Fishing for Silver Trout (Sand Trout) – a Complete Guide!
This article will thoroughly cover fishing for silver trout. They are also known as “white trout” and “sand trout”. Silver trout are similar to speckled trout, though usually smaller in size. They also do not have any spots and have a purple hue. While few anglers target silver trout specifically, there are some who do. They travel in large schools and once located, a bunch can be caught in short order.
Silver trout, Cynoscion nothus, are found along the east coast of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico. They are usually found in large schools. Silver trout are similar to spotted sea trout, though smaller in most cases. They fight hard and are good to eat.
Silver trout are very aggressive. Perhaps the fact that they school adds to their competitive nature. Silver trout also pull surprisingly hard for their size, much stronger than a speckled trout of the same size. They are also found in deeper water than spotted sea trout.
My name is Capt Jim Klopfer and I am a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. We get silver trout in my region in the cooler months and into spring. They are caught in deeper holes, over deeper grass flats, and in the surf. They provide fast action, a great little fight, and some fine fillets. In most states, silver trout are not regulated.
Fishing for silver trout
Fishing for silver trout is relatively uncomplicated. In most cases, locating them will result in catching them. Silver trout are aggressive and will usually cooperate. Bottom fishing with shrimp and casting or vertically fishing with jigs are the top two techniques.
The top natural bait for silver trout are shrimp, and there really is not a close second. Live shrimp work well, but a smaller piece of fresh dead or frozen shrimp will catch plenty of silver trout. Shrimp are usually fished on the bottom, which is where silver trout are generally found.
A simple bottom rig works best. The basic two hook high/low or chicken rig works fine. Anglers will often “double up” and catch two silver trout at once. Anglers drift fish deeper holes that are 10 feet to twenty feet deep. Anglers often idle around until fish are marked on the bottom machine.
Fishing for silver trout with jigs
The top artificial lure by far for fishing for silver trout is a jig. A jig can be presented right on the bottom where silver trout are found. A jig head with a grub body works very well. Color really does not matter that much, though bright colors such as chartreuse and pink are good choices. Silver trout are often caught in winter when the water is stirred up, bright colors stand out.
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Clients on my fishing charters often catch silver trout on jigs while drifting the grass flats in 5 feet to ten feet of water. I fish using this technique a lot as it produces spotted sea trout, bluefish, pompano, ladyfish, and other species. This includes silver trout as well. Sharp hops off the bottom are usually the most productive.
The best flats are those that have scattered patches of grass and sand. Silver trout often lie in the sandy spots. Also, flats with deep holes or channels are very good spots to cast a jig in search of silver trout. I like a ¼ ounce jig head with a 3” soft plastic grub. My top choice is a 3” Gulp Shrimp, it has both action and terrific scent.
Vertical jigging for silver trout
Vertical jigging is a very effective technique for silver trout fishing. It is the method that I most often use when specifically targeting silver trout. This is usually done in water ten feet or deeper. It has the advantage of not having to re-bait the hook if a bite is missed. Also, in most cases, silver trout will aggressively take a jig.
I will at times drop down in size when vertically jigging for silver trout. Smaller freshwater crappie jigs can be extremely effective. I will even use a pair of jigs as well. Two 1/8 ounce jigs with a 2” chartreuse curly tail will catch a ton of silver trout!
Surf fishing for silver trout
Surf fishing for silver trout can be very productive as well. Many anglers fishing for whiting have been pleasantly surprised by a feisty silver trout. As with other silver trout fishing techniques, surf fishing for them is not complicated.
The top baits used by anglers surf fishing for silver trout are shrimp and prepared baits, particularly FishBites. Fresh or frozen shrimp can both be used effectively. Fishbites work well as they stay on the hook and add some color to the presentation.
Read my article on surf fishing for whiting
A two hook bottom rig works best when surf fishing for whiting and silver trout. A standard 10 foot to 14 foot rod will get the line out far enough and up over the breakers. Silver trout will at times be found close to shore in the first trough. This is especially true on parts of the Gulf Coast. Anglers can cast jigs in this situation.
Silver trout are excellent table fare
Silver trout are very good to eat. They are very similar to speckled trout, though perhaps not quite as firm. They can get a bit mushy. It is best to get them on ice right away and they are very good when eaten fresh. Silver trout can be frozen, but again, they can get soft. While in many states there are no restrictions on silver trout, anglers should be responsible in the harvest.
In conclusion, this article on fishing for silver trout will help anglers catch more of these tasty and hard fighting fish!