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Trophy Alligator Gar Permit application period open until Dec. 31

BY Randy Zellers

ON 11-01-2023

Ghelsea Gilliland wih 187 pound gar

LITTLE ROCK – Anglers interested in hooking into an epic-sized trophy fish can apply for a 2024 Alligator Gar Trophy tag from now until the end of 2023.

Many Arkansas anglers travel all the way to the Gulf of Mexico each year in search of trophy fish like tarpon and sailfish. Most don’t know they are passing up a similar opportunity right here in The Natural State.

Alligator gar, the second largest species of freshwater fish in North America, occurs in many of Arkansas’s large rivers. These gar can grow longer than 7 feet from tail to snout and can weigh more than 200 pounds. In fact, the largest alligator gar ever caught in Arkansas weighed 241 pounds, more than 100 pounds heavier than the state’s next largest Arkansas catch, a 116-pound blue catfish that once held a world record.

Although the species is much less prevalent than it historically occurred, big gar are still swimming in rivers throughout Arkansas and many other southern states.

Anyone may fish for alligator gar on a catch-and-release basis with an Alligator Gar Permit (AGP), but a trophy tag (AGT) is required to keep an Alligator Gar longer than 36 inches. It takes decades for these fish to reach these trophy proportions, and harvest must be managed if the gar population is to remain healthy in Arkansas waters.

Interested anglers can enter the free online drawing from November 1 through December 31 for one of 200 Alligator Gar Trophy tags for the 2024 season. Applications are available under the “Fishing License” section of the AGFC’s online license system at

The drawing will occur Jan. 2, 2024.  Applicants will be notified of the results by email.


Woman with alligator gar
AGFC Rivers Biologist Chelsea Gilliland working with a 187-lb. alligator gar from the Red River before releasing it back to the wild. AGFC photo.

Gar in net
Alligator gar being tagged before release to help with conservation efforts of this prehistoric species in Arkansas. AGFC photo.

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