Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula)
The Alligator gar is the largest freshwater fish found in the United States. Once a popular sport fish, Alligator gar populations were impacted by over harvest. Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery is working in conjunction with Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery and Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to produce Alligator gar that will help develop a recreational fishery for them in west Tennessee. Alligator gar can grow up to 13 feet and weight in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. It is because of this large size, that some states are hoping that increases in the Alligator gar population might help combat the explosion of Asian carp in the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Alligator gars are found throughout much of the coastal U.S. Southeast. Below is a range map showing the current known range of the Alligator gar.