The spotted seatrout, also known as speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), 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. 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.
The average size of spotted seatrout is 0.5-1.0 kg (1-2 lb), but in most areas fish up to 2.5 kg (5 lb) are fairly common. Fish weighing 3.5-4.5 kg (8-10 lb) are rare. The world record is 7.9 kg (17 lb 7 oz).