LABETTE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — A man from Parsons reeled in a new state record with his spotted gar catch in late July.

According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Michael Starr Jr. broke a 40-year-old record when he caught a 34.5-inch spotted gar weighing 7.98 pounds with his bow at Big Hill Reservoir in Labette County.

The KDWP says the previous Kansas state record for spotted gar was held by bow-angler Charles Harbert of Arma when he caught a 33.5-inch, 7.75-lb spotted gar from the Chetopa Dam in 1983.

“Spotted gar derive the name from trademark dark, round spots on the top and sides of its head. Most are less than 30 inches long, but like other gar species – it’s covered with a tough “armor” of thick, heavy scales,” said the KDWP. “There are three native species of gar in Kansas. The spotted gar is the smallest and can be found in the southeastern part of the state.”

According to the KDWP, trophy catches such as these end up as a Kansas State Record if:

  • The fish is a species recognized on the current list of Kansas state record fish
  • The fish is caught by a licensed angler using legal means
  • The fish is identified by a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks district fisheries biologist or regional fisheries supervisor
  • The fish is weighed on a certified scale prior to being frozen
  • The fish is photographed, in color, and a state record application is filled out
  • The mandatory 30-day waiting period has passed

To see a complete list of current Kansas state record fish, click here.