Length - Maximum of approx. 1 – 3 feet
Weight - Maximum of approx. 3 – 25 lbs.
The summer flounder is a bottom dweller found throughout the waters along the Eastern seaboard, exhibiting the highest densities between North Carolina and Massachusetts.
These flat fish spend the winter months in deep offshore waters, moving into the coastal habitats of inlets, beaches, estuaries, and bays throughout the warmer months.
The summer flounder is an ambushes a variety of prey from small fish to crustaceans.
The summer flounder grows rapidly, and is equipped to reproduce by the age of 2 or 3. They spawn in deep offshore waters throughout the fall, peaking in October and November when the offshore waters are most productive. Mature females can produce 500 thousand to 4 million eggs throughout the spawning season. The enhanced levels of phytoplankton present during this season provide ample food for the young flounder. Eventually these young flounder will move in from the offshore environment to their nursery grounds found in coastal waters.
Importance to Fisheries and Aquaculture:
Summer flounder have been exploited by the commercial fishing industry utilizing bottom trawls for many years. While bottom trawls are known to cause a great deal of disturbance to bottom habitat, the sandy bottom areas preferred by summer flounder are quite resilient to these disturbances. Summer flounder are not only targeted by the commercial sector, but also are highly desired by recreational anglers throughout their range.
The summer flounder can burrow rapidly in sand and mud, while also changing their color to match habitat. This ability to camouflage aid in their ability to ambush prey and avoid predation.