Winter flounder

Winter flounder
Difficulty

Period

All the year

Minimum size

12 inches

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Winter flounder (pseudopleuronectes americanus) is a right-eyed flatfish native to North Atlantic coast. It can be found from Labrador (Canada) to Georgia (US) but it is less common in the south of Delaware Bay. This species is the most common near-shore flounder you can find from Newfoundland down through Massachusetts. Its maximum weight is around 2,25 kg and it can reach around 61 cm length but larger species are found on Georges Bank where their body can reach 70 cm and 3,6 kg.

From April to June

Winter flounder can be caught all year long but you can catch more of them in spring. The peak season is from April to June on the North Atlantic coast. During this period winter flounders tend to swim near the surface. They display a very limited seasonal migration.

From June to September

Water temperature tends to warm up from June to September. As a result, winter flounder prefers moving to deeper waters.

From September to March

When autumn begins and when the water temperature gets cooler it moves inshore and stays in the bays overwinter.

How to fish for winter flounder ?

You will certainly find winter flounders to fish in soft muddy bottoms of bays and creeks. The best moment for fishing winter flounder is when the weather is sunny. Considering the outgoing tide is a very good point as well. It is recommended to fish during the last three hours of the outgoing and the beginning of the incoming tide because of the warmer water flowing.
While fishing, it is strongly advised to use live baitfish. Indeed winter flounder responds very well to live fish, sea worms and clams. These are their favorite baits but remember whatever bait you choose it should be small – no longer than 2 inches in length.
Winter flounder typically stays in one place on the bottom. Once your hook is set you just have to drop your bait to the bottom and let it drift. It is easily done from a boat, but it is important to make sure that you can feel the surface of the bottom.

How does winter flounder look like ?

Winter flounder has a small mouth and is a right-handed species. The blind side is white and the edge is often faintly tinged with blue while the lower side can be pure white or yellowish. Its fins re tinged with pink, red or yellow on the eyed side. As for the centrals and pectorals the most common color is ground tone on the eyed side and pure white on the blind side. Moreover, winter flounders change color to suit their surroundings.

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