Starting Sept. 1, anglers must have special authorization through a random draw to harvest a large alligator gar from a section of the Trinity River and follow new regulations when fishing for the state’s largest and long-lived freshwater fish in public waters statewide.
Now through Sept. 30, anglers holding a license-year or year-from-purchase fishing license can enter a drawing for the opportunity to harvest one alligator gar over 48 inches from a section of the Trinity River using the My Texas Hunt Harvest mobile app or online. Anglers can choose to apply as an individual or as part of a small group. Winners of the random drawing will be notified by Oct. 15. Anglers can use any legal means or method to take an alligator gar over 48 inches day or night from a section of the Trinity River from the I-30 bridge in Dallas downstream to the I-10 bridge in Chambers County, including the East Fork of the Trinity River upstream to the dam at Lake Ray Hubbard, through Aug. 31, 2020.
“This segment of the Trinity River has become one of the most popular destinations in the world to catch a large alligator gar, but concerns have recently been raised about the potential for overharvest and its risks to fishing quality,” said Craig Bonds, Inland Fisheries Director at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “With the new drawing system being implemented this year, we will be able to give 150 anglers the opportunity to harvest the fish of a lifetime while also meeting our management goal to conserve this unique resource for current and future generations of anglers.”
Also starting Sept. 1, all alligator gar harvested from the public fresh waters of the state (other than Falcon International Reservoir) must be reported to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department within 24 hours of harvest on the My Texas Hunt Harvest mobile app or online.
“In order for us to manage our alligator gar populations among growing angler interest, it is crucial to know how many are being harvested in Texas,” Bonds said. “By gathering data on alligator gar harvest through the My Texas Hunt Harvest app and online, our fisheries management team will gain a better understanding of this species’ distribution, sizes, and numbers and can use that information to help manage for quality fishing in the future.”
Other new Trinity River alligator gar regulations going into effect Sept.1 include a 48-inch maximum length limit for alligator gar from the I-30 bridge in Dallas downstream to the I-10 bridge in Chambers County, including the East Fork of the Trinity River upstream to the dam at Lake Ray Hubbard, including the following counties: Anderson, Chambers, Dallas, Ellis, Freestone, Henderson, Houston, Kaufman, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Navarro, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker. Additionally, a ban on the take or possession of an alligator gar by means of lawful archery equipment or crossbow will go into effect on the same section of the Trinity River between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise (unless using a harvest authorization through the drawing system).
A one-fish-per-day bag limit remains in effect for alligator gar statewide except for Falcon International Reservoir, where a daily bag limit of five fish and possession limit of 10 fish remains in effect.