Growth and Food Habits of Saugeye (Walleye x Sauger Hybrids) in Thunderbird Reservoir, Oklahoma

Saugeye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum X S. canadense) stocked in Thunderbird Reservoir from 1985-1987 were monitored for growth, food habits, and possible diet overlap with largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) as they progressed from age-1. Age-1 and age-2 saugeye attained mean length of 445 mm and 543 mm, respectively, by October. Food habits revealed saugeye 301-400 mm began converting from inland silversides (Menidia beryllina) to shad (Dorosma spp.) as their main food item. A predator-prey length relationship showed mean prey length was approximately 30% of predators. Diet overlap between saugeye 301-400 mm and largemouth bass 300-400 mm occurred in the summer season. Saugeye introductions appear to be a desirable management strategy for increasing predation on inland silversides, large shad, and slow-growing white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) populations.

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