Shortnose Gar question?

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FP4LifesDad's picture
Shortnose Gar question?

FP and I are planning a trip right after Easter to head to southern MN to chase white crappie and shortnose gar.  The crappies I'm not really that worried about, but the question I have is: Does anyone have thoughts on where the shortnoses might be at this time of year in a lake?  We've found a lake that has a good population of them with an inlet and an outlet, but I'm wondering if they go deep in colder water or would they have moved up shallow by now.  I'm planning to fish them the same way we catch longnoses, sight fish and drop a fathead with a bobber right on top of them, the difference is we've done well with longnoses in the heat of the summer up in shallow water, this isn't the case right now and we've never seen a shortnose or fished them yet.  Do you think they would be up shallow where the water is warming up quick, suspended on the breaks coming up, or in deep water yet? If not shallow what tactics would you guys/gals recommend for different depths.  I have no idea where they go in the winter time unlike crappies, walleyes, etc. no one that I know of really targets them in colder seasons.  Any info would be greatly appreciated gang, these are the only 2 fish FP has left for his scrapbook in that area before we move to the RedWing and Duluth species and I'm really hoping to get these 2 crossed off on the same trip.  Crappies are starting to bite up here, so I'm assuming they are full swing down there, (dangerous word Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME) I don't want to miss the crappie spawn bite, but think it's going to be tough to find gar this early and vice versa if we go later.  Thanks gang.

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
I'd say its too early for

I'd say its too early for shortnose yet.  I usually dont start seeing them until early summer (end of may into june) on the rivers.  But you never know...

FP4LifesDad's picture
Thanks Doc, that's kind of

Thanks Doc, that's kind of what I was afraid of.  It's a pretty shallow lake, any idea where they might be or where gar winter at? It's under 800 acres with a max depth of about 11 feet so it should warm up quickly, I'm guessing it's the river coming in and out that keeps it from freezing out.  There are lots of little shallow bays in it, I'd actually classify it more as a giant swamp, mid summer I think would be a knockout.

TonyS's picture
If it were me...

Obviously it is probably a long shot to target Gar in MN in April.  But as a thought experiment, if I was going to try I'd focus on sight fishing with small pieces of cutbait or minnows just like you have done with LN Gar.  Sight fishing helps so much in tough conditions.  If sight fishing was impossible I'd probably just fish for Crappies and hope to get Gar as a bonus...

As for location, I would think a lot of fish might still be relating to the deepest water there.  Though I'd think those fish may be pretty sluggish.  Worth a look though.  Otherwise find the warmest water available.  Even if there are not a ton of Gar there, the odds of activity are lot higher.  The usual, shallow muddy bays, ideally on the north side of the lake are the best. The 3rd place I might look would be where the river flows in, though I think I'd be more likely to look there in the Summer than Spring


Best of luck, let us know how that works out


FP4LifesDad's picture
Thanks Tony, the lake is

Thanks Tony, the lake is supposed to have about 3 feet of visibility so we are really hoping to sight fish it shallow, we'll start in the bays and work out then, I really appreciate your guys's input and we will definately let everyone know what we figure out, thanks again man.

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Central Iowa Gar

I don't know if this will help too much, but a friend and I were throwing some shallow cranks in lake Red Rock in central Iowa and he hooked into a good longnose gar. We got it up to the boat and could see that it was hooked cleanly in the mouth. I think that they are feeding down here, at least some of them, are. The water temps are in the high 50s, possibly low 60s.

2017 Undisputed Iowa Small Drum and Creek Chub Champion

Aquaholic's picture
Saw some shortnose chasing

Saw some shortnose chasing minnows on the surface last weekend on the MN river. But agree that its still pretty early.

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Yup the Minnesota is full of

Yup the Minnesota is full of them.  That would be a great place for you and your boy to get on some.   I see them everywhere but mostly near sharp current breaks or feeder creek mouths.   

FP4LifesDad's picture
Thanks fellas for the input

Thanks fellas for the input it's greatly appreciated!  We've fished up and down the MN from Granite Falls, New Ulm, Mankato, all the way up to where it hits the Miss by the fort, we might have seen one once in the LeSeur/St Peter stretch that came up and smacked a crank but it could've been a northern too.  I've been studying sat maps for likely spots, that's how we found the area we got the shovels, I'll turn my focus onto incoming creeks from here out if the lake expedition fails.  Thanks again gang!

andy's picture
gotta post results here

And exactly how did the shortnose gar quest end for FP4L?


FishingPals4Life's picture
8) It ended with a new state record Shortnose Gar!!!

Thank you guys for all the helpful advice, we were able to locate them going off of it!

I agree with you, Dr Flathead

I agree with you, Dr Flathead. The best day to look for them should be hot and sunny. The good thing is that you can easily spot them because they are surface-oriented.