The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is moving forward with plans to reintroduce a fish that was once native to Illinois waterways.
The alligator gar is coming back says Rick O’Neil with IDNR’s Department of Fisheries.
The last known catch of the fish, prior to the start of the reintroduction effort, was in the Cache River basin in southern Illinois in 1966.
The alligator gar is the largest of the gar species and second largest freshwater fish in North America, next to the white sturgeon. The current all-tackle record alligator gar, caught in 1953 in Texas, weighed 302 pounds and measured 7-feet-6-inches in length.
Researchers determined that prior to Illinois extinction, the state produced some individual gar that measured more than eight-feet in length, with the heaviest weighing 176 pounds.