Spotted gar catch breaks 40-year state record

Michael Starr Jr. of Parsons, a bow angler, landed a new state record in the spotted gar category in late July at Big Hill Reservoir in Labette County.


A lucky bow-angler from Parsons has officially broken a 40-year state record for spotted gar in Kansas. Michael Starr Jr. was fishing at Big Hill Reservoir in Labette County in late July when he successfully reeled in a 34.5-inch spotted gar weighing 7.98 pounds.

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.

About Spotted Gar

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. 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.

How State Records are Set

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

Go to to see a complete list of current Kansas state record fish.

Caught a big fish but not quite a state record? Apply for a “Master Angler Award” and be recognized for your catch if it exceeds the measurements listed at

For more on fishing in Kansas, visit


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