Walleye
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • There are 3 relatively long pyloric caecae.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice that the dorsal fin is soft and that it has 18-21 fin rays.
  • Close-up tail: There is a white patch on the edge of the lower lobe.
  • The sides are olive mottled, the mouth is large with teeth, the 1st dorsal is dusky, there is a white patch on the tail.
  • Close-up mouth: The mouth is large extending to the middle of the eye and has prominent teeth, the cheek is sparsely scaled.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice the dusky pigment (no spots) on the membrane, the last 2 membranes jet black.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are slightly less deep-bodied and robust.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are slightly less deep-bodied and robust.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are slightly less deep-bodied and robust.
  • Alternative side view of an adult.
  • Alternative side view of an adult.
  • Side view of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up tail of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up of the spiny dorsal fin of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Side view of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up tail of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up of the spiny dorsal finl of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Perches (Percidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Mouth terminal, large and oblique, with obvious canine teeth on the anterior part of the upper and lower jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Back and sides brown, olive, or brownish-yellow with faint to moderately dark mottling and irregular blotches; belly cream or white. First dorsal fin dusky or blotched on membranes, but not spotted; last few membranes black. Second dorsal and caudal spotted; lower lobe of caudal often with small white patch at rear edge. Pectoral fin with small amount of dark pigment at base. Pelvic and anal fins white or clear. 77-87 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform and somewhat elongated; round to oval in cross section. Typically 375-600 mm (15-24 in) TL; maximum about 800 mm (32 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Dorsal fin with 2 lobes, distinctly separate, the first with 12-14 (usually 13) spines and the second with 1-2 spines and 18-21 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 2 spines and 11-14 (usually 13) rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
Young-of-year walleye can be distinguished by their large (extend to middle of eye) terminal mouths with obvious canine teeth. Older walleye are substantially larger than the largest darters. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders.
Juveniles
Similar to adults, but slightly less robust and often more elongated (photos).
Hybrids
Walleye X sauger (photos).
Compare Similar Species
Pigment on 1st Dorsal Fin
SaugerSpotted, last few membranes not black
WalleyeDusky to blotched, not spots, last few membranes black
Lower Caudal Lobe
SaugerNo white patch, but may be a thin white edge on lower-most ray
WalleyeOften white patch at rear edge
Pyloric Caeca
Sauger4-6, do not extend beyond posterior end of stomach
Walleye3, extending beyond posterior end of stomach
Dorsal Fin Rays
Sauger17-19
Walleye18-21
Cheek
SaugerWell scaled
WalleyeSparsely scaled or naked
Similarity Index
SaugerVery similar
WalleyeN/A
Comments
WalleyeThe young-of-year walleye is moderately similar to the crystal darter and the Percina darters, but can by easily distinguished by their large terminal mouth with obvious canine teeth. Older walleye are substantially larger than the largest darters.
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