Summer is finally over and the fabulous fall fishing season is here. And while October brings on excellent chances to lure a big buck into range in the woods, a similar inshore coastal showdown shouldn’t be missed. Speckled trout are the prime targets in saltwater circles.

Specks make a living throughout the year in estuaries and coastal rivers, but fishermen in small, coastal communities know the best opportunity for a limit of trout is in the fall after the tourists have retreated from sand to their normal haunts. It’s when Ricky Kellum’s trout fishery in North Carolina’s coastal New River reaches a whole new level of fantastic.

“The New River is one of those spots where you can catch a limit of trout all year long,” said Kellum (910-330-2745), who runs Speckled Specialist Fishing Charters, “but a big group of fish always comes in every year around the month of October.”

For the past two years, Kellum has participated in a tagging study to track fish he’s caught in the New River estuary. According to tag return data, many of the fall arrivals come more northern locations, up to a state or two away, and many of the fish he tags in fall show up far to the north the next summer. 

“We are catching fish in Sneads Ferry from the Chesapeake Bay and off the Virginia coast,” he said. 

Speckled trout move south as soon as the water temperature begins to drop, and they move into sounds and estuaries to feed, typically for Kellum, around a specific weather event in October.

“We will get a major push of fish right after a major front or nor’easter passes through,” he said. “I am not sure if they are staging along the beach or