March 23, 2016
By Doug Stange
Trinity River, Texas Alligator Gar—Here is a fish that may grow to 400 pounds, may live for 75 years, and fights like a professional wrestler with a system full of steroids. Set the hook and Old Tooth Face is coming up for a look, head and three-quarter body length above the water, jaws ajar, teeth slashing and gnashing, one of the most awesome and unique sights in freshwater fishing.
Anglers traveling to fish the Trinity River, with a main stretch running from Dallas to Livingston Reservoir, have an excellent chance of tangling with gar surpassing 100 pounds—especially if they choose to fish with Capt. Kirk Kirkland. Indeed, hook-and-line gar fishing as we know it today was pretty much pioneered by Kirkland, who insists on releasing everything that's caught.
Gator gar can be on the move in the Trinity by March, but the best fishing transpires in warmer weather, from May through July into the dead of summer if you can stand the heat. The fishing slows again in fall by November.
I have caught large specimens of all the largest freshwater fishing in North America: white sturgeon, gator gar, lake sturgeon, blue catfish, flathead catfish, king salmon, and carp. As a group these fish are brutes and fight brutishly determined battles, pulling long and hard. The sturgeons and gator gar add to that mix their spectacular ability to jump. Because they get so big and fight so hard—and they come up to survey the situation with a jump—surely sturgeon and gator gar aren't just among the greatest freshwater sportfish in North America, they are the greatest. And the Trinity River is arguably the best waters remaining for giant gator gar.
Contact: Capt. Kirk Kirkland, 204/490-0284.