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Anglers interested in hooking into Arkansas’s largest sport fish can apply for a 2023 Alligator Gar Trophy tag until Dec. 31.
Many Arkansas anglers travel all the way to the Gulf of Mexico each year in search of trophy fish like tarpon and sailfish. Most don’t know they are passing up a similar opportunity right here in The Natural State.
Alligator gar, the second largest species of freshwater fish in North America, occurs in many of Arkansas’s large rivers. The species frequently grow longer than 7 feet from tail to snout and can weigh more than 200 pounds. The largest fish ever caught in Arkansas was an alligator gar in the Red River that weighed 241 pounds, over 100 pounds more than the next largest Arkansas catch, a 116-pound blue catfish that once held a world record.
Although the species is much less prevalent than it historically occurred, big gar are still swimming in rivers throughout Arkansas and many other southern states. The largest alligator gar on record weighed an impressive 327 pounds and was caught in 2011 in Mississippi.
Anyone may fish for alligator gar on a catch-and-release basis , but a trophy tag (AGT) is required to keep an Alligator Gar longer than 36 inches. It takes decades for these fish to reach these trophy proportions, and harvest must be managed if the gar population is to remain healthy in Arkansas waters.
Interested anglers can enter the free online drawing through Dec. 31 for one of 200 Alligator Gar Trophy tags for the 2023 season. Applications are available under the “Fishing License” section of the AGFC’s online license system at https://ar-web.s3licensing.com.
The drawing will take place the first week of January 2023. Applicants will be notified of the results by email.