Global Range: Subspecies oxyrinchus: Atlantic coast and major estuarine drainages from Labrador to northeastern Florida (at least formerly). Anadromous; spends most of adult life in salt or brackish water in the Atlantic Ocean from Hamilton River, Labrador, and George River, Ungava Bay, Labrador, south to St. Johns River, Florida, and ranging south in winter to Port Canaveral and Hutchinson Island, Florida. Spawning areas and juvenile fish are found in large coastal rivers and estuaries. Fresh and brackish water records are from the St. Lawrence River, Canada; Gulf of Maine; Hudson River, New York; the Delaware River, Pennsylvania; Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland; Delaware Bay, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James River estuaries, Virginia; Roanoke River, North Carolina; Edisto, Pee Dee, Savannah, Ashepoo, Cooper, Congaree, Santee, Sanpit, Winyah and Waccamaw Rivers, South Carolina; and St. Mary's River, Georgia (Gilbert 1989, Collins and Smith 1997). May currently occur in Florida only as a winter resident (Hipes 1996). Little is known of the spawning grounds in Canadian waters (Marine and Coastal Species Information System 1996).
Subspecies desotoi: Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico from Suwannee River (and formerly Tampa Bay), Florida, to Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. There are old records from Bermuda and a doubtful record from French Guiana.