North Platte River Sauger Reintroduction

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Sauger | credit: USFWS

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is continuing a project to return sauger to their native waters.

Sauger were once native to the North Platte River system in eastern Wyoming, but they were extirpated sometime in the mid-1940s.

In 2017, WGFD began reintroducing sauger in the North Platte River upstream of Glendo Reservoir. Since then, the department has gathered information about sauger migration and movement patterns and if a weir in the river near Orin Junction is preventing migration of sauger and other native fish.

As part of the project, biologists placed radio tags in sauger, channel catfish, shorthead redhorse, and quillback below the weir. When fish swim by or over the weir each tag has a unique signal picked up by tracking stations next to the weir. Numbered floy tags are inserted into each fish.

Anglers who catch tagged fish are encouraged to release them and asked to contact the phone number on the tag whether they release or harvest tagged fish.

Through early June, two sauger, five shorthead redhorse, two channel catfish, and two quillback moved over the weir. There are plans to tag several more of each species next spring, according to Nick Hogberg, Game and Fish fisheries biologist in the Casper Region.

Since 2017, Game and Fish has stocked about 950,000 fry and fingerling sauger in this area.
“In addition to bringing back a native species we would like to have back in this system, sauger will provide a component of diversity to the Glendo fishery,” Hogberg said. “They are susceptible to a lot of the same fishing techniques as walleye. We’ve already seen anglers catching them and hope that will continue into the future as they become established and hopefully sustain themselves.”

source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department