Taste Great, Bites Hard

A Typical Walleye


The Walleye scientific lowdown (Taxonomy)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Percidae

Genus: Sander

The proper name for this much sought out game fish is Sander Vitreus.

Wally the Walleye

Where to find them and their Life cycle

This well-dentured fish is found all over Canada and the northern parts of the United States. There used to be two distinct varieties:the blue walleye, which is now extinct, and this species. To separate the two and avoid confusion, the walleye is sometimes called the yellow walleye.

Their color is mostly an olive green with dark "stripes". They grow to about 2 ½ feet long, and can weigh up to 15 pounds. The largest recorded catch was 42" and 25 pounds. WOW! That was a whopper!

The European Pikeperch is a close match but is only found in Europe (obviously). In parts of Canada where English is the spoken language (not Francais, mon frère),"Wally" (I'm giving him a nom de plume) is known as the colored pike, yellow pike, or pickerel. This is a funny thing because Wally is not related to the pike in any way. Actually, the Wally is closer to the perch and kind of resembles trout in some ways.

Wally spends his entire life in freshwater lakes and ponds. Males usually reach maturity at 3 to 4 years; females about a year later. Spawning occurs in the Spring when adults head for the tributaries to lay the eggs. A single large female can lay 500,000 eggs in a single season. The eggs are laid in ice cold water of 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and fall between the rocks on the bottom. They hatch anywhere from 12 to 30 days later (depending on water temperature), with no care given by the adults. Talk about dead beat dads!

What they eat and when

Toothy, isn;t it?

Wally (or is it Wallys) are carnivores (take a close look at those choppers) and will eat just about anything that is smaller than itself. They are more active in choppy waters and at depths of up to 50 feet or more. Wally enjoys a most active nightlife and feeds at dawn or dusk, when visibility is poor for the other unfortunate fishies (mainly minnows) that wander by them. Additionally, in dark or murky waters, they will eat all through the day.

Angling (or "fishing" for the newbies) for this fish is pretty simple. Almost any jig, spoon or lure will attract them. Live bait can be used as well including nightcrawlers, minnows, and leeches (attach these to a jig for EXTRA attraction power). Fly fishers should check their local fly shops or check under rocks and Match the Hatch.

Walleye fly

How we eat them and how to cook 'em

Walleye is considered by many to be the BEST tasting freshwater fish in existence.I love them, but Snook is still my absolute favorite. Preparation can be done in many ways. With the closeness of the fish to Perch, frying tends to be where Wally is at his best. However, poaching, grilling, baking, smoking, or sautéing shouldn't be overlooked. Any way you cook them will be enjoyable.

Species like Walleye and the differences

Somethimes they are mistaken for Saugers. Saugers have black dots on the caudal fins, and Wallys have a white tip. This is how you can differentiate them. Wallys are sometimes thought to be Perch as well, but the size is THE tip off here. Perch only grow to about 5 pounds as adults, where Wallys exceed that mark in youth. Big, young, and tender. That's how we like them fish!

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