What Is A Spotted Gar? Lake Texoma Fish Species
Identification from Texoma Guide Dan Barnett
Lepisosteus is Greek, meaning “bony scale,” and oculatus is Latin, meaning “provided with eyes.” This last is probably a reference to the many dark spots on the head and body. Spotted gar may be distinguished from other Texas gar species by the dark roundish spots on the top of the head, the pectoral fins and on the pelvic fins.
As with other gar species, spotted gar may be captured by entangling the teeth in nylon threads or by bowfishing. In Texas, bowfishers have landed spotted gar up to 15 pounds.
Little is known about the biology of this huge fish. Alligator gar are usually found in slow sluggish waters, although running water seems to be necessary for spawning. They appear to spawn in the spring beginning sometime in May. Eggs are deposited in shallow water. Young fish may consume insects. Adults feed primarily on fish, but will also take waterfowl. This species is able to tolerate greater salinities that other gar species and feeds heavily on marine catfish when they are available.
Spotted gar are found from central Texas east into western Florida. The species range extends north through the Missisippi River drainage into Illinois and the lower Ohio River. Populations also occur in the Lake Erie drainage.