Alligator Gar, also known as Gemfish, is found in deep river bends, lakes, bayous and backwaters of Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The best methods for catching Alligator Gar in bowfishing, rod-and-rell, juglines, limblines and trotlines. Alligator Gar bait includes common carp, smallmouth buffalo, gizzard shad, and mullet and shiners rigged on a treble hook tied 6 inches below a bobber.
Habitat: Bay, Lake River
How to identify an Alligator Gar
The alligator gar is easily distinguished from other gars by its broad snout, two rows of upper teeth, and large size. Most gars have only one row of upper teeth. In most other aspects, the alligator gar is similar in appearance to other gars. Alligator gars have a long body, long snout, and toothy smile.
The alligator gar’s anal fins are positioned on the underside of its body, evenly spaced from one another. Its body is similar in appearance to species of pike, including the northern pike, muskellunge, and pickerel. Both alligator gar and pike have very similar body shape and fin placement; however, where pike have a forked tail, the tail of the alligator gar is rounded.
Where to catch Alligator Gar
The alligator gar is commonly found in bays, larger rivers, and coastal waters. Their range extends from the western Florida panhandle along the Gulf of Veracruz, Mexico, and north to the Mississippi River. Alligator gar can also be found as far north as the Ohio and Missouri rivers. A few sightings of alligator gar have been reported in Lake Nicaragua and the Sapoa River.
The alligator gar spawns in the spring in brackish waters; however, the best time to catch them is during the hot, dry late summer months. They tend to stick to deep river bends located near shallow pools of water. The following are habitats where you can catch Alligator Gar:
- Gradual Shores
- Lake and Pond Fishing Holes
- Inlets and Outlets
- Open Water
- Points and Break Lines
- Shoreline Shallows
- Springs Holes
- Walkways and Bridges
How to catch Alligator Gar
Due to its immense size and strength, the alligator gar is a popular game fish among anglers. The alligator gar can be a challenge to catch and can easily cut an angler’s line if given the opportunity. There are many methods for catching these fish, including rod-and-reel, bowfishing, and passive gear, such as trotlines and juglines. The following are methods and techniques for catching Alligator Gar:
Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Alligator Gar
The alligator gar responds well to fresh baits such as smallmouth buffalo, common carp, mullet, shiners, and gizzard shad. The baits should be rigged on 5/0 to 6/0 treble hooks tied 6 inches under a brightly colored bobber that is approximately 4 inches in diameter. The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Alligator Gar.