Get Ready for Hot Saugeye Fishing Season in February and March
The long winter months are nearly over, but before we get to spring there's still plenty of fishing to be done! Ice fishing is a wonderful way to while away the day and get some great game while you're at it. One species that is particularly well-suited to ice fishing in February and March is the saugeye — a cross between a female walleye and a male sauger. Our Ohio reservoirs are full of this feisty fish and are often found up to 12-18 inches. Ready to see how to net your Saugeye?
What is a Saugeye?
Saugeye are a hatchery-produced hybrid fish that are well-stocked every year by the Division of Wildlife to the tune of more than 70 million fish annually. Their behavior is different than both parent species, and they can most often be found lurking off the bottom of one of the 70 reservoirs that are stocked each year. Saugeye tend to like water that's a bit on the dark and muddy side.
Cover Tips and Seasonal Approaches
Saugeye prefer to be near the bottom of relatively shallow water, around 6-8 feet seems to be ideal for their needs. They prefer to slide under lily pads or other cover, so don't look for them in deep or open water. When you're looking for a Saugeye early in the season, your best bet is to look around the causeways of a dam or near underwater roadbeds. Check out Amick Reservoir, Pymatuning Lake, Atwood Lake or Buckeye Lake if you're looking for a larger Saugeye over 20 inches long. Amick Reservoir is forecasted to have the highest population of these shallow-water fishes in the Ohio area.
Live minnows and leeches are their preferred food, as Saugeye like to see a little wiggle in their dinner, but artificial baits can be effective too. You'll want to hook minnows vertically through the lips or tail for cast and retrieve fishing. Minnows can be easily stored as any other live fish. Some popular artificial baits are 3-4” grub tails, curly shad, and #5 & #7 jointed and non-jointed Rapalas. They should we worked with varying speed in the currents below spillways and dams.
Are you ready to get out there and get fishing this time of year? If so, you'll find everything that you need to hit the ice at Norton's Sporting Goods Store in Waldo. We specialize in hunting and fishing gear as well as everything you'll need to enjoy the outdoors. Give us a call anytime to see if we have your gear in stock at 740-726-2616 or visit us online to get the details on upcoming outdoors options in your area on our blog.