The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will begin the Alligator Gar Harvest Authorization drawing application process on September 1. This year’s opening date is a change from the August 15 date that was in place when the drawing system was implemented last year.
From Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, anglers holding a license-year or year from purchase fishing license can enter the drawing for an 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. Harvest authorizations will be valid from the date issued through Aug. 31, 2021.
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 Lake Livingston and the East Fork of the Trinity River upstream to the dam at Lake Ray Hubbard. This includes the following counties: Anderson, Chambers, Dallas, Ellis, Freestone, Henderson, Houston, Kaufman, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Navarro, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker.
“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 were 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 this drawing system, which was implemented last year, we are 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.”
In addition, all alligator gar harvested, including those harvested using a harvest authorization, from public freshwater and saltwater waterbodies (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 Trinity River alligator gar regulations that remain in effect 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 Lake Livingston and the East Fork of the Trinity River upstream to the dam at Lake Ray Hubbard (see above for list of affected counties). Additionally, a ban on the take or possession of an alligator gar by means of lawful archery equipment or crossbow is in 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.