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Walleye Facts: Everything You Wanted To Know About The Biology Of Walleye

Jul 22, 2008
Walleye are a member of the perch family and get their names from their appearance. The retina of the walleye actually reflects light, and gives the fish a walleyed appearance. They are also known as sauger, yellow pickerel, pickerel, yellow walleye, pike perch, and darters.

Walleye is the most often fished and the most profitable cash fish crop in the inland waters of Canada. It is also a major sport fish in Canada and in the US.

The walleye is dark green on the back, and has a white belly and golden colored sides. There is a large patch of black at the back of the base of the dorsal fin. The bottom tip of the caudal fin is white in color. The colors of walleye vary from fish to fish in different locations and at different maturity levels.

The young walleye often have dark coloration down their sides and across their backs, but most adult walleye do not have such colorations. If the normal habitat is more turbid waters, walleye tend to be paler in color, while they tend to have much more definitely colored markings in the most clear water habitats. The adult walleye average about two and half pounds, with the larger fish being in the 20 pound range.

Walleye are found predominantly in fresh water. Occasionally they can be found in slightly salty waters, but usually not. They are found throughout Canada and in the United States as well. Walleye spawn in a manner similar to salmon. The spawn in the spring and early summer months, and depends on things like water temperature. The spawn usually begins as the ice begins to break up in walleye inhabited areas. The males move into the spawning grounds before the females.

The spawning grounds are normally rocky areas located where the water tends to run freely. Check areas near falls, natural or artificial dams in rivers, gravelly shoal areas, and along rubble strewn shore areas where the water depth is less than a couple of meters.

Unlike many other species of fish, the males are not territorial, and the eggs, once laid and fertilized, are left to hatch on their own after from twelve to eighteen days after they are fertilized.

The really large walleye that are commonly caught are female. The female walleye also grow much more quickly than the male do, and tend to grow much more quickly in the south than in the northern habitats. The male walleye are usually much smaller.

Young walleye eat plankton and invertebrates, finally, as they get older, graduating to other fish. As the younger fish get older and bigger, they move from the bottom of their habitat toward the surface, and this is partially the reason for the change in their food sources. They eat anything from crustaceans, small forage fish, larval or adult mayflies, cypranids, yellow perch, crayfish, frogs, snails, and mudpuppies are also popular walleye fare. Even small mammals can be eaten by walleye, but usually only in extreme conditions.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best walleye fishing information possible. Get more information on walleye fishing tips here: http://www.askwalleyefishing.com/
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