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Sauger or Saugeye?

Updated on January 10, 2013
The presence of cheek scales can differentiate sauger from saugeye.
The presence of cheek scales can differentiate sauger from saugeye.
The mottled body and black-spotted membrane of the dorsal fins are characteristic of both sauger and saugeye.
The mottled body and black-spotted membrane of the dorsal fins are characteristic of both sauger and saugeye.
One of the more commonly cited differences between sauger and saugeye is a white highlight along the bottom of the saugeye tail, which would suggest that this fish is a sauger.
One of the more commonly cited differences between sauger and saugeye is a white highlight along the bottom of the saugeye tail, which would suggest that this fish is a sauger.

Either Way...The Fish are Delectable

by Robb Hoff

December 9, 2012

At the end of the fishing day, it really makes little difference whether or not the fish are sauger or saugeye, just as long as they are out of the water and on their way to the table because both are equally succulent and delicious.

But with each one caught, the question as to whether the fish is a sauger or saugeye is bound to pop up, especially when some of the variations start to come to light from fish to fish. The differences may be so slight that identification can be as muddied as distinguishing the largemouth and Kentucky basses that have also hybridized over centuries.

Actually the sauger and saugeye are overall much harder to tell apart than the largemouth and Kentucky basses because of the varaitions and the degree of shared characteristics found in both sauger and saugeye without the ultimately definitive difference -- even though the types of black markings on the dorsal fin membrane may be the closest thing to a true marker, like the patch of raspberry-colored teeth on the tongue of a Kentucky bass.

Genetic testing may be the only way to ultimately tell and even then the results may show varied degrees of both species present in any sample.

Which is why the ultimate sample for me is the one slathered with Old Bay seasoning and piping hot out of the oven with tender, flaky meat that melts in the mouth.




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