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Alligator Gar to be Reintroduced in Illinois After 50 Years

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The Alligator gar is on verge of a historic comeback in the state of Illinois. 

Alligator gar are huge. They are often times the target of bow fishermen throughout the south as well as traditional fishermen looking for an exciting challenge. Recently however, the state of Illinois has decided that it is high time that these prehistoric monsters make a reappearance in the land of Lincoln.

The last known caught alligator gar in Illinois was taken back in 1966. However, with recent efforts of the last few years, that seems likely to change in short order.

“The fry are given to us,” said Dan Stephenson, chief of the Illinois DNR in an interview. “We raise them, some in our hatcheries, and also we have two cooperating private hatcheries that really think it’s neat and interesting to try to bring back the alligator gar.”

Right now, the alligator gar are growing. Hopefully soon though, flooding will take them far and wide and natural population will take hold.

“We put them in there about 12-16 inches, and let them grow for a couple of years, hopefully,” Stephenson said. “And once they get bigger, then if you happen to get flooding, then they’ll move out into the river and really disperse pretty widely.”

The end goal of this project is to attract more fishermen to the state chasing these giant fish. If these things take off, count me in as one of those buying an out of state license rather quickly!

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Alligator Gar to be Reintroduced in Illinois After 50 Years