There are conflicting ideas among experts as to whether the walleye is native to Montana or not. Regardless, it is one of the most important sport fishes in Montana's eastern drainage and elsewhere in the U.S. and in Canada, where the walleye is a much sought-after commercial fish as well. Its flesh is of the highest quality. In recent years, some sportsmen's groups in Montana have aggressively pursued the increased planting of walleye and promoted walleye fishing tournaments. Sometimes walleye hybridize with sauger, producing sterile saugeye. Adult walleye largely eat fish and for the most part are lake and reservoir dwellers. Walleye are so named because of their large, reflective eyes which are very light-sensitive. They are very active at night.
Jaws and roof of mouth have large canine teeth. Anal fin has 2 spines and 11 to 14 (usually 12 or 13) soft rays. Body often has a golden hue.
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Usually some spawning migration upstream, or to suitable rocky areas in lakes. Commonly moves into tributary streams.
Primarily found in larger lakes and reservoirs, to a lesser extent in rivers. Spawns over gravelly riffles and rocky areas in shallow water.
Adults feed heavily on small fish when available. All age groups feed on various aquatic invertebrates.
Good walleye spawning sites are limited in Ft. Peck reservoir. Large population in Big Dry Arm of reservoir. Largely dependent on Big Dry Creek for successful spawning.
Spawns April - early May with peak around late April at water temperatures from 40 - 50 degrees F. Sexually mature in 2-4 years. Spawn in small groups and eggs are broadcast over bottom Incubation requires 12-18 days.
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- Bellgraph, B.J. 2006. Competition potential between Sauger and Walleye in non-native sympatry: historical trends and resource overlap in the middle Missouri River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 83 p.
- Binkley, K.M. 1996. Habitat selection of adult walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) in Holter Reservoir, Missouri River. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 119 p.
- Duncan, M.B. 2019. Distributions, abundances, and movements of small, nongame fishes in a large Great Plains river network. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 255 p.
- Eng, R.L. and R.J. Mackie. 1996. Supplemental wildlife data collection: McDonald Gold Project.
- Great Falls Tribune. Yellowstone 'saugeye' sets record. Great Falls, MT: Great Falls Tribune. 21 April 1988. p. 1B.
- Guzevich, J.W. 1993. The relationship of physical habitat to the distribution of northern pike and walleye in two Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 94 p.
- Holton, G.D. 1981. Identification of Montana's most common game and sport fishes. Montana Outdoors May/June reprint. 8 p.
- Knight, D.E. 1982. Accumulation of dietary methylmercury by Walleye and White Crappie in the Tongue River Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 103 p.
- Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 1989. Northeast Montana Warmwater Ecosystem Investigations: project period 7/1/88 through 6/30/89. Proj.# F-46-R-2; Job# V-e. 21p.
- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 1989. Hauser Reservoir fisheries management plan: September 1989-September 1994. 16 p.
- Mullins, M.S. 1991. Biology and predator use of cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 68 p.
- Olson, N. W. 2004. Interactions among hybrid Striped Bass, White Bass, and Walleye in Harlan County Reservoir. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 58 p.
- Penkal, R.F. 1977. Black bass populations of the Tongue River Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 111 p.
- Poole, A.S. 2019. Evaluation of embryo suppression methods for nonnative Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 108 p.
- Pravecek, J.J. 1995. Effect of diet on body composition and physical ability of intensively cultured Walleye fingerlings. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 67 p.
- Riggs, V.L. 1978. Age and growth of Walleye and Sauger of the Tongue River Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 53 p.
- Schilla, J. Canyon Ferry walleye question divides anglers. Great Falls, MT: Great Falls Tribune. 12 April 1990. p. 3D
- Snelson, S.I. 1996. Responses of Rainbow (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) to creation of access into a spawning tributary. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 82 p.
- Spinelli, J.P. 2010. Spatial and temporal entrainment of fish from Hauser Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 107 p.
- Spoon, R.L. 1985. Reproductive biology of Brown and Rainbow Trout below Hauser Dam, Missouri River, with reference to proposed hydroelectric peaking. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 144 p.
- Stash, S.W. 2001. Distribution, relative abundance, and habitat associations of Milk River fishes related to irrigation diversion dams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 82 p.
- Stevenson, H.R. 1975. The trout fishery of the Bighorn River below Yellowtail Dam, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 67 p.
- Stringer, A.L. 2018. Status of Northern Pearl Dace and chrosomid dace in prairie streams of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 150 p.
- Trenka, R.J. 2000. Community structure and habitat associations of fishes of the lower Tongue and Powder Rivers. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 85 p.
- USDI Bureau of Land Management. No date. Fishes of the Miles city, Montana BLM District. Miles City, MT: Miles City BLM District pamphlet. 12 p.
- Venditti, D.A. 1994. Diet overlap and habitat utilization of Rainbow Trout and juvenile Walleye in Cooney Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 90 p.
- Wuellner, M.R. 2007. Influence of reach and watershed characteristics on fish distributions in small streams of eastern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 80 p.
- Yerk, D.B. 2000. Population characteristics and habitat use of a developing walleye population in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 195 p.
- Zymonas, N.D. 2006. Age structure, growth, and factors affecting relative abundance of life history forms of Bull Trout in the Clark Fork river drainage, Montana and Idaho. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 142 p.
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