Monday, February 05, 2007

Speckled Trout Fishing Closed in North Florida

If you're an avid spotted seatrout fisherman, February is a key month to remember.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has designated February as a closed month for spotted seatrout (also called "speckled trout") in coastal waters of the state’s Northeast and Northwest seatrout regions.

Simply put, anglers may continue to fish for spotted seatrout in the affected areas during February, but all fish must be immediately released unharmed.

Northeast Seatrout Region waters include state waters north of the Flagler-Volusia County line to the Florida-Georgia border, and adjacent federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters. Northwest Seatrout Region waters include all state waters north and west of a line running due west from the westernmost point of Fred Howard Park Causeway, which is approximately 1.17 nautical miles south of the Pasco-Pinellas county line to the Florida-Alabama border, and adjacent federal EEZ waters.

During all months except February, anglers in the Northeast and Northwest seatrout regions may keep no more than five spotted seatrout measuring from 15-20 inches total length, with one trout exceeding 20 inches total length. The bag limit in the state's South Region is four fish per angler per day.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Speckled Trout Fishing Tips

Speckled trout are known by many different names such as: specks, spotted seatrout, yellow mouths, and paper-mouths. Brook trout are sometimes called "speckled" trout too - which can be confusing. But most of the time when you hear somebody talking about Speckled trout, they're talking about the saltwater species (and not Brook trout).

Speckled trout are found throughout the entire gulf region and are easily identified. They are silver in color with olive green tints on the back and numerous small black dots on the dorsal fin and into the tail. They also have two canine-like teeth in the upper jaw - a very distinguishing characteristic. Speckled trout tend to have an elongated body and large mouth.

The average Speckled trout is 12 - 14 inches and weighs 1 - 3 pounds, although they can weigh as much as 16 pounds. They're a favorite game fish for folks living Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

Speckled trout move in and out of estuaries (the part of the river or bay that joins the sea). They tend to spend the summer months in the lower estuaries where the water is saltier and the winter months in the upper estuaries where the water is less salty. They also tend to live in or near the same bay system their entire lives.

During the spawning season (May to September), Specks move into the lower estuaries. Spawning activity is dependent on currents, temperature and water salinity. But spawning season provides the best opportunities to catch Speckled trout - especially trophy size ones!

In October, Specks tend to move inland to lower salinity estuaries as cool fronts move in. They pretty much stay there into February. Between February and April, Speckled trout can be found scattered throughout the bay.

Speckled trout are predators. When they're smaller (under 12 - 14 inches), they mostly feed on shrimp and other crustaceans. As they grow larger, they prefer smaller fish (such as silversides and anchovies). Larger Specks commonly feed on mullets (also called jumping jacks), croakers and menhaden (also called pogies and shad).

Below are some tips for fishing for Speckled trout:

  1. Use live shrimp and small fish for bait. Lures (especially mirrorlures) work too, but Specks really love the smaller fish.
  2. Watch for baitfish activity (Specks do!).
  3. Fishing at night under bright light has been known to produce great results.
  4. May is a great time to catch Speckled trout as they move into the coastal regions to spawn. Any time during spawning season is a great time to catch Specks.
  5. Watch the birds diving for fish. You'll often find Speckled trout in the area.
  6. Watch the rains. Heavy rains often muddy the water and change the salt concentration. This can result in reduced feeding activity.
  7. In Louisiana, Calcaieu, East Timberliar Island and Breton Sound are some of the best areas that consistently produce large Speckled trout. Cocodrie is know for its numbers of Specks but not size.
For more tips and information, click the links below.



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