These pictures are from Lake Ray Hubbard. Back during the spring, the water level in this part of the lake varied widely from week to week. The lake is extremely shallow at this location and as a consequence the water level would rise and fall with the slightest change in the weather. Dry, warm weather shrank the lake as expected. A strong wind from the north compounded the problem by blowing the water in this section of the lake back into the main body. Large expanses of mud flats were revealed.
Then the rains came. No much, mind you, only light spring showers. But they were enough to refill and even expand the lake. The lake water flooded previously dry areas with a uniformly 8 inch (0.2 meter) deep inundation. For a few days afterwards shallow water fish moved in. Gars and carps mostly.
The water covered an area where vegetation had firmly established itself earlier in the season. Coastal Bermuda grass and Smartweed helped create a solid, silt-free base. This combined with the cool, clear water to produce an irresistible wading opportunity. So wading is what I did.
I was only a few steps in when I encountered the first Spotted Gar. Over 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and with a mouth full of needle-like teeth, the confident gar held its ground until I nearly stepped on it. Soon after, I noticed another and then another. Gar were everywhere. The lake was absolutely teeming with them.
As I stood there in the shallow water, gar after gar swam by. They were either unaware of or unimpressed by my presence. On one occasion I even had to gently redirect an oncoming gar off to the side with a leg of my camera tripod. It was quite an experience.
Strangely, the fish were gone by the following week, even though the conditions were largely unchanged.
2 Replies to “Spotted Gar – The Shallows”
Very nice observations and documentation, Chris.
These gar may constitute a spawning aggregation. David
Thanks, David. This was a fun one! I called and wrote people to tell them about this just after it happened… I don’t do that often!
I think your right about the spawning. Would that explain why they were absent the following week?