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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Freshwater Drum - Aplodinotus grunniens

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status

External Links

General Description
The only member of the drum family native to Montana. This species is found in larger streams and reservoirs in the plains region of Montana's eastern drainages. Drum are so named because they can produce sound by "drumming" muscles against their gas bladders. Drum are spring broadcast spawners, but unlike other Montana fish their eggs are buoyant. Drum are not a sport fish in Montana and are taken commercially elsewhere. Drum eat fish, insects, clams and snails.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Silvery with a pearl-gray back. This is the only Montana fish in which the lateral line extends onto the tail.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Western Hemisphere Range


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 705

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Deep pools of large streams, lakes, and reservoirs. Prefers clean bottoms and moderate turbidity. Spawning has been observed to take place in lakes some distance from shore.

Food Habits
Eats a variety of aquatic invertebrates but snails and small clams are the predominant foods.

Reproductive Characteristics
Spawns May - June at 65 - 70 degrees F. Spawns in schools near surface of water. Hatching time short. Fry float near surface for a time, then seek the bottom where water is deep.

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Citation for data on this website:
Freshwater Drum — Aplodinotus grunniens.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from