Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Prime Time for Sauger and Walleye Fishing

fishingKENTUCKY (2/16/13) – If fishing is one of your true loves, then think of Valentine's Day his past week as the start of the best fishing of the year for sauger and walleye in Kentucky rivers and tailwaters. The water may still be cold with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s, but the fishing can be hot.
 
"What's challenging about sauger is it's either boom or bust," said fisheries biologist Ryan Oster, of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "It's a seasonal fishery because of their biology."
 
The best opportunity of the year to catch sauger in numbers is when they gang up below dams, prior to spawning. "By April, they disperse and migrate back down river," said Oster. "They are so spread out it's hard to catch more than one or two."
 
Kentucky has six rivers that support quality sauger fisheries - the Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, lower Green, lower Tennessee and Cumberland. Statewide, there's a daily creel limit of six sauger, with no minimum size limit; however, special regulations apply in some waters.
 
Walleye are present in six central and eastern Kentucky lakes: Lake Cumberland, Laurel River Lake, Carr Fork Lake, Nolin River Lake, Paintsville Lake and Green River Lake. These fishable populations were established through decades of stockings and intensive management. They began in the 1960s when the fisheries division stocked the Lake Erie strain of walleye, which is more suited to lake environments.
 
In the late winter, these walleye also make seasonal runs upstream into tailwaters where they stack up below dams. The tailwaters below Lake Cumberland and Green River Lake probably offer the best opportunities to catch walleye this time of year.
 
Typically, walleye escape from lakes when there is a sudden rise due to heavy rains or snow melt. Walleye in rivers are attracted to the current that's created by heavy discharges through dams.
 
Statewide, there's a 15-inch minimum size limit on walleye and a six-fish daily creel limit.
 
Oster said vertical jigging is his go-to presentation for catching both sauger and walleye in late winter.
 
"It's easy to efficiently probe bottom structure such as humps, rock piles, and deep holes," said Oster. "Sauger and walleye also like to stack up in eddies and along current seams below dams. They conserve energy by staying out of the current, then dart out to grab a minnow as it swims by."
 
By fishing vertically, there's less chance of getting hung up, too. "Use your electronics to locate fish and then put your lure right in front of their noses," he said.
 
Sauger and walleye typically lay right on or close to the bottom and look up for prey to ambush. "They have good vision and can see the colors green and orange best," said Oster.
 
Oster prefers tipping his lead head jigs with plastic curlytail grubs rather than live minnows. "You can catch multiple fish without having to re-bait," he said. "A 3/8 or ½ ounce jig is usually heavy enough to stay in contact with the bottom where I fish, but in deeper water or in heavier current, more weight is needed. Raise and lower the rod so that the jig swims along about four inches off the bottom."
 
A second option is vertical jigging blade baits, thin metal crankbaits with lead heads that imitate a shad. "I lower the bait down until it hits bottom, then I reel it up about six inches," explained Oster. "I pull the lure up, with a sharp jerk of the rod, and keep the line tight enough to feel the lure wobble back down. Most bites will occur on the fall."
 
A third vertical presentation for sauger and walleye in the late winter is rigging a floating crankbait on the 3-way swivel, with the weight on the bottom and a small, floating crankbait tied to an 18- to 24- inch leader that's tied to the third eyelet. This presentation allows the weight to slip or break off while saving the expensive crankbait.
 
Sauger and walleye are closely related, members of family Percidae. Walleye have a prominent dark blotch on the first dorsal fin. Coloration is dark green on the back. The yellowish sides have faint markings, and the belly is milky white. Sauger are darker, with distinctive brown saddlelike markings across their back and sides.
 
The current license year expires Feb. 28. If you plan to fish after March 1, you'll need to buy a new fishing license, available in the sporting goods section of department stores and tackle shops. Licenses and permits may also be purchased online from the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife homepage at fw.ky.gov or by calling 1-877-598-2401. The entire Spring Fishing Frenzy series will be posted at this same website for future access to these articles.
 
Author Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Seth Stewart
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics Dept.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14

SurfKY TV

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Stock Report

1 DOW 16,764.95
+303.63 (1.84%)    
2 S&P 1,959.77
+32.66 (1.69%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,469.32
+86.47 (1.97%)    
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

October 17, 2014 12349

UK Women's Soccer Welcomes Ole Miss, No. 5/4…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 20, 2014 6260

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 17, 2014 4279

Single Vehicle Collision Results in One Injury

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
October 19, 2014 4145

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 21, 2014 3290

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 18, 2014 3094

Muhlenberg County Celebrates New Farmer’s Market

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 17, 2014 3056

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 17, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2845

Woman Arrested at Taco Bell for DUI

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2766

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2447

Anti-Bullying Task Force to Hold First Meeting

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor

Stories Trending Today

October 22, 2014 2055

Failure to Signal Ends in Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 1960

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Hopkins News by Karen McKnight
October 22, 2014 1668

Convicted Felon Charged for Handgun Possession…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 22, 2014 1410

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 1202

The Sanctuary Opens Muhlenberg County Branch

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 1110

Four Road Projects Awarded in Muhlenberg County

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Rebecca Hanchett
October 22, 2014 1088

UK Soccer's Justin Laird Named National Player of…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 22, 2014 1027

Lake Malone Halloween Bash Set for This Weekend

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 934

SurfKY Spotlight: Lynelle S. Eaves Realty

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 899

Baptist Health Paducah Weight Loss Info Session…

in Local (Paducah) Top News by Angie Kinsey Timmons

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss