How to identify a Longnose Gar

This gar is generally distinguished from other gars by it longer, more slender body, and especially by its longer, narrower beak (18-20 times as long as it is wide at its narrowest point). The longnose gar is brown or dark green on the top and sides with a cream or white belly. Spots are scattered on the fins and in some specimens, the body. The nostrils are located in a small, bulbous fleshy growth at the very tip of the upper jaw. The bony, diamond shaped ganoid scales of all gar species overlap to form a very strong and protective armor on the body that has been known to deflect arrows.

Where to catch Longnose Gar

It is found throughout the eastern half of the United States through the Mississippi River system and other drainages in larger streams and in brackish water coastal inlets. Its range extends at least as far south as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, the Gulf States, and the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico; and as far north as Minnesota, the Great Lakes, and Quebec, Canada although the longnose gar is not as common in its far northern reaches. It rarely occurs west of Minnesota but has been found as far west as Montana in the north and New Mexico to the south. It is found both east and west of the Appalachians, with large concentrations along the Atlantic coast states.


How to Identify a Longnose Gar
 1 Brown or dark-green diamond shaped ganoid scales

 2 Spots are scattered on the fins and in some specimens, the body

 3 Longer, slender body, with an especially longer and narrower beak


  • Channel Entrances
  • Freshwater Lakes and Ponds
  • Inlets and Outlets
  • Islands or Sand Bars
  • Open Water
  • Piers, Docks and Pilings
  • Rocks
  • Spring Holes
  • Walkways and Bridges
  • Cliffs and Steep Shore Banks
  • Gradual Shores
  • Inside Turns and Coves
  • Merging Currents
  • Overhanging Trees and Bushes
  • Rivers and Streams
  • Shoreline Shallows
  • Sunken Objects


Acknowledgements:  We thank TAKEMEFISHING.org (www.takemefishing.org), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources for their contributions to these FISH FACTS.