Freshwater Fishing photo

Here’s one from our Department of Odd Fishes. That’s a freshwater drum shown in the photo, which I caught while smallmouth-bass fishing in Lake Erie. The drum took a small plastic worm fished on the bottom. These are a fish that I occasionally catch by accident, but never on purpose. Which itself is a puzzle.


Freshwater drum are so-called because of an underwater grunting noise they can make by vibrating their swim bladder. If held out of water, this becomes a frog-like grunting sound. They are related to saltwater redfish (red drum), and are widely distributed in larger freshwater lakes and rivers. They can also get big, with various records surpassing 50 pounds.

So one of my questions is this: Do any of you folks purposefully fish for drum and consistently catch them? I’ve taken a few on scented soft-plastics–especially various Gulp! baits–when bottom fishing for bass. But I have not targeted drum specifically nor caught them on purpose. Nor do I know (yet) how to go about it.

And what about eating? I’ve never tasted one. And I haven’t heard much as to their value as a food fish. Since they’re related to redfish, I suspect freshwater drum might be good on the table, but I’m looking to you folks for some guidance here.

The last question is more simple: Why show any interest in something that’s not widely known as a gamefish? As an angler, my own answer is like why a mountain climber goes up a mountain, “Because it’s there.” So I’m curious about drum and want to know more. Any advice?