Silver trout (Cynoscion nothus) are abundant and make for a great target species for novice and professional fisherman alike. They also make for excellent table fare and are easily caught using both artificials and live bait. This article will be a complete guide on catching Silver trout and the recommended seasons, gear, bait, and tackle. Before we dive into the details, I would like to tell you a little about the silver trout AKA white trout.
We consider the white trout to be the little brother of the larger speckled trout. They are much smaller in size, rarely exceeding one pound.
Silver trout are beautiful fish. Usually, they display a grey back, silversides, and a bright white belly. Their fins are yellow with a darker dorsal fin. There may be small rows of dots along the sides, but they are not nearly as prevalent as the speckled trout. Silver trout are often confused with sand trout; they look very similar but differentiated by their yellow tint and heavier bodies. Silver trout are the smallest of the saltwater trout species.
I always found it interesting that more professional guides or recreation fishers do not regularly target silver trout. They don't have the same exciting gamefish reputation as the BIG three (Snook, speckled trout, and redfish), and I imagine that is primarily due to their smaller stature. However, silver trout feed very aggressively and are a ton of fun on light spinning tackle. They also make for excellent table fare even though you have to catch a dozen or more fish for a substantial meal.
"Silvers are often seen as a byproduct catch." According to Capt. Chris. However, when clients want to put meat in the boat, there is nothing better. The minimal regulations and flaky white meat make trout ideal candidates for a hot skillet. I always say, even though silver trout have no size or bag limits, be sure to take what you need and conserve for another day.
Light spinning gear is ideal for saltwater trout fishing; although they are tenacious feeders, they rarely grow to more than a pound. My preferred setup includes an Okuma Helios HSX-30 spooled with 10lb 8x Eminent Braid. A seven-foot medium-fast Okuma rod will provide the sensitivity and backbone necessary to boat all of the trout your heart desires. A light leader is vital for me, and a 15-20lb fluorocarbon leader works like a charm.
Catch Silver Trout on Live Bait or Artificial Lures
Unlike Speckled trout who take refuge in the shallower grass flats, I find that silver trout like to hang around deeper drops, channels, points, etc. If you can locate an excellent channel with structure, whether it be natural or man-made, there will be a good chance that you will find the silvers. In Tampa Bay, a fire sure way of locating trout, especially in the winter, is to fish the lights under the piers at night. The lights attract an array of smaller baitfish, which in turn attract larger hungry fish.
The Skyway piers will most definitely hold fish this time of year; you can also locate silver trout around the Gandy boat ramp. Look for deeper holes around 10 to 15 feet in depth, and keep an eye out for bait on your fishfinder. Casting a search bait, such as an artificial lure, will help you quickly locate a hungry school of fish.
As I stated above, silver trout make for excellent table fare, preparation is easy, and there are thousands of delicious recipes. Have a look at this recipe that will indeed have the family smiling ear to ear.
Prep time is approximately 20 minutes—Bake fish for four to six minutes per 1/2 inch thickness. Preheat over to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
I prefer to use fresh fillets, not frozen, rinse the fish fillets, and pat dry. Cut into four servings. Add milk to a shallow dish, place flour in another container. Combine the parmesan, dill, breadcrumbs, and pepper in the third dish.
Dip the fresh fillets in the milk and then into the flour, then dip back into the milk and finally into the combined breadcrumb mixture. Place fish on a greased baking sheet, bake uncovered at 450 degrees for four to six minutes, or until flaky.
Silver trout are not the largest, fastest, or best game fish, but I think they deserve more recognition than they currently get. They make for the perfect catch for beginners or professionals alike; they taste superb and reproduce quickly. What are your thoughts regarding the smaller silver trout? Do you specifically target them, and if so, what is your go-to gear, bait, and method?
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