Alligator Gar

Atractosteus spatula
Other Names
gar, garfish, garpike

They are one of the most distinctive freshwater fish species. Alligator, the largest of all gar, get their name from their distinctive, reptilian head. They can be distinguished from all other gars species by the two rows of teeth in the upper jaw, their short-broader snout, and their size when fully grown. The body is long, slender, and olive or greenish brown (sometimes black) along the back and upper sides with white to yellow bellies. The sides are mottled toward the head with large black spots toward the rear and on the rear fins. The young have a light stripe along their back from tip of snout to upper base of caudal fin.

Typical Habitat
They inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters of large rivers, bayous and lakes. They rarely are found in brackish or salt water.

Feeding Habits
They mainly feed on fish but are known to eat ducks and other water birds.

Age and Growth
They are one of the monsters of fresh waters. They can reach lengths of up to 10 feet and weights of more than 200 pounds.

Sporting Qualities
Despite their huge size and great strength, alligator gars are not very popular with anglers. They are not a fish that is caught easily because its sharp teeth will cut most lines in an instant. They are sought often by bow-fishermen.

Food Quality
Aligator gar are edible but hardly considered a food fish. When eaten, their meat is normally served smoked. Alligator gar roe is poisonous, to birds, animals, and humans, but safe for other fish to eat. There is very little commercial interest in this fish.

World Record
279 lbs. Rio Grande River, Texas

Preferred Temps

Material from eAngler.com.
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