When you’re fishing in Georgia’s coastal waters, it’s pretty common to come across Speckled Trout, otherwise, know as Sea Trout. They are an extremely popular sportfish because of the fight and because they make for an excellent meal. Speckled Trout are found year-round on this coast and inhabit areas near oyster rakes and marshy shorelines, making them an easy target by land or boat. During the winter months, another type of trout moves into this water. This type of trout is called the Gray Trout otherwise know as a Weakfish. What is the difference between a Gray Trout and a Speckled Trout?

While many fishermen are aware of the difference, some are unfamiliar. Its crucial to know how to differentiate between each of those because the size regulations are different. 

What are the characteristics of a Sea Trout/Speckled Trout-

  1. The fish’s body is without scales except for a small row near the base of the dorsal and anal fin.
  2. Each side of the fish is almost silver with black spots covering the upper section from the caudal fin to the dorsal fin. 
  3. The fish is generally narrow and long in shape.
  4. When you open the fish’s mouth, the inside is nearly yellow in color. 

What is the range of a Sea Trout-

Speckled Trout are found both in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. On the east coast they have a range on the northern side up to Maryland and down into Florida.

In the Gulf, expect to find Sea Trout from Florida all the way west to Texas.

How big to Speckled Trout get?

These trout get pretty big. Sea Trout reach a maximum weight of around 18 pounds and grow nearly forty inches in length. The trout on the larger side is most often referred to as “Gator” trout. 

What are the characteristics of a Gray Trout/Weakfish-

  1. One of the most significant differences between a Weakfish and Sea Trout are the coloration of the anal, pelvic fins, and pectoral fins. Each of these is almost always bright yellow.
  2. They do not have well-defined spots and can vary in color from gold to green, purple, or even blue.
  3.  Most of the spots are found on the upper portions of the fish’s body.
  4. The Gray Trout is long and stocky.

What is the range of a Gray Trout?

On the east coast of the United States, Weakfish are most frequent between New York and North Carolina. However, they migrate south during the colder months into South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. 

The Gray Trout is not often found in the Gulf of Mexico.

How big do Weakfish grow?

Most are caught in a range between two and four pounds; however, they can found up to eighteen pounds and thirty-six inches in length. 

With these two types of fish being intermingled with each other, it is necessary to know the difference between them if you plan to harvest trout. The size and bag limits of a Sea Trout versus a Weakfish are different in Georgia. Check the current regulations before you head out for the day. Also, remember to get a Georgia Saltwater Fishing License. If you’re caught without a license, undersized fish, or too many on ice, the fines can be hefty.

Now that understanding the difference between the two types of trout is clear, it’s time to head out on the water and test your luck. These fish are aggressive eaters and are most commonly caught on a live shrimp with a popping cork. Ask around your local bait shop for some reports, tips, and tricks. Catchem up.