This book is a given for recreational and commercial fishermen as well as anyone who loves the outdoors! Since most anglers identify their fish by reviewing illustrations rather than using scientific keys, the authors have succeeded in making fishing easier by providing superb illustrations and detailed diagnostics for fish identification. A valuable, one-stop reference tool for everyday anglers, fisheries experts, biologists, and outdoors writers, this guide includes intensively researched information on 207 species of saltwater fish, essential data on each speciesí habitat, identification, typical size, and food value. By Jerald Horst & Mike Lane, illustrated by Duane Raver. 207 species.
Found Gulfwide from deep interior estuaries out to 30 feet of water
offshore. They are a schooling species, especially when small. They are
not particularly attracted to hard bottoms or structure, but tend to be
found in areas of current discontinuities.
Identification & Biology :
Spotted seatrout have a streamlined body that is dark silvery gray on
the back, shading to white below. The upper parts of the fish have an iridescent
sheen and have a few to many black spots. The dorsal and tail fin are
always spotted. Occasionally, a spotted seatrout is captured with spots
only on the fins and not the body. Their mouth is often, but not always,
splashed with yellow pigment on the edges and interiors, and 1 or 2
large sharp canine teeth are located at the front of the upper jaw.
That speckled trout move within an estuary
on a yearly basis is well known. Typically, they spend their summers in
the high-salinity areas in the lower part of an estuary and their
winters in the lower salinity waters of the upper estuary. But how far
speckled trout move from estuary to estuary or bay to bay is not well
known by most fishermen.
Speckled trout tend to live in or near the same bay system all their
lives. In 1979, Louisiana researchers tagged over 2,600 specks. Of the
30 returns that they got, 20 came from the tag and release site. Similar
Louisiana research published in 1980 and 1982 showed that 90% of tag
returns came from within one mile of where the trout were tagged,
although another researcher in 1982 noted that two speckled trout tagged
Lake were recovered 96 miles to the east in Atchafalaya
Texas research results were similar. Results of 20,912 trout tagged in
bays between 1975 and 1993 showed 84% of the returns came from the same
bay as release. The longest distance traveled by any tagged speckled
trout before recovery was 131 miles. Of 588 trout tagged in the Texas
Gulf surf, 12 were recovered in the Gulf and 2 in Texas bays.
Other states show similar research results. In Mississippi, 7,423 specks
were tagged, with 221 recovered, and 90% of these were recaptured within
5 miles of their release location. In Alabama, 53% of tagged speckled
trout showed no movement and the longest distance traveled was under 20
miles. Multiple studies in Florida showed that speckled trout seldom
move over 30 miles and that most fish never left the estuary, although
one fish tagged in the Apalachicola, Florida area was recovered 315
miles away near Grand
Spotted seatrout do move seasonally within a bay system, however. During
the pre-spawning period of February to early April, speckled trout are
scattered throughout the system. By spawning season, May to September,
almost all the fish large enough to spawn are concentrated in the higher
salinity waters of the lower bays. In October, with the onset of cool
fronts, spotted seatrout retreat inland into lower salinity estuaries,
where they typically remain well into January or February.
During spawning season, males form drumming aggregations
which can number in the hundreds or even thousands of fish. Within these
aggregations, each male vibrates his air bladder, producing a croaking
sound. When combined with the many other males' sounds, the result
sounds like drumming or roaring. The sound attracts females ready to
spawn. Both drumming aggregations and spawning take place in areas 6-165
deep with good tidal flow, such as passes and channels. Spawning begins
at sunset and is usually over by midnight.
Speckled trout spawning activity depends on environmental factors such
as currents, salinity and temperature. Most spawning activity seems to
take place in salinities of 17-35 parts per thousand (ppt). Full
strength seawater is 35 ppt. The two most important factors that
determine when speckled trout spawn are water temperature and day
length. Egg development begins to take place as days become longer in
spring. Water temperatures of 68°F seem to trigger spawning, which
continues as water temperature increases. Peak spawning takes place
between 77°F and 86EF. The cycle of the moon also seems to affect
spawning, with spawning peaks occurring on
or near the full moons of the spring and summer months. Females may
spawn every 7 to 14 days during the April to September spawning period.
Young spotted seatrout grow rapidly, reaching 8
inches by their first birthday and over 12 inches by age 2. Spotted
seatrout can live to over 12 years of age. Male trout grow slower and
don't live as long as females. Males don't reach 14 inches long
until 3 or 4 years old. Few males live over 5, so virtually all spotted
seatrout 5 pounds and larger are females.
Spotted seatrout are voracious
predators, especially in the summer when high spawning activity creates
demands. Fish under 12-14 inches eat a variety of foods, but more shrimp
and other crustaceans than anything else. As they grow, they shift their
food preference to fish, first to smaller fish such as silversides and
anchovies, then later to larger prey fishes such as mullets,
Typically 1-3 pounds, fish to 5 pounds are not rare, and occasional fish exceed 10 pounds.
Food Value :
Very good, excellent when not frozen
Description by: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter