Predominant age-groups in the Lake Erie freshwater drum Aplodinotus grunniens population were 3, 4, and 5 as determined from gill net, trap net, bottom trawl, and midwater trawl samples. Age and growth calculations indicated that females grew faster than males. However, the length-weight relation did not differ between sexes and was described by the equation: log W = -5.4383 + 3.1987 log L. Some males became sexually mature at age 2 and all were mature by age 6. Females matured 1 year later than males. Three sizes of eggs were present in ovaries; the average total number was 127,000 per female for 20 females over a length range of 270 to 478 mm. Seasonal analysis of the ovary-body weight ratio indicated that spawning extended from June to August. A total annual mortality rate of 49% for drum aged 4 through 11 was derived from catch-curve analysis. Freshwater drum were widely distributed throughout Lake Erie in 1977-1979, the greatest concentration being in the western basin. They moved into warm, shallow water (less than 10 m deep) during summer, and returned to deeper water in late fall. Summer biomass estimates for the western basin, based on systematic surveys with bottom trawls, were 9,545 t in 1977 and 2,333 t in 1978.
Additional publication details
Growth, reproduction, mortality, distribution, and biomass of freshwater drum in Lake Erie