There is no better place to fish than Gulf Shores, Alabama. With the wide variety and plentiful populations of fish available, it’s a dream destination for the avid fisher. One of the many types of fish you might encounter includes speckled trout.
Also known as spotted sea trout, this fish is a member of the drum family and is not an actual trout. The species is found along the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline and inshore waters. Speckled trout school while young and migrate within an estuary. As a resident fish, they spend their lives near the same water system, but they migrate short distances with changing water conditions.
It doesn’t take long for this fish to reach full size; speckled trout grow quickly. By a year, most are 8 inches in length. By 2 years, speckled trout are over 12 inches long. Males grow slower than females and have a shorter life span, but males do not reach 14 inches until 3 to 4 years. The typical speckled trout weighs between one and three pounds, but five pounds is common. Very few reach 10 pounds, and the majority of the large fish are female. Speckled trout have a natural lifespan of over 12 years, but most live to about 5 years.
Fish come in all colors and sizes. Speckled trout are streamlined with dark gray on the back and white on the belly. The dorsal and tail fins are spotted, ranging from a few to many black spots. Typically, the edge and interior of the mouth sports yellow pigmentation. One or two canine teeth are located on the upper jaw.
As with many fish, large speckled trout primarily feed on other fish. Adults feed on menhaden, mullet, and croaker. Juveniles eat small crustaceans like shrimp and fiddler crabs and move to smaller fish like silversides and anchovies as they get bigger.
Those looking for speckled trout will find them inshore and near shore; they prefer shallow waters containing seagrass meadows, deep channels, and oyster beds. Speckled trout move seasonally within the estuary system, and juveniles travel in schools. During spawning season, most move to lower bays with higher salinity. When temperatures cool, speckled trout relocate to lower salinity estuaries, up rivers, and into bayous.