The freshwater drum is a fish known for its noise. Males make a grunting or rumbling sound during the breeding season, which is thought to attract females. That noisiness generated many colorful nicknames, including croaker, thunder pumper, grunter, grinder, bubbler. Other names include silver bass, gray bass, lavender bass, and gaspergou from the French casse-burgeau "to break a clam." Locally many anglers refer to them as "sheepshead."
Freshwater drum like turbid water and inhabit slow or moderate current over sand or mud bottoms. A freshwater drum’s lateral line (a visible line of sense organs on the side of a fish for detecting pressure and vibration) extends to the end of its tail, which is farther than most other fish species. This adaptation allows the drum to pick up vibrations in the water and better locate food and enemies. It feeds on many different types of food from crustaceans and seeds to minnows and aquatic insects. It can use its high snout and forehead to flip stones and expose food.
Key ID Features: Freshwater drum average 10-14 inches in length. It has a humped back with a long, sloping forehead and white lips. Coloration is gray with purple/bronze reflection and rounded triangular tail.
For Further Reading
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2017. “Freshwater Drum.” Accessed May 8. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish/freshwaterdrum.html
Last updated: November 22, 2019