Winter Flounder (Pleuronectes americanus) Family Pleuronectidae, Righteye flounders
Common names: blackback, lemon sole
Description: Their color, which varies with the substrate they occupy, can range from reddish brown to olive green to almost black. Their underside is white. Winter flounder are deeply compressed in shape and have a small mouth. Their eyes are located on their right side, thus making them a right sided flounder. They have an almost straight lateral line. The maximum size for this species is around 23 inches in length and about 6 pounds in weight.
Where found: inshore and offshore
Similar Gulf of Maine species: smooth flounder, witch flounder yellowtail, dab
Remarks: Winter flounder are the most common of the shallow water flounders. They frequent estuaries, coastal waters and offshore fishing banks. In Maine, they are a popular sportfish. A light to medium weight rod equipped with a suitable reel and loaded with 10 to 12 pound test line works well for this species. Lures for the most part have proven to be ineffective for flounder fishing. Favorite baits include marine worms and clams. Being the thickest and meatiest of all the flatfish smaller than the halibut, winter flounder are highly prized as a food fish.
Records: MSSAR (Maine State Saltwater Angler Records)
IGFA All – Tackle World Record
Fish Illustrations by: Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 5632286
Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.