Recent severe flooding along the Trinity River in Texas has caused the TWPD to temporarily halt fishing for alligator gar.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has temporarily stopped alligator gar fishing along portions on the Trinity River south of Dallas. The order took effect immediately and could last up to, but not more than, 30 days from the issue date of May 12, 2015.
The issuance prohibits any harvesting or attempt at harvesting gar along specific portions of the Trinity River. The affected river portions are between the Highway 31 bridge near Trinidad and the Highway 7 bridge near Crockett. The order also effects any and all backwaters in reach of the areas of the river listed above. Alligator gar fishing along other areas of the river and the rest of the state will not be affected.
The emergency order comes after recent moderate flooding created near-perfect spawning conditions for the gar.
Alligator gar are believed not to spawn every year due to the inconsistent presence of proper spawning environments. However, this spring has been exceptionally good for the creation of spawning habitat.
Ideal spawning conditions occur when low-lying vegetation areas are inundated with water in late spring and early summer. Temperature of the water is also important and TPWD have been monitoring data, such as water temperature, regularly in order to predict if and when an alligator gar spawning environment would occur.
During spawning, alligator gar are exceptionally vulnerable as they gather in very concentrated groups in shallow water. Also, given that spawning conditions do not occur every year, the gar will be even more concentrated on spawning and thus even more vulnerable to harvest.
Texas is important for alligator gar populations as it is one of the nation's last remaining strongholds for the species. TPWD is monitoring and researching the state's gar population as an ongoing project started in 2009. Also in 2009, the TPW Commission set a daily limit of one alligator gar per person.
Flood levels in Texas and other information can be found from the National Weather Service online here.