Walleye, the largest members of the perch family, often exceed 20 inches in length.

Walleye are similar in body shape to both sauger and yellow perch. However, walleye can be identified by the dark spot found at the bottom of their first dorsal fin and their large canine teeth. Saugers lack the dark spot and yellow perch lack the large teeth. Most walleye are yellow, but occasionally a variation occurs which gives the fish a blue color. Called “blue phase,” these fish are not blue pike.

Walleye prefer the deep water sections of large lakes, streams, and rivers. They have large, light-sensitive eyes that help them locate food in poor light. To protect their eyes from the sun, walleye stay in sheltered or deep water during the day and move into shallower water at night. They are voracious predators and use their large canine teeth to catch a variety of minnows and the young of other fishes. Yellow perch are often a favorite meal.

Walleye are popular sportfish and play an important role in New York State’s tourism industry. Anglers and non-anglers alike hold walleye in high esteem due to their excellent taste.