Spotted Seatrout

The spotted seatrout, also known as speckled trout, is a common estuarine fish found in the southern United States along coasts of Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Ocean. While most of these fish are caught on shallow, grassy flats, spotted seatrout reside in virtually any inshore waters, from the surf of outside islands to far up coastal rivers, where they often come for shelter during cold weather. Contrary to its name, the spotted seatrout is not a member of the trout family (Salmonidae), but of the drum family (Sciaenidae). It is popular for commercial and especially recreational fishing in coastal waters of the southeastern United States. Adults reach 19-25 inches in length and 1-4 pounds in weight.

 

Spotted seatrout live in the top of the water column and are most numerous along the coasts of the southeastern states, such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. They are also common along the coasts of North and South Carolina and Virginia. Estuarine coasts are prime settlement areas. They are uncommonly seen north of Delaware Bay and along the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
 

The spotted seatrout has prominent canine teeth. Like other fish of the family Sciaenidae, it has an elongated, soft dorsal fin with no scales; it is separated from the spinous dorsal fin by a deep notch. It usually has two anal spines and the lateral line extends to the tip of the caudal fin. The back has distinct spots scattered on it, including on the dorsal and caudal fins. Unlike some other members of the family Sciaenidae, the spotted seatrout does not have any chin barbels. In stained water, this fish's background may take on a golden hue. Its shape and coloration is reminiscent of a brown trout. This fish is closely related to the weakfish, Cynoscion regalis.

 

This bottom dwelling, predatory fish feeds at any level. It may be taken by chumming from a drifting or anchored boat, by trolling, jigging, surfcasting or fly-fishing. Shrimp is the most popular and effective bait. Whenever shrimp are abundant, spotted seatrout feed on them almost exclusively. As they grow larger, their diets shift toward fish, the larger, the better. Studies in Texas and Mississippi show that really big trout strongly prefer to feed on mullet; a large trout will find the largest mullet it can handle and try to swallow it. Often the mullet is half or two-thirds as large as the trout.
 

Artificial lures, peeler and soft crabs, shrimp and live minnows are good baits.It may be caught in salt or brackish water and shows a preference for shallow waters of estuaries.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Cynoscion nebulosus
Environment:Inshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:59–80.6ºF (15-27ºC)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Casting, Chunking, Fly, Jigging, Trolling
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Flies, Jigs, Plugs, Soft Plastics, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
World Record:17 lbs. 7 ounces.
Other Names:specks, speckled trout, spotted seatrout, speckled seatrout, sea trout, seatrout, spotted trout

Latest Spotted Seatrout Fishing Reports and Spots

Live shrimp & trout bite - 5/7/2021 8:49:57 PM

Some really great fishing today out of Sweetwater. Lots of specks came in. Lots of happy faces. Good news- we have a few thousand live shrimp i (View)


Reds in a flash ⚡️ - 5/11/2021 9:46:11 PM

Great fishing today out of Sweetwater. They caught good amounts of specks today! Some guys did really really good. We seen some new anglers tod (View)


12/24/2021 - 12/24/2021 6:23:32 PM

Hope everyone has a great holiday. Today we caught grays, specks and sea mullet at ramp 38. The point had dog sharks. Sea mullet and small bla (View)


12/17/2021 - 12/17/2021 5:45:32 PM

We have been having an incredible gray trout bite at the point these last few days. Fishing for those guys has been a lot of fun. One citation (View)


10-07-2021 - 10/7/2021 10:11:07 PM

There were some Spanish caught at the point this morning. Sharks at the point the rest of the day and into the evening. Ramp 27 had black drum (View)


07/29/2021 - 7/29/2021 9:34:55 PM

Ramp 55 had pompano and sea mullet. Ramp 43 Pompano and sea mullet. Spanish on 44 in the hook. Flounder specks and puppy drum in the sound. Hav (View)


07/07/2021 - 7/7/2021 9:35:10 PM

What a nice day to be in Buxton. Had reports of specks and drum in the sound. Ramp 43 had some sea mullet and croaker. Have a great evening………R (View)


what the yellow fin - 6/9/2021 10:12:00 PM

Slower day today in the gulf but still plenty of smiles along the docks! Offshore boats caught yellowfin and big eye tuna along with some dolph (View)


Sunday's specks - 5/30/2021 9:46:00 PM

Today our offshore boats laid low for a blow day but we had some anglers who wanted to brave the blow inshore. Another 31 inch speckled trout r (View)


Not Saying Too Much... - 3/5/2021 4:35:59 PM

Likely closer to finished than to its start the speckled perch spawn continues in area lakes. On some lakes it seems to be tapering off. On oth (View)