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Are Freshwater Drum Good To Eat?

Donna Says Freshwater Drum Are Good To Eat

By Donna Fernstrom

I caught my first drum yesterday, and after a bit of online research, we had it for dinner--breaded and fried, with eggs and hash browns on the side.

Boy, were you wrong! This is a SERIOUSLY underrated fish. I can understand if drum in some waters may not taste good--I heard that Lake Erie imparts a bad flavor to the fish, perhaps because of their diet, but in most places? It's not so! I haven't had drum from the Great Lakes, of course, but I'll accept that they might not be good eating, since so many have said so. But not all waters have that problem.

Drum isn't a rough fish at all, no matter what it looks like. It's much tastier than panfish, and I would rate the quality somewhere in between bass and walleye (better than bass!). We caught our drum from Standing Bear Lake, in Omaha, NE. The fillets were large, thick, and boneless. They cooked up to a tender, flaky consistency reminiscent of cod. The flavor, too, reminded me more of cod than anything else--very very mild, without the muddy flavor a lot of freshwater fish can take on.

Not only are drum fun to catch, they're also absolutely phenomenal on the table. I think you should change your article--at the very least, remove the negative comments until you have had a bite of this fish for yourself. I think you'll be changing your tune right away as soon as you do!

I think that because drum from the Great Lakes were considered no good to eat, and the fish look vaguely reminiscent of carp, that they've gotten a COMPLETELY undeserved reputation. It seems I'm not alone in having discovered the truth, but the small numbers of people who know it want to keep all the drum for themselves. lol...

I'm going to HAVE to assume you've never eaten freshwater drum...no one who has could honestly say that they're no good to eat (unless perhaps they were fishing Lake Erie?) Trimming the fish is easy--just remove the lateral line and any dark bits, just as you would with walleye.

We'll be going back and targeting more drum, for sure! I understand that this fish doesn't freeze well, but should be eaten fresh soon after it's caught, instead. This is no problem. I hope that next time, we can bring home a bunch of them, and try the fish batter fried, just like cod.

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