General information about sauger (Sander canadensis), a cool-water fish species in Alberta.



  • Sauger are golden olive on the back, with silver-yellow sides and a white underside.
  • As a member of the perch family, they also have a large spiny dorsal fin.
  • Other distinguishing characteristics include:
    • distinct rows of spots on the dorsal fins
    • three or four dusky vertical bars, or saddles, on the body


  • This species is not found in any Alberta lakes, but can only be found in the following rivers:
    • Bow
    • Milk
    • North and South Saskatchewan
    • Red Deer
    • St. Mary

Natural History


  • This species tolerates silty water.


  • Diet consists of a variety of small fishes, leeches and insects. Sauger often feed in similar habitats as walleye.

Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Spawning takes place in the spring, when females lay between 9,000 and 96,000 eggs.

Conservation and Management


Sauger are classified as Sensitive in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:


  • Few occurrences; sauger are found in slow moving rivers and may be vulnerable to habitat degradation in these systems. Little is known about this species.

Current management


Sauger are cool-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at:

Similar Species Walleye