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SHORTNOSE GAR

At-a-Glance

  • Scientific Name: Lepisosteus platostomus
  • Found in Illinois: Statewide
  • State Record: Hook & Line: 5 lbs/.96 oz (1999); Bowfishing: 6 lbs/4 oz (2014)
  • Best Lures: Lambo Lure Spinner or other in-line spinner, rope lures, bait (live or cut)
  • Best Lakes (based on average size): Horseshoe (Alexander), Carlyle, Shelbyville

Angling Tips:

Gars are commonly targeted by bowfishers, but can also be caught on rod and reel using a variety of lures (e.g.; Lambo Lure Spinner or other in-line spinner and rope lures) and bait (live or cut bait). Due to their aggressive predatory nature and long muscular bodies, gars will strike hard and give a powerful fight when hooked or speared.

Habitat: Shortnose Gar can be found in sluggish pools, backwaters and oxbows of rivers, streams, and lakes. They are often found near vegetation and submerged terrestrial structures.

Feeding and Habits: Shortnose Gar are opportunistic ambush predators that prey on a broad variety of fishes and invertebrates.

Reproduction: Shortnose Gar typically spawn in shallow quiet vegetated waters (swamps, shallow bays, inundated floodplains of lakes and rivers, and stream pools and backwaters). Spawning groups typically contain one female and several males. Shortnose Gar provide no parental care.