Not to be confused with European sea trout, sea-running examples of brown trout (Salmo trutta), the seatrout found in the Atlantic waters along the U.S. southeastern coast and in the Gulf of Mexico are members of the genus Cynoscion. The most popular of the seatrout species is the spotted seatrout, commonly referred to as speckled trout. Known for its willingness to take both natural and artificial baits, the spotted seatrout also makes for fine dining.
With a body that is dark green or gray on top but silvery and white below, the speckled trout is so-called because of the numerous black spots on its back, dorsal fin and tail. The fish usually presents one or two prominent canine teeth on the upper jaw, and has no barbels and no scales on its dorsal fin. Males average 2 to 3 pounds and 19 inches in length, the larger females about 25 inches. The speckled trout's preferred habitat includes inshore and near-shore beds of sea grass, oyster beds, shallow estuaries and bays. During colder months they move out into deeper water to feed on baitfish, mullet, shrimp and crabs.
Silver Seatrout and Sand Seatrout
Silver seatrout prefer sand and sandy mud bottoms but migrate to inshore bays in colder months. They are distinguished by a pale, straw color on top, silvery sides and a white underside. The sand seatrout, found chiefly in bays and inlets inshore, is a pale yellow on top turning to silver and white below. Both species have yellow mouths, no spots on the back and 10 to 12 rays in the anal fin. Sand seatrout usually average under 1 pound, though larger specimens may be encountered in deep inshore holes or offshore. The silver seatrout is a slightly smaller size.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife: Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Spotted Seatrout: Cynoscion nebulosus
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Silver Seatrout: Cynoscion nothus
- Tampa Bay Times: Don't Shrug Off the Silver Seatrout
- Biology of the Spotted Seatrout; Stephen A . Bortone, ed.
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
- Louisiana Fisheries: Biological Info: Sand Seatrout
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