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,
are not highly esteemed by Minnesota anglers. If you catch one and are
determined to eat it, try one of these
freshwater drum recipes.
Photos courtesy of Jay T. Hatch, Natural History of Minnesota Fishes. Reprinted with permission.
Background courtesy of 777 Images