What’s fresh in April? Spotted Seatrout

How to spot one

Dark gray above with bluish reflections. Numerous round black spots irregularly scattered on back and sides extend to soft parts of dorsal and caudal fins. Two large canine-like teeth at tip of the upper jaw.

 Some of the best trout fishing can be found around the Lowcountry inshore areas from late fall to early spring. Spotted trout move around with the tide so look for them over live bottom areas, marsh edges, grass patches, creek mouths, oyster reefs or outcroppings and channels. Live shrimp are the preferred meal for trout but they are often fooled by various artificial baits like DOA Shrimps, Soft Plastic, topwater plugs, as well as flies that mimic a baitfish or shrimp. Some anglers troll slowly along grass lines while others drift bait on cork rigs or cast to likely spots when searching for fish. Focus on moving (but clean) water and once you catch a fish, concentrate on that area since trout generally travel in schools.

Spotted seatrout has a mild flavor with ample moisture content and a light flaky texture, making it a perfect option for a multitude of recipes and dishes. Because trout have thin fillets, they are easy to cook on the stovetop or skillet but can be just as good baked or grilled. Seatrout is commonly paired with aromatics such as lemon or garlic.

A spotty record

Temperature and salinity influence distribution and abundance so trout are a little less predictable than other inshore species. In January 2018, for example, SCDNR was encouraging the catch and release of spotted sea trout in order to help recover the population after an especially cold winter. In South Carolina, seatrout typically inhabit estuaries year-round but tend to congregate in the cooler months, making them easy targets for anglers with local knowledge. Source: SCDNR

Spotted SeatroutGreat places to get them

If going out to fish for your own seatrout isn’t an option, you should be able to find spotted seatrout at the following local markets this month:

• Barnacle Bill’s

• Benny Hudson Seafood

• Bluffton Farmer’s Market

• Piggly Wiggly HHI

• Sea Eagle Market

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen

Southern-style remoulade sauce


1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chili sauce

2 tablespoons Creole mustard (Zatarain’s)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

4 medium scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped green olives

2 tablespoons minced celery

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Directions [1] Mix together mayonnaise, chili sauce, mustard, olive oil, hot sauce, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. [2] Stir in scallions, parsley, olives, celery and garlic. [3] Season with chili powder, and salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate.

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen 

Pan-fried seatrout


Fresh seatrout, dressed (around 4 1/2 pounds)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Lemon slices

Remoulade sauce (recipe left)


Directions [1] Rinse seatrout thoroughly in cold water; pat dry. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Roll fish in flour, dip in egg and dredge in cornmeal. [2] Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add seatrout and cook until golden brown, turning once. The fish is done when tested with a fork. Place on paper towels before transferring fish to the serving plate. Garnish with lemon slices and serve with remoulade sauce (recipe left).

Other recipe ideas

Seatrout baked in spicy lemon butter sauce.

Seatrout with garlic lemon butter herb sauce.

Seatrout in capers and white wine.

Pecan-crusted seatrout with chile-lemon oil.

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