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What are the white trout of the Gulf Coast?

Sand seatrout are often found in estuary and bay areas where spotted seatrout are common.
Sand seatrout are often found in estuary and bay areas where spotted seatrout are common.
Jimmy Jacobs

Spotted seatrout are by far the most popular game fish taken along the Gulf Coast. Whether fishing for fun and sport, or a fish dinner, the “speckled trout” are major targets.

Capt. Mike Scardino of Grand Isle, La. with a sand seatrout, which is often called a white trout.
Jimmy Jacobs

From Florida to Texas fishermen also mention catching white trout during their fishing trips. So what are these other trout?

To begin with, there is no actual white trout species of fish. There are two different fish that get labeled with this moniker. One is the silver seatrout and the other is the sand seatrout.

In most cases, anglers are talking about sand seatrout. They are the larger of the two fish and more often found inshore in the areas where spotted seatrout hang out. Thus the sand trout are more often hooked.

The sand trout are shaped similarly to spotted seatrout, but are completely missing the black spots and have a distinct yellow tint to their fins. Sands are smaller as well. The average fish is 10 inches and weighs less than a pound.

Similar to the spotted trout, sand trout are quite good on the dinner table, though they also share the quality of not being as good after freezing.

The range of the sand trout is all along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. Expect to find these fish in bays and estuaries, mainly in channels and around structure.

The silver seatrout is even smaller than the sand trout. Though they may reach 10 inches in size, they rarely tip the scales at more than half a pound.

Though shaped similar to the other trout species, silvers have no spots and are uniformly silver-gray over their entire bodies.

This species is found from Texas around to the Atlantic shores of Florida. They stay mostly in deeper areas offshore, over sand or sand and mud bottoms.

Both the silver and sand trout can be caught on shrimp baits, and the sands are susceptible to most lures that take spotted seatrout.

One other species confusing the issue when talking about white trout is the weakfish. Closely related to all three of the other trout species, weakfish are found only along the Atlantic shore from New England to north Florida.

Anglers used to catching them in those areas, but making first ventures to the Gulf waters often assume the sand and silver trout are immature weakfish. The weakfish, however, grows to much larger sizes.

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