The Department of Natural Resources confirmed a new state record last month for freshwater drum. This record marks the first one caught in 2015.
A fish caught by Mark Leep of Middleville, Michigan, on Gun Lake in Barry County Saturday, Jan. 24, at 4:30 p.m. beat the state record for freshwater drum. Leep was spearing. The fish weighed 28.61 pounds and measured 34.02 inches. Kregg Smith, a DNR fisheries biologist in Plainwell, verified the record.
James Black caught the previous state-record freshwater drum, weighing 26 pounds and measuring 37.5 inches, on Muskegon Lake May 28, 1973.
In Michigan, freshwater drum typically inhabit the Great Lakes or their tributaries. Based on the size of this fish, it found its way to Gun Lake several years ago, perhaps through illegal stocking, as there are limited connections to a large river system. Anglers are reminded that transferring fish from one water body to another is prohibited without an approved permit, because such transfers can disrupt the fish community in the receiving water through predation, competition with native species or introduction of new disease-causing organisms.
State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight, and a DNR fisheries biologist must verify identification.