How to Fish for Gar in Tennessee

by David Harris

The gar, also known as longnose gar or alligator gar, is a fish found in rivers and lakes in Tennessee. It prefers to spend its time in the backwaters where temperatures run between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Gars are strange-looking fish with a long mouth shaped like a sword. Inside the mouth are rows of sharp teeth. Gar eat mainly at night and their main source of food is small fish. Gar meat has a good flavor but yields a lot of bones.

Step 1

Obtain a Tennessee fishing license. You can buy one online from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency or pick one up at a bait shop, grocery store or hardware store.

Step 2

Locate a spot in Tennessee where you can fish for gar. These include the Hatchie River, Cold Creek, the Obion River and the Harpeth River.

Step 3

Locate a place where you can fish from away from other anglers. Set up around dusk, since the gar prefers to feed at night. Summer nights can be warm in Tennessee but bring warm clothes, especially during other times of the year as Tennessee can be chilly at night.

Step 4

Look for a spot where you can see the gar resting just below the surface of the water if fishing in mid-afternoon. Use a boat to catch them if you have access to one. Many Tennessee state parks offer boat rentals for anglers.

Step 5

Use live bait when fishing for gar. Gar will be attracted to bait such as shiners, logperch and redhorse. You can buy these at a local bait shop.

Step 6

Use Kahle hooks when fishing for gar. A treble hook can cause damage if it gets caught in the throat. Be prepared for a fight because gar can be very heavy. Use a net when reeling in a gar to help you lift it onto the bank or into the boat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some people catch gar by spearfishing or bowfishing.

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