Louisiana Speckled Trout Spawn

Published / Updated On:.
May 30, 2024
Louisiana Speckled Trout Spawn

Understand the Seasonal Speckled Trout Spawn To Improve Fishing Success

Speckled Trout are among the most prolific and popular game fish in Louisiana's bountiful waters. Speckled trout grow quickly and reproduce millions of offspring throughout their lifespan. Spawning peaks from mid May through June with continued spawning through August.

Although many will say the trout spawning season runs from April through September, the peak is generally May through August. This when trout start to move from inshore waters towards saltier waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

To survive, trout eggs require high salinity water so eggs remain buoyant and viable. When spawning time approaches, trout head towards these saltier waters. Away from major freshwater influences like the Mississippi River. The Gulf salinity levels average about 25 to 35 parts per thousand.

Typically, in Louisiana, trout like to spawn in water at least 15 parts per thousand of salinity or higher. Utilizing apps or websites that regularly publish salinity levels will help you identify area speckled trout hot spots.

Reproductive Ability

Speckled trout females can begin reproducing when they reach about 10 to 12 inches long which is typically about 12 to 18 months old. Exact timing when a female trout might spawn for the first time will depend on when she originally hatched. For instance, a Louisiana female that hatched in May 2023 would likely measure about 10 inches long by May 2024. She could make her first spawn in late summer 2024. The peak in August comes from fish that spawned the previous summer just coming into their reproductive potential. Although some trout can reach sexual maturity when they reach 10 inches long, not all 10 in fish will be mature enough to spawn. Some may not spawn until they reach 14" long.

Just because a female trout has reached sexual maturity, does not necessarily mean they will spawn. Young trout in the 10-14 inch range do not spawn as often as trout over 14 inches long. Unlike some freshwater species, speckled trout do not make nest or beds. Speckled trout are technically in the drum family and are more closely related to redfish, black drum, croakers, etc. Male trout generate a drum sound to attract females during the spawning months.

Trout Growth

monster speckled trout

As females release eggs, males quickly fertilize the eggs. Once males have fertilized the eggs, they separate from each other and typically group up in bachelor groups. After roughly 18 - 24 hours, the eggs hatch into larvae about 1/16 inch long. Rising tides carry the eggs and larvae toward the marshes and other places where they can find protection from predators. If it survives, a juvenile trout would reach about 2 inches long in 6-8 weeks. Juvenile trout generally stay in the marsh and estuaries for about 1 year before venturing out to deeper, saltier waters of the Gulf.

Female trout can release a clutch of eggs about once every 7 days for several months. Larger trout lay significantly more eggs than younger smaller trout. A 5 year-old female can produce 5 times as many eggs as a younger 1-2 year old trout. A single 4 year old female can lay 685,000 eggs at a time potentially producing millions of offspring during its lifetime.

It is estimated that a 12-inch Louisiana trout might spawn 5 million eggs in a year. A 14-inch fish may spawn nearly 8 million eggs a year and a 20-inch fish can spawn more than 20 million eggs a year.

Trout must lay huge numbers of eggs due to low survival rates and high mortality. Only 4-5 percent of hatchlings live long enough to spawn once. Few make it to 5 pounds. Very rarely does a trout surpass 8 pounds and even less 10 pounds. Besides fishing pressure, trout face countless natural threats and commercial bycatch waste.

Trout Fishing Frenzy

When frenzied trout gather in massive schools, anglers can catch them on just about anything they throw. Most popular here in the state of Louisiana anglers like to throw popping cork rigs tipped with live shrimp or plastics. Suspending baits, topwater lures and jigs tipped with plastic trailers also work. Put the bait in the right place and almost anything might entice those ravenous school trout.

When chasing bigger trout in deeper waters, throwing carolina rigged live shrimp or croakers off the bottom can produce some absolute monster speckled trout. And throwing top water baits near islands and reefs can produce some of the most intense fishing for these larger trout.

New Louisiana Speckled Trout Regulations

Under the new Louisiana laws regarding specks, anglers can keep up to 15 fish a day, and must be a minimum of 13 inches long. Only 2 fish may be 20+ inches. When fishing with a Louisiana charter captain on a paid charter, the captain cannot keep a limit.

Generally speaking trout in Louisiana waters can live up to 10 years old, however, very few fish ever reach that age and very few reach 3+ years of age.

With trout congregating in large schools during the spawn, the months of May and June offer anglers one of the best times to catch trout anywhere in the state. Typically anglers catch their biggest specks of the year in May and June. Traditionally, this is the best months to catch trophy sized trout in Louisiana.

With the water rising into the upper 70s and 80s across the state’s coast in May, trout turn more aggressive. They need to stock up on protein and calories to power them through the grueling spawn. At this time, anglers can catch trout with just about any method. In the spring, the marsh and estuaries start filling up with bait. Shrimp start moving back into the bays and estuaries. Menhaden better known as Pogies,  and mullets become plentiful. Huge schools of speckled trout push bait toward the surface to cut off their escape. From the air, birds spot any activity and swoop down to get their share of the bounty. So fishing diving birds in the spring usually pays off well.

Hopefully, the new regulations and closer study and monitoring of commercial operations will keep more spawning trout in Louisiana waters so these highly prolific and tasty fish will remain abundant for thousands of Louisiana anglers to enjoy for many years to come.

If you are looking to catch some big Louisiana Speckled Trout this year, check out our Louisiana Fishing Charter Prices to book your next fishing adventure.

Also read more about the new Louisiana Speckled Trout Regulations.

a little about the author
Capt Mike Del Toro
I am 46 years old born and raised in New Orleans, LA. I was fortunate to grow up fishing the inshore and offshore waters of Louisiana. I have fished both salt and freshwater my entire life all over the country and one thing is for certain. Nothing beats the beautiful pristine waters and marshes of the Sportsman's Paradise!
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