Ohio River Sauger Arrive With the Cold
Big Sauger on the Move
by Robb Hoff
October 28, 2012
Nothing quite like the arrival of wintry chill to pronounce that the sauger are becoming more active in the Ohio River! These toothy pike/perch type fish are native to the Ohio River and thrive in its water year round, but cold and cloud cover seem to signal their time to really frenzy.
My past success with sauger fishing was primarily more than a decade ago and limited to fishing along the barge wall at Meldahl Dam, where Hopkins spoons and Kast-Masters could be jigged straight down at the very bottom with abundant results.
But bank fishing has its place in fishing for sauger in the Ohio River.
My son and I must have bank cast Rapala Shad Raps thousands of times in the same stretch of bank since summer without so much as even a fluke of a sauger on the other end of the line. Plenty of largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky bass...and literally more than a thousand hybrid striped bass, white bass and small striped bass...but not so much as one single, solitary straggling sauger in the bunch.
It took about a half hour to find them, but we had the spot to ourselves with only a few boats in the middle of the river able to notice the fights we had once we found the sauger. All of the them were over a foot long, and we kept two -- one 17-inch and a nice 19-incher.
There were small hybrid striped bass and even largemouth mixed in with the sauger, but after two hours of temperatures in the 40's, we'd had enough.
The sauger we kept provided a good reference to examine some of the features of the fish, as well as highlight some of the differences between the sauger and walleye -- like the black dorsal fin spots, the white highlight around the tail fin, and the fork of the tail.
Plus, there's no more delicious fresh fish out of the Ohio River than sauger. Rubbed with some Old Bay seasoning and baked skin-side down at 350-degrees for 30 minutes, these filets were meaty and tender flaky tasty.