This is one big fish and it will soon be back in Illinois waters for the first time since 1966.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resource (IDNR) has announced that it has stocked 1600 Alligator Gar into four Illinois waterways, as part of an IDNR Alligator Gar Reintroduction Program. This fish was once considered to be extinct in Illinois waters.

If you love to fish and have not come across an Alligator gar, there's a good reason why. The fish, native to Illinois, was last caught in Illinois back in 1966 in the Cache River in Southern Illinois.

The IDNR says the fish are being reintroduced an attempt to restore this very large predator to waters of Illinois where it once thrived.

Prior to the start of the Illinois reintroduction program, the last known catch of alligator gar in Illinois was in the Cache River basin in southern Illinois in 1966. Pictured below is the last vouchered Alligator Gar. Photo supplied by the IDNR

IDNR Photo
IDNR Photo

Now, don't expect to see three foot long Alligator Gar right away. The IDNR will be releasing 1600 Alligator Gar that will measure 12 to 14 inches in length.

Don't expect to see the Alligator Gar in the Rock or Kishwaukee Rivers anytime soon, but if you travel to Southern Illinois, you may encounter them. Here's where you'll be able to find them.

  • Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area (Tazewell Co.)
  • Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area (Cass Co.)
  • Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison Co.)
  • Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area (St. Clair Co.).

Oh, by the way, some of these fish can grow as long as eight feet long, and weigh up to 300 pounds.

So the question is being asked is whether Alligator gar are being introduced as an attempt to control Asian Carp? The answer is NO. The IDNR says the fish will have no effect on Asian carp.

They are a large, interesting, unique species that once swam in southern Illinois waters.

The IDNR says they would like to see more of them in Illinois again. How 'bout you?

Catch Mark Charvat on Q98.5 from 3 p.m to 7 p.m.. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook.

More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5