South Dakota State Fish
Walleye (common name)
Sander vitreus (scientific name)
The walleye is a large freshwater perch (not a pike, as is commonly thought) with a long, olive-colored and gold-flecked body. There is a distinct black mark on its dorsal fin, and its tail has a white tip on the lower fork. It is a highly prized sport fish due to its size, fighting ability, and flavorful meat. Walleyes migrate to suitable spawning grounds, sometimes as far as 100 miles away. This fish was designated the official state fish of South Dakota in 1982. It is also the state fish of Minnesota and the state warm water fish of Vermont.
Length: Up to 42 in (107 cm); average of 36 in (90 cm)
Weight: Up to 22 lbs (10 kg); average of 11 lbs (5 kg)
Up to 26 years
Large, cool lakes and rivers with low to moderate clarity and sand or gravel bottoms.
Range: Throughout Canada and in the United States from the Dakotas to Arkansas, east to North Carolina, and up the Atlantic Coast to Maine. The walleye has been widely introduced all over the U.S.
Water type: Freshwater
Water temp: 65-75°F (18-24°C)
Elevation: Down to 89 feet (27 m)
Conservation Status: Secure
Young walleye eat insect larvae and plankton. As they mature they switch to insects and then fish like yellow perch, ciscoes, and freshwater drum. They also eat insects, crayfish, snails, leeches, worms, mudpuppies, crayfish, frogs, snails, and even small mammals like mice.
Spawning frequency: April to June
Mating behavior: Several males will pursue females in the evening and circle them repeatedly with their fins erect.
Egg laying: A female lays up to 500,000 eggs. The eggs adhere to rocky lake bottoms in relatively shallow water, where they are dusted by the male’s milt to become fertilized. The "fry" hatch after 20 days. Adults do not protect or care for the eggs or fry.
Game fish, commercial fish
Walleyed pike, jackfish, doré, dory, blue walleye, yellow walleye
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press