NANFA-- Mystery Fish Communication

Bruce Stallsmith (
Wed, 28 Feb 2001 12:00:50 -0500

Below is a message I received from Shawn who posted the pictures and
questions about the mystery fish. I had written to him saying that it was
our collective opinion that it's some kind of red drum and/or hybrid.

--Bruce Stallsmith

Hi Bruce :

A red drum is something we haven't considered, although one of our
guesses is closely related - freshwater drum. A couple of things steered
us away from that answer though. First, the caudal fin of a freshwater
drum (sheepshead) is rounded, whereas the fish in question has an
indented caudal fin. Second, the mystery fish does not have that
steep sloped forehead typical of a freshwater drum, though it is
difficult to tell for sure because of the way the angler is holding it's
head. Third, this angler has caught freshwater drum before in Lake
Champlain, Vermont, and has always removed their "lucky stones"
as he called them - the otoliths. He told me that he tried to get the
lucky stones out of this fish (he also thought it was a sheepshead)
but couldn't find them. This would say to me that if a guy who
normally takes them out couldn't find them in a "drum" of this size,
it probably wasn't a drum.

But, we could be wrong. At this point, it's the most plausible
identification so far. Freshwater drum are native to Lake Champlain, only
a hop, skip and a jump away from Lake Bomoseen - and angler here in
Vermont are well known - for taking fish from one lake and putting them
in another - for kicks I guess !

Thanks ! -- Shawn.

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