Alligator Gar to Possibly be Reintroduced to Illinois Waters

Alligator Gar to Possibly be Reintroduced to Illinois Waters

A massive fish with a gator-like snout full of sharp teeth will again roam Illinois waterways if state lawmakers get their wish. The State House and Senate have passed a resolution urging the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to get busy on a program that could reintroduce the alligator gar to Illinois waters, including the Kaskaskia River. The alligator features an interesting and intimidating look, reaching a length of 8-feet long and weighing up to 300-plus pounds. Proponents think that a fish like this could help in the fight against Asian carp, an invasive species, that has caused problems in the waterways across the state. The alligator gar is the largest fish native to Illinois. It is a prehistoric species that has not been seen in the state since the last documented alligator gar catch occurred in the Cache River cutoff channel in southern Illinois in 1966. It was officially declared extinct in Illinois in the 1990s. The IDNR began an alligator gar reintroduction program in 2010, but it has been on hold for the past two years. Alligator gar were stocked at a few waterways, including the lower Kaskaskia River, during the couple of years that the reintroduction program was active.

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