Family: Lepisostidae

Common Family: The Gar Family

Common Name: Longnose Gar

Scientific Name: Lepisosteus osseus


Gar are characterized by their long cylindrical body shape and long jaws with many sharp teeth. 

Range and Habitat: 

Longnose gar can be found from Québec all the way to Mexico. 

Gar are an ancient, native fish that go back to the Cretaceous period (65-100 million years ago) and are not stocked or managed by the state. They are called “trash” fish by many people; however, they play an important role in a natural, healthy ecosystem. Gar generally only eat small, forage fish, thereby preventing these populations from becoming overpopulated and stunted in growth. Gar can be useful to  keep a fish population balanced in cases where gizzard shad are located or where bass are overharvested.

Gar species are common in Indiana and can be found in rivers, streams, creeks, inland lakes, reservoirs, sloughs, and marshes. Longnose gar are the most common throughout Indiana, while shortnose gar are common in the southern part of the state and occasional in the north. Spotted gar are found to be occasional in the southern part of the state and common in the north.

Fishing Facts:

Hookless lures are commonly used to catch longnose gar. The idea is to use a material that will become entangled in the tiny teeth of the gar. The simplest and most widely used of the entangling types is the rope lure, although live-bait minnow sets also work well.

Similar Species: 

The longnose gar’s snout is as long or longer than the rest of its head (from the corner of its mouth to the back of the operculum). The shortnose gar’s snout is shorter in length and is thicker.