Spotted Seatrout

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Spotted Seatrout

Species Information

Scientific Name:Cynoscion nebulosus
Common Names:specks, speckled trout, spotted seatrout, speckled seatrout, sea trout, seatrout, spotted trout
Environment:Inshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:59–80ºF (15-27ºC)

About 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.

Spotted Seatrout Fishing

World Record:17 lbs. 7 ounces.
# Fish Caught:5756753 documented in database.
Earliest Record:1/1/1830 12:00:00 AM and located at 28.02667, -96.99288.
Latest Record:4/25/2024 4:05:00 PM and located at 30.66968, -81.46259.
Common Techniques:Bottom Fishing, Casting, Chunking, Fly, Jigging, Trolling
Popular Lure Types:Bottom Rig, Flies, Jigs, Plugs, Soft Plastics, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
Fishing Spots:2934 Spotted Seatrout fishing spots.

Latest Spotted Seatrout Fishing Reports and Spots

April Fishing for Red Fish and Specks - 4/8/2024 7:50:57 PM

April fishing for red fish and speckle trout has been good. This time of year the fishing is always excellent with the weather being pleasurabl (View)

06/01/2023 - 6/1/2023 10:37:06 PM

Drum Caught at the point this morning. Ramps 448 49 and 55 had citation pompano. Citation specks caught in the sound. Have a great night ……………… (View)

Speckled Trout Right Now in Myrtle Beach - 9/28/2022 3:50:53 PM

For anglers looking to reel in a record-setting catch look no further than the waters off the coast of Cape Romain near Myrtle Beach South Carol (View)

Saturday May 28 2022 - 5/28/2022 9:41:22 PM

Blues sharks rays and croaker down at ramp 55. Plenty of puppy drum and specks in the sound. The post Saturday May 28 2022 appeared first on Re (View)

05/18/2022 - 5/18/2022 11:50:30 PM

Plenty of citation Drum have been caught at the point the last several days. Sea mullet at ramp 38 and 48. Had two citation specks from the sou (View)

Giant Bass and Dead Gators - 2/21/2022 5:52:54 PM

February’s Full Moon arrived on the heels of quite a chilly spell. This celestial event often marks a time when crappie lovers see the relative (View)

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)