Lake Ontario has a reputation for being full of freshwater drum, and on June 14 James VanArsdall reinforced that reputation by pulling out a 26-pound, nine-ounce fish to break the New York state record. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the 33.5-inch drum surpassed the previous record by over two pounds.

VanArsdall’s catch marks the second New York state record fish in the past three months. In May, Eric Lester brought in the second-heaviest freshwater fish in the state’s history when he caught a 60-pound inland striped bass.

“This latest state record is another great example of how New York continues to provide excellent fishing opportunities and they continue to grow under Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “From the Great Lakes to Long Island and everything in between, the possibilities are endless for eager anglers.”

Freshwater drum, commonly known as sheepshead, are named after the sound the males produce while swimming. Drum are also the only native freshwater fish in North America that produce planktonic eggs, which drift with the current. Due to this, sheepshead can be found in many rivers and lakes as far north as the Hudson Bay and as south as Guatemala. Anglers may note that freshwater drum are usually nocturnal and can put up quite the fight when hooked.

Image courtesy New York Department of Environmental Conservation

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  • Pam

    That fish should have been released! Anglers please do not keep pregnant fish as they are the ones who replenish our supply. Fish smarter!

  • Robert LeClair

    It is disgusting to think that any credit for the condition of the fisheries here in NY would be given to Cuomo. To assume he has any clue (or truly gives a damn) about such things, other than how fishery conditions affect state tourism or the happiness of downstate voters, is foolish.

  • Savayman

    There really needs to be a better way to recognize fish of this stature than having to kill or transport them. Connecticut DEEP fisheries have supported the use of certified scales, photographs and independent witnesses for species where identification is not an issue. The most recent State records for common carp were achieved this way and the fish released to grow bigger and bring pleasure to other anglers in the future. Let’s hope NY and other States can also follow this progressive process.

  • Darryl

    Is this a state record bass?

  • brad

    Oregonian here who happened to see the story. Congrats on the catch buddy. Exciting when you pay into a pool of fish and wildlife conservation year after year , and finally hook a beautiful fish like that. It sucks that there are people who want to be critics and cruel about such a catch! Which also makes me wonder, when was the last time they paid into anything they cared so much for?

  • Taskmasterendgame

    Governor Cuomo actually has had something to do with positive legislation

    Amazing what Liberals won’t do next !