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Longnose Gar

SCIENTIFIC NAME : Lepisosteus osseus

OTHER NAMES: Gar, Garfish.

RANGE: They are one of the most widespread and numerous of the gar species in Florida. They generally are found north of and in Lake Okeechobee.

HABITAT: They inhabit sluggish, sometimes poorly oxygenated water, backwaters and oxbows of medium-to-large rivers and lakes. Longnose gars as well as other gar species are able to tolerate poor water quality by breathing air through its air bladder. They usually are found near vegetation and occasionally in brackish waters.

DESCRIPTION: They are olive-brown or deep green along the back and upper sides, with silver-white bellies. There are a few irregular, large dark spots on the body. The young display scattered spots over both sides, the upper and lower jaws and on their ventral fins. The Longnose is generally distinguished from other gars by its longer, more slender body, and especially by its longer, narrower snout. The snout is twice the length of the rest of the head.

SIZE: Females grow faster, bigger, and live longer than males and can attain lengths in excess of five feet.

FLORIDA RECORD : 41 pounds.

FOOD VALUE: None. The roe of a gar is poisonous to man, birds and other fish.

GAME QUALITIES: Gar are a sporty fighter, although they are not fished for much.

TACKLE AND BAITS: They can be taken with minnows and artificial lures or during daylight by spearing (although not by spear gun) and snagging them with treble hooks. They are popular with bow-fishermen and anglers using frayed nylon cord as a lure snag, which entangles the gars teeth.



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