Summer Flounder vs Winter Flounder (Comparison)

summer vs winter flounder
summer vs winter flounder

Flounders are a group of flatfish species that are also often known as demersal fish. These are varieties found at the bottom of oceans all around the world.

Some of these species might also enter estuaries but this usually depends on the variety and its characteristics.

Talking about this, there are different flounder fish, all of which have unique habits.

Depending on the variety you are looking for, certain things should be kept in mind. Flounder fish are generally hunted down because of their delicious meat.

Though, people should note that this is also quite healthy. Just like the habits of these fish, the taste can also vary depending on the species.

Considering this, people often wonder what the best type of flounder is. Both summer flounder and winter flounder are good options to catch.

These varieties are available widely, but the main issue users run into is that these fish are too similar. This is why tons of people can have trouble trying to distinguish between them.

Hence, we will be using this article to provide you with a comparison between the two varieties.

Summer Flounder vs Winter Flounder

Flounder Fish Summer Flounder Winter Flounder
Facing Direction Faces Left When Pointing Up Faces Right When Pointing Up
Body Color Lighter Shade of Dappled Brown Darker Shade of Blackish Color
Family Name Paralichthyidae Family Pleuronectidae Family
Mercury Content Low In Mercury Low in Mercury
Type Of Scales Soft Scales Rougher Scales
Lifespan Of Fish 12 to 14 Years 15 to 18 Years

Summer Flounder

Summer flounder or also known as “fluke” is a marine flatfish that is found in both Canada and the United States.

These fish are commonly found roaming around the Eastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Aside from this, the variety can also be found roaming around in waters from North Carolina.

The growth of these varieties is quite fast as you will notice that they become large within months.

Though, the only downside is that their lifespan is considered to be short when compared with other fish. Summer flounder usually live up to 12 to 14 years.

summer flounder

When comparing the male flounder with females, people will notice that the females grow up to 3 feet in size while the males are only around 2 feet.

The variety can start reproducing as soon as they reach the age of 2 or 3 which makes them a great option for fish farms.

The variety usually starts spawning in early winter or fall as this is when these fish start to migrate offshore.

Leaving behind their location is mainly due to the change in weather as the variety cannot handle high levels of winter. The body color of summer flounder is usually a shade of dappled brown.

This is much lighter when you compare it with other similar varieties of these fish. You will notice that users also often consume the meat in these fish.

When it comes to this, the main reason behind this is that flounder is a delicious variety that is also low in mercury.

This allows users to eat a lot of meat without having to worry about getting sick. The protein content in the fish is also quite high which makes this a great addition to most diets.


Aside from this, there are tons of other nutrients inside the meat of this variety that further make it amazing.

When simply looking at summer flounders, people can easily mistake them for winter flounders.

This is why two main things should be checked to avoid confusion. The first thing is holding the fish in such a way that its face is upwards.

People will now notice that the eyes of the variety are on its left side. This paired with the soft scales makes it easier for most fishermen to distinguish these fish.

When comparing both varieties side-by-side, the differences become a lot more apparent.

Winter Flounder

Winter flounder or also known as the black back is a variety from the family Pleuronectidae. These fish are native to the western-north Atlantic coast.

In most cases, people can find winter flounders stretching from the coasts of the United States, Labrador, Canada, and even Georgia.

While the variety is also present in Delaware, people will notice that the southern part of the state usually has fewer of these fish roaming around.

The main reason behind this is the hot temperature in these areas. As the name applies, winter flounder are generally found in colder areas.

winter flounder

When comparing the variety with summer flounder, people will notice that the areas that these fish roam around in are completely different.

Both varieties might be present in the Atlantic Ocean but these live in different spots that ensure people don’t mistakenly catch one of these fish.

Depending on the variety you are looking for, the location that you fish in will play a huge role.

As long as you ensure that you are fishing in a spot where there have been confirmed sightings of the variety, catching these should be a lot easier.

With that being said, another thing that people should note is that winter flounder have their eyes on the right side.

brown flounder

Their body color is also a lot darker while the scales on them are brittle and rough. These factors make it obvious for beginners to tell these fish apart from summer flounders.

As for the fillet, the taste is generally similar but the main reason winter flounder are hunted more is because of their availability.

The fish has a longer lifespan that ranges from 15 to 18 years. Additionally, these produce a lot more eggs which means it is safe to hunt this variety down without any worries.

The variety reproduces and spawns during winters while the weather is still cold.

Additionally, they enjoy staying at inshore waters which makes it easier for people to catch them in bulk. With that being said, most users going through this article should be able to tell how the varieties are different.

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