Michigan Fisherman Shatters State Drum Record


On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed that the state has a new freshwater drum record. According to the department, Mark Leep of Middleville caught the record-breaking fish from Gun Lake on January 24 while spearing. The massive drum weighed 28.71 pounds and measured just over 34 inches in length. It was later verified by DNR biologist Kregg Smith.

Finding the drum in Gun Lake came as a mild surprise to DNR officials since the species typically inhabits the Great Lakes or one of their tributaries. Freshwater drum generally prefer clear water with clean sand or gravel substrates for a bottom. Biologists suspect that the Leep’s record fish may have been introduced to the lake several years ago by humans, a practice that the DNR discourages, and in Michigan, is illegal.

“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,” the DNR stated.

The previous state record holder for drum is a 26-pound, 37.5-inch fish caught by James Black from Muskegon Lake in 1973. For comparison, the International Game Fish Association lists the world record as a 54-pound, eight-ounce monster from Tennessee’s Nickajack Lake. That fish was caught by Benny Hull in 1972.

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