Winter Flounder

Information from Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay

Winter flounder - Pleuronectes americanus


winter flounder


Diagnostic characteristics: Both pectoral fins present; margin of preopercle free; eyes located on right side of head; lateral line nearly straight; caudal margin convex. Body elliptical; dorsal and ventral outlines about evenly curved; head small; mouth small; teeth small and present only on the left side of each jaw; scales rather small; dorsal fin long-based, with 60-76 rays, and originating near anterior portion of dorsal-most eye; anal fin base shorter than dorsal fin base and originating posterior to pelvic fin; pectoral fin small; pelvic fin small and originating ventroanterior to pectoral fin. Coloration varying considerably, depending on substrate and on size of fish; body olive green, with reddish brown spots on ocular side; blind side white; background color pale or dusky; spots prominent, obscure, or almost absent.

Size: Maximum adult size 64 cm TL (2 ft), with inshore specimens (especially from Chesapeake Bay) 20-40 cm TL (8-16 in)

Habitat, biology and fisheries: In contrast to most other marine fishes of the Chesapeake Bay, the winter flounder is more abundant in the upper bay than in the lower bay. This species is found most frequently on muddy or vegetated bottoms. Spawning occurs in nearshore and estuarine waters from late winter to early spring. The winter flounder primarily feeds on small crustaceans and worms. Along the middle Atlantic and New England coasts, the winter flounder is pursued by both recreational and commercial fisheries.

Distribution: Occuring coastally from Labrador to Georgia

NEAMAP Winter Flounder Catch By Cruise Map

NEAMAP Winter Flounder Catch By Year Maps: