Spotted trout spawn in coastal bays, estuaries, and lagoons. They prefer to spawn in shallow grassy areas where the eggs and larvae are more protected from predators. They hatch in about 18 hours. The larvae feed mostly on zooplankton. they become juveniles after about 20 days. As they get older the fish begin to feed on benthic invertebrates and tiny shrimp, then shrimp and small fish. once they become adults the start to only feed on other fish. trout prefer to stay in sea grass beds and oysters reefs though out their life , looking for prey. They move into the Gulf of Mexico during fall and winter if the water becomes to cold. The fish return to the shallows of the bays and estuaries when the the water temperature rise again during the spring and summer. This species has evolved a strategy of using the food-rich cover of sea grass beds and oyster reefs as long as the shallow waters are warm enough, but when it gets too cold, fish move into the Gulf and wait for the bays and estuaries to warm back up.
Red drum inhabit inshore and offshore waters along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Key West and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of the red drum life cycle is spent in nearshore waters and estuaries. For the first three years of their lives red drum live in the bays or in the surf zone near passes. The lifespan of a red drum can exceed 40 years. Red drum begin spawning in the fall when daylight hours decrease and water temperature begins to cool. Males can spawn at two years of age and four pounds in weight, whereas females are sexually mature at about four years old and 13 pounds. they spend at least part of their life in the bays. Life for a red drum begins as an egg spawned during late summer and fall, usually from August into November. Adults gather in near-shore waters on the Gulf side of barrier islands near passes and channels to spawn. Each female can produce from 20,000 to 200,000 eggs per spawn and can spawn over a dozen times during a season. Females broadcast their eggs into the current where they are fertilized by the male and start their life cycle. They are primarily bottom feeders with a fondness for crabs and shrimp.
Both fish prefer shallow waters. they feed on small crustaceans such a crab or shrimp and as they grow older and larger they feed more on fish. In both species the female fish tend to be larger than the male. They also both spawn in late summer and fall.
On average Spotted sea trout are 19-25 inches in length and weigh 2 to 3 pounds while the red drum is larger at about 28 inches to 33 inches in length. Spotted Sea trout reaches sexual maturity at one to two years versus the red drum who reach sexual maturity later on between the third and fourth year.
Both red drum and spotted trout feed on small crustaceans when young, but as they both grow older they feed more on shrimp and fish. Red drum are generally are bottom feeders but will feed in the water column when the opportunity arises.
Spotted seatrout reaches sexual maturity at one to two years. A female spotted seatrout may spawn several times during the season. Younger females may release 100,000 eggs and older, larger females may release a million eggs. spotted seatrout spawn at night and usually within coastal bays, estuaries and lagoons. They prefer shallow grassy areas where eggs and larvae have some cover from predators.
Between the third and fourth year, the red drum reaches sexual maturity. Spawning season is from mid-August through mid-October in Gulf waters, near the mouths of passes and shorelines. Eggs incubate for 24 hours. Larvae are carried into tidal bays by the current. They move to quiet, shallow water with grassy or muddy bottoms to feed on detritus. Both preferring shallow grassy waters to lay their eggs.
During most of the Red drums life they live in in the fresh shallow waters of bays/estuaries.
Spotted trout also live in shallow waters of bays and estuaries, they also live in oyster beds and sea grass that attract prey. They are mostly active during spring and summer.
Both fish migrate to the gulf of mexico during winter where the water is warmer.