Living with Us… “Blue” walleye – Sander Vitreus

True blue walleye, or blue pike, are a species that was only found in the deeper, cooler parts of Lakes Erie and Ontario. Its body shape was slightly different than our normal, yellow walleye, with larger eyes placed a bit higher and closer together than a normal walleye. This fish was commercially valuable and was considered to be extinct in the early 1980s.

Did you know that the “blue” walleye you catch today have adapted to their environment and use the blue colour as camouflage and protection? This blue colour is made in the slime glands of the fish’s skin and acts as camouflage to help with catching prey, and acts as sunscreen to UV light. This blue slime is of no harm to the fish or humans, although it might look a bit strange when you see it for the first time. People have reported that this blue colour even rubs off onto the ice or snow when you catch them. To help document these blue-coloured walleye, please contact Four Rivers at [email protected] with the location in which the fish was caught, length/weight if possible, and how many were caught.

Blue Walleye-1 Blue Walleye-2

Photo provided by Four Rivers Group (photographer: Erin Desjardins)