Illinois

The dots link to Bing maps that get you in the neighborhood, if not to the exact spot. Submissions include a link to the location the gar were caught (if known). State records are shown with a star.
Yellow Star/Dot = Alligator Gar
Pink Star/Dot = Florida Gar
Red Star/Dot = Longnose Gar
Green Star/Dot = Spotted Gar
Blue Star/Dot = Shortnose Gar

State Records (Rod and Reel):


September 2013, Peoria area

Hey Gar Gang,
So it was just a scouting trip around Peoria. Looking for a needle in the haystack. But sometimes you find the needle.
Alligator gar, beautiful beasts which can grow to 10 feet long and 300 pounds, once ranged up the Mississippi Valley. By 1994 however, after decades of decimation, they were declared extinct in Illinois. In 2010 the DNR started stocking Mississippi-born 'gators into a few select waters here. Yesterday, my friend {deleted} became the first angler in 50 years to catch alligator gar in Illinois. And it didn't take 50 years to catch the second one. Only an hour later, I became the second angler in 50 years to catch an Illinois alligator gar. These weren't 300 pounders, but with all the carp and shad they have to eat, maybe in a few years we'll be catching some monsters.
ReGARds,
Garman, 09/01/13





September 2011, Vermillion River

GASSman,
A few days of rain brought the water levels up, and the gar were surfacing but they were slow on the bite. Three anglers, half a day, 18 fish, 5 species. A typical Verm shortnose attached.
ReGARds,
Garman Jr (Zach), 09/29/11





July 2011, Vermillion River

GASSman,
Now that the Vermilion is back to normal July levels, the shorts are hammering the hardware. Even in the high sun of these 90+ days, I'm averaging 10 landed per hour to 28". Plus the white bass are still active, and cats and northern and smallmouth and 'fin show up from time to time. The other day I hooked up with a 40"+ longnose, fought it for a while before it went airborne and tossed my Lambo. Gotta love summer!
ReGARds,
Garman, 07/28/11





July 2011, Mazonia FWA (Gar Pond)

GASSman,
Little Brother Nate and I got out after the longnose yesterday. Even after being slashed by one last year, he still wanted to go for gar. He taught those gar a lesson, skillfully landing a 36" and a 48" after drag-screaming runs. Again, ropes outperformed bait. In the pictures, I'm holding the gar for him, but he landed them.
ReGARds,
Garman 07/11/11


June 2011, Mazonia FWA (Gar Pond)

GASSman,
Zach and I got out to a local lake yesterday for longnose. Sunny, little wind, great conditions for sightfishing. Right from the launch we started seeing gar in bunches. Picked up a 38" on rope pretty quickly. As always, we missed a few on shad and on rope: drops, equipment failure, unknown causes. Didn't see many in the middle of the day and blind casting and soaking shad weren't effective. But about 230pm we moved and started seeing them consistently even to the point where we didn't bother casting to smaller ones. We spotted some high 40s, maybe some that could have been 50+. Zach had the biggest fish of the day at 48", he also landed a 42", a 30" and a cat. I got a 44", 38", 33", and a 30". Not that we count or anything. All gar landed hit ropes; zero landed on shad.
ReGARds,
Garman 06/18/11


April 2011, Lake Shelbyville

GASSman,
The Easter gar definitely isn't as cute as the Easter bunny, and by no means should anyone eat the eggs! Epic weekend of gar fishing on Lake Shelbyville. Huge numbers of shortnose in the shallows made for some exciting sight casting. The biggest was 33 inches long and weighed 5.5 lbs.Gar season is starting early this year!
Steve B, 04/26/11




August 2010, Vermillion River

BAGlady (don't dare call her GASSlady!) toughs out a long hike to get to a fine shortnose spot. This is one of many - until it was pointed out to us by a friendly County Sheriff that we were trespassing! Who knew? Only a few hundred feet from the State Park, nothing posted.
GASSman 07/30/10





July 2010, Mazonia FWA (Gar Pond)

GASSman,
Three signs of a great day garfishing:
1. I purposely pulled the bait away from two longnose that were "too small to bother with".
2. I ran out of bait . . . AND ropes.
3. Bycatch was a 15" largemouth and a 26" channel cat.
I ended up with six gar: a 20"+, two 30"+, two 40"s, and . . . finally . . . a 52". The two biggest came on ropes; the others on cast and retrieved shad. The 52" took to the air and cartwheeled when I tightened up the line. Great fun!
Sorry, lousy pictures I was alone and had to use the timer.
ReGARds,
Garman 07/07/10


July 2010, Mazonia FWA (Gar Pond)

GASSman,
Beautiful day out at Mazonia on Wednesday. Little Brother Nate and I got there about 10am to find gar all around. After two "run and drops" and two "hook and lost", 8yo Nate set the twin trebles into a hefty longnose. Immediately, the fish leaps clear of the water. Nate's jaw drops and he looks at me. "That was YOUR fish! That is ONE NICE GAR!" He fought it like a young pro and after two more leaps and two passes by the boat, I grab that snout and a fine gar is in the boat. We tape him out at 36"---a 3-footer!--and take a few pictures. (Tough to take a picture of a 3-footer in a 8-foot boat).
But then . . . that darn gar turned camera shy and thrashed, taking a piece of Nate's ear with him. Lots of blood but not a single tear. Now Nate is wearing his war wounds with pride. He showed that he's tough enough to be a GAR ANGLER!
ReGARds,
Garman 07/02/10


May 2010, Lake Shelbyville

GASSman,
We finally got a weekend of warm, still weather in central IL....perfect for gar fishing. Jan and I picked up 9 shortnose on Lake Shelbyville, with one big female going just over 4.4 lbs. Haven't seen any longnose yet.
I saw on the IGFA site that there is a new record for shortnose caught last July in Nebraska. Have any info on this fish?
Steve B, 05/25/10


I didn't believe the 19 pound shortnose NE record either.

Gallery Shots from Illinois

Longnose Gar



The Gar that started all this! Garman's First!!!







Shortnose Gar


Spotted Gar


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