As one might guess from its name, the winter flounder is most commonly caught in the cold months of the year. It moves into the lower Hudson from late winter to early spring to spawn. However, small flounder can be caught in New York Harbor even in the summer. The winter flounder is an important sport fish, also known to anglers as the blackback flounder or simply as flounder.
Winter flounder are generally brownish on top, but may be dark gray or olive green. Most of those we net are less than twelve inches long, but they may reach twenty inches and a weight of two pounds.
Flatfish are often referred to as being “lefties” or “righties” depending on which side of their head has eyes. Larval flatfish start out with eyes on both sides of their head like a typical fish but as they develop, one eye migrates through to the other side. The fish then moves to the bottom of the sea or river with its eyes facing up. To determine if your flatfish is a lefty or righty, turn it so that the tip of its mouth is pointing up.