On a memorable trip to Bull Shoals, angler Chris Kimble harvested Missouri’s largest longnose gar with a bow. The long, slim fish came in at 65 ½ inches in length with a girth of 20 ¾ inches. It was then measured on a scale in a nearby Missouri Department of Conservation hatchery where it was certified. Kimble’s catch weighed 34 pounds and 7 ounces.

Longnose gar are a relatively long-lived species that boast an average lifespan of 15-20 years. The max age recorded for a longnose is 39, an astoundingly rare find. The reason for this is perhaps due to the fish’s late maturity, with females becoming sexually mature at the age of six. The species has not changed much in the last 100 million years and has few natural predators.

Some anglers find the distinctive look of a longnose gar’s needlike-snose and heavy scales to be off-putting, but the animal remains a popular sportfish in states where they are abundant. Long thought to be an undesirable species, researchers have found that the fish have a taste for mainly for minnows and carp instead of other sportfish.

Image courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

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