Other names: Pike-perch, Walleye Pike, Walleyed Pickerel, Yellow Pickerel, Yellow Pike, Yellow Walleye
Walleye are the most sought after fish in Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest. Often thought of as a "northern" fish, they are actually found from Canada all the way to Alabama in the Southeast over to Arizona in the Southwest. Their westernmost distribution in the U.S. occurs in the states of Washington and Oregon, where walleye were introduced by anglers.
As the largest member of the perch family, walleye are predators and rank high in the food chain when they reach maturity. For millions of anglers, they rank high on the list of delicious fishes that swim in the freshwater of this country. Their closest relatives are the Sauger and the Saugeye, which is a hybrid between sauger and walleye.
The pearlescent eye for which walleye were named is the result of a reflective layer of pigment, the tapetum lucidum, which helps the fish to see and feed in murky water and at night. Walleyes range in color from a golden yellow to dark olive drab and can be most easily distinguished from similar species by the lack of spots on the dorsal fin and the white tip on the lower part of the tail.