hybrid vigor, and because of the hybrid nature, they clean house on small panfish.

2. They survive and prosper in higher water temps with much less visibility as low clarity - read as more turbid conditions and most anglers that catch these fish don't know it isn't a WAE. As for table fare, saugeye and walleye are indistinguishable.

3. I've found many articles that suggest SAE require soft-rayed forage. Whoever wrote these articles has little if any knowledge of this fish. They actually prefer small sunfish over anything else but will consume golden shiners (GSH) if available in good numbers. Green sunfish (GSF) are also a preferred forage item and crappie-if present, have a reckoning to deal with.

4. Crappie -One large res in KS that was historically famous for abundant crappie became a test bed for SAE in 1989. This lake has had WAE present and continual stocking for 40+ years. No WAE were stocked after the initial stocking of SAE in 1989.
Prior to this, the black crappie (BCP) and white crappie(WCP) were topping out at around 8-9" and the WAE rated as was fair to good at certain times.
By 1995 as 6 years later, Crappie catches in the 12-13" range were very common, and what was reported as fantastic WAE catches (actually SAE) began to attract many anglers. In 1998 the 9+lb state record SAE was pulled from that impoundment and still stands today.
The crappie are not uncommon in the 16" range and the SAE/WAE fishing has not been rated less than good since saugeye were added.
Fish (SAE only) are stocked every other year here and about 70+ other impoundments on top of that. ALL of the top Crappie and BG producers in the state waters have 1 thing in common - good to excellent SAE fishing.

On to the bad news... I produced about 550,000 fry this year, stocked in 6 locations and have collected about 5500 fish due to massive inflows and going from 12-15' pits to 35-60' depths. They are collectable in very small numbers now and due to reasons beyond my control we probably will not be producing any next year unless I can find suitable bodies of water to use as grow outs.
I have about 800-1000 fish left and that will be it for now until I can figure something else out.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/25/23 08:34 PM. Reason: enhanced the arrangement of text for easier reading
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Snipe #562666 11/24/23 07:12 PM
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It is relatively easy to teach inquisitive people about "new" topics.

It is very difficult to teach people when they already know EVERYTHING about a topic and the conventional wisdom is WRONG!

Keep teaching people and producing your saugeye. Johnny Appleseed wasn't successful in a day!


P.S. Sorry to hear about you having too much water!

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Snipe #562670 11/25/23 05:41 AM
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Snipe, how do you collect them with the water so deep? Also, what length did they make?


It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Snipe #562674 11/25/23 10:31 AM
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We use giant Z traps, a 30'x 600' seine, we've even set over the top of them and catch 2-3 of them at a time on slab spoon with 2 jigs above.
some pits have big numbers of 6" fish, 2 pits have fish 10-12".

Last edited by Snipe; 11/25/23 10:35 AM.
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Snipe #562676 11/25/23 12:33 PM
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do you sell the fry as well?

Snipe #562678 11/25/23 12:54 PM
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BEPA makes a great point. Even if you can't grow them out there may be a market for eyed eggs or sac-fry.


It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Snipe #562683 11/25/23 10:29 PM
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Very few could get set up to properly hatch saugeye. Sac-fry would have to be stocked out in 48hrs post-hatch to work. I don't think it's worth the money to do fry only.

Snipe #562704 11/27/23 11:18 AM
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Very cool to see Saugeye added to offerings for stocking. I've seen several places that sell walleye but don't think I've seen a single place in the midwest take on Saugeye or Sauger.


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Snipe #562726 11/27/23 07:03 PM
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The prized and beneficial pond stocker fish the saugeye have always been almost non-existent for private pond owners. The few that were available in 2023 was the exception. Apparently 2024 will be another year for getting the very rare saugeye for those with private ponds.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/27/23 07:05 PM.

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Bill Cody #562734 11/27/23 09:25 PM
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Bill, we are "hoping" waters recede and we can collect next year, so we "may" have good numbers of 8-12" fish available in 2024.

Snipe #562740 11/28/23 07:17 AM
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This is one of those things I'd jump on if available. But I imagine high demand and low availability will keep me out of the market a while. But, if you're ever looking for a testing waters I've got a sweet spot full of white and black crappie.... smile


Keep up the groundbreaking and good work Snipe. I always enjoy following along.

Snipe #563034 12/09/23 02:25 PM
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Hey Kenny,

We’ve spoke previously about saugeye. We have a mutual friend that works for KDWP fisheries. Do you have any knowledge on whether Saugeye will feed on small bullheads and channels? Have a pond that is over populated on both. Someone years ago must’ve took it upon themself to stock it.

Blake


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