Caught a gar
JamesD, after enlarging pictures, the gar without spots is probably a smaller alligator gar, the mouth appears to be wider and thicker.
JamesD, the fish in the photo is a longnose gar which is smaller and much more common than the alligator gar. Still a nice picture and an interesting fish. I've caught several in my home state of Missouri, mostly on plastics, usually they keep the lure. Alligator gar seem to prefer muddy, slow moving rivers and backwaters.
The lake in the Schmeekle Reserve at UWSP was full of gar when I went to school there in the early 90's. You could walk around the shoreline and see them near the surface. Cool looking fish. I looked at the website for the reserve and they apparently nuked the lake and re-introduced more desirable species. They don't even list gar on the fisheries list for the lake.
I see lots of these critters here on Lake of the Ozarks. I have snagged some monsters. I use the nylon rope trick also and a big road runner for the weight I need to throe.. Be careful with the teeth as I tried to land one by the tail for a client picture. The blasted thing swung around a bit me it took forever to heal...It is like having a saw blade get you..
Caught a 49" fishing the miss in lacrosse a few years ago. Thing looked like a dinosaur and would of made a pretty cool mount. Also got my first short nose a few weeks ago on the wi river. Kinda cool to have that on the list of species caught
I saw that technique years ago and tried it as well on the Fox leading to little butte des mort. It works but it sure was a pain to 'unhook' them. I actually flyfished for them and it was pretty awesome sightfishing for them.
Wisconsin state record for longnose gar is 52.5", 21 lbs.
When I was in college, I worked for a guy who grew up in the Weyauwega area. He said that he fished for gar a lot as a kid in the Wolf River. He described a technique for catching them that sounded pretty unique. I googled it just now and found an In Fisherman article on the technique he described. Hookless nylon rope flies made to entangle the fish's toothy rostrum.
That's about the average length for gar in the great lakes region as far as I've seen. I've caught a few around that size in Michigan. If you go down to Southern Illinois or any southern state you have an opportunity to hook into alligator gar. Those can get very large and upwards of 6ft plus. My buddies brother had one on that was at least 5 feet long if not longer.