Drum are one of the hardest fighters in the region. It can take a while to wear one out. They are as strong as smallmouth bass and tend to run bigger averaging around 3 to 7lbs. They school and are abundant in the spring and early summer in the bays connecting to Lake Ontario, like Sodus and Irondequoit. The fish disease VHS has apparently killed a lot of drum in the Lake Ontario system. But in 2010 we saw good numbers of drum in Sodus Bay and had good reports from other embayments. So things are encouraging. Cayuga has a decent drum population, and I'm seeing more and more drum over there each year. The Cross Lake/Seneca River system has plenty of them. The drum population is going up and up in Seneca Lake, as well as Cayuga. I believe that both of these lakes will be loaded with drum in a few years. They are clearly finding plenty of food with all the available zebra and quagga mussels, and in Cayuga Lake abundant gobies.
I enjoy fishing for and catching drum as much as any other fish. I’ve eaten a few out of Oneida Lake over the years and they are very good – similar to bass or even walleye. Many anglers have no clue as to how good a small drum from clean water is on the table! They are excellent eating. Drum love crayfish and minnows, so fly-fishing can be an effective way to catch them. I like casting clouser minnows tied with rabbit strips. A drum over 20lbs is possible, especially in the Seneca River/Cayuga system. I expect to guide more and more for these fish in the future as the “drum beat” lures people in!
The drum in the photo section is a beauty I caught off a Lake Ontario bay during October 2009 on a tube jig.