Freshwater Drum

freshwater drum

Freshwater drum are often called "sheepshead," though they are  not related to the salt water species by that name. These heavy-bodied fish are named for their ability to use the muscles surrounding their swim bladder to make a drumming sound. They live near the bottom in large rivers and shallow lakes, feeding primarily on insect larva, snails, small fish, mollusks, and crayfish.  Freshwater drum can attain a very large size, and teeth and bones of this species found at Native American camp sites suggest that weights of nearly 200 pounds may have been reached at one time (McClane, 1951). The Minnesota state record for drum is 35 pounds, 3 ounces (Minnesota DNR, 2014), and the world record is 54 pounds, 8 ounces. Despite their large size and the fact that they are edible, freshwater drum are not highly esteemed by Minnesota anglers. If you catch one and are determined to eat it, try one of these freshwater drum recipes.

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Photos courtesy of  Jay T. Hatch, Natural History of Minnesota Fishes. Reprinted with permission.

Background courtesy of 777 Images