Longnose Gar (Pickering, 2014)

This living fossil is one of two species of gar we have in Ontario and we’re lucky enough to have both here in Rondeau Bay. This is the much more common species, the longnose gar (Lepisosteus oseus). This Latin name refers to its bony scales that cover the whole length of the fish. The Spotted Gar is the other and is much rarer, being found in only about 6 bodies of water in Ontario, 1 being our shallow bay. Only 500 of these uncommon fish have ever been caught in Ontario.

This fish is most commonly mistaken for a pike, it is commonly called a gar pike but that would be in fact incorrect because gars and pikes are their own separate families.

The body length may be up to 5 feet but the common size is much smaller.

The gar is found in quiet large bodies of water usually seen floating at the surface of the water mimicking a stick. They use this form of behaviour to catch their prey, they will float slowly towards the minnow or yellow perch and strike too fast for the prey to escape.

The longnose gar spawns in late spring or in early summer. They spawn in large schools in close formation in order to ensure fertilization of the eggs. The spawn will be deposited in shallow bays that are filled with submerged aquatic vegetation.

The Longnose Gar ranges from Northern Mexico to Southern Quebec, most commonly found in the deep Southern U.S. and anywhere along the Mississippi river.

– J. Pickering (2014)

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