Winter Flounder Vs. Summer Flounder

Flounders can change their colors to fit best in the environment. But there is a catch. 

You will see numerous flounders around you, but all of them do not look alike. Since each of them carries certainties, their complexion, time of spawning, migrating, and facing will be different. 

Meanwhile, winter flounders and summer flounders are primarily apparent in people’s eyes. 

So why not discuss them? For this reason, I am going to show you some terms with a brief abstract between Winter flounder Vs. Summer flounder. Well, these two fishes have some similarities along with dissimilarities. 

Now the question is, what are the significant comparisons that catch everyone’s eyes. Let’s see through them below.

Winter flounder vs. Summer flounder: Comparison chart

Features Winter Flounder Summer Flounder
Real name Blackback Flounder Fluke or Northern Flounder
Color Blackish brown Light or dappled brown
Teeth Doesn’t have teeth Have teeth
Facing Towards right side Towards left side
Lives in Maryland to Labrador North Carolina to Maine

Winter Flounder: A few traits

Winter flounders are another name for blackback flounders. There are its traits.

Winter Flounder
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Time to return to the bay

If you see, winter flounders do not come into the bay so easily. They only come into the bay during fall and stay from winter to spring.

Even if they come into the bay, winter flounders do not roam around other fishes since they do not have any teeth to protect them. 

Meaning of name

Similarly, winter flounders or flounders have a certain meaning of their name. Before that, the name Flounder came from a Dutch word with the meaning of “flop out.” 

Because flounders flop on the bottom of oceans, they can kick up sands in order to cover themselves. And obviously, their color is darker and looks like blackish brown.


Another important thing about flounders is that they move into backwaters during the month of September and stay till May. Again, in the month of June, they migrate outward within a depth of 80 to 120 feet. And their time of spawning out is during summer. 

Survival and Spooning 

Well, offshore fishing areas to nearshore waters are the only place to migrate for winter flounders in times of the winter season. 

Usually, they can survive at a near temperature of 28.4°F, i.e., seawater’s freezing point. Keeping all these aside, their ideal temperature for spawning and living is 32°F to 50°F.

Summer Flounder: A few traits

Unlike winter flounders, summer flounders only come into the bay during the summer season. Furthermore, flukes (summer flounders) have teeth and are not seen near winter flounders generally. 

Summer Flounder or Fluke
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Meaning of name

Coming to their name, Fluke mostly sounds like a freak occurrence, and it is none other than a right-side fish for people. The reason flukes got such a name is because of their tendency to migrate. 


Summer flounders migrate mostly in offshore water when it is fall or winter and in nearshore water during summer and spring. Whenever fishers focus on nearshore waters, they find summer flounders in a greater range. 

And from the above table, you must have known flukes are light brown in appearance.

Ideal temperature

The ideal temperature for the summer flounders for reproducing is 55°F to 66°F. They reproduce in water in a certain depth of 60 feet to 160 feet. 


Although flukes are short-lived creatures, their growth is nice. Normally, they weigh somewhat 26 pounds and grow from 35 inches to 37 inches. 

Winter flounder vs. Summer flounder: Head to head

While judging a significant difference between flounders and flukes, you will see one thing at first glance. That is, summer flounders are called right-side fish, and winter flounders are called left-side fish.

Winter Flounder Vs. Summer Flounder
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Winter flounders usually live in Maryland to Labrador. Whereas summer flounders gathered their space from North Carolina to Maine. 

Though winter flounders some into the bay during summer, summer flounders migrate in winter. Contrastingly, flounders are more blackish than flukes. Hence, you can make them blackish brown, but summer flounders are none other than dappled brown.

More comparison relevant article you’ve been missing –

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Comparison Between Carp vs Catfish

Grass Carp VS Common Carp: Identical Differences

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bait is best for winter flounders?

Nothing but sandworms or bloodworms tend to be the best bait for winter flounders. Indeed, bloodworms are more pieces that need to be cut small precisely. Two to three inches would be a perfect size for cutting them at most. And for adjusting your bait’s hook, dangle it at least part of the worm.

Is summer flounder a good thing to eat?

Summer flounder contains low-fat sources with niacin and vitamin B. Moreover, flukes have flaky white meat and edible skin outside. Hence, it is obvious to get a fine texture and delicate flavor from summer flounder. So those who are hesitating to eat summer flounders, don’t worry. These flukes are good to eat and are easily substituted.

Summer flounders live for how many years?

Summer flounders usually grow fast and do not last for long. It means they are short-lived animals and can survive from 12 to 14 years. To be more specific, male summer flounders grow up to 2 feet or more. On the other hand, female summer flounders do not grow more than 3 feet and are able to reproduce when they are 2 to 3 years old. 

Related: Are Spanish Mackerel Good to Eat?

Is a winter flounder a good thing to eat?

If you are looking for a smart seafood alternative, winter flounder always stands first. The reason is winter founders can be responsibly harvested and sustainably managed. Nonetheless, all these features of winter flounder fall under U.S regulations. So yeah, winter flounder is a great thing you can have as seafood.

Related: Are Bonefish Good To Eat?

How is the taste of winter flounder?

Flounders are basically known as mild-tasting fish where you will get a sweet undertone slightly. Within a delicate texture, winter flounders contain low oil and essential nutrients. Not only that, you will get fine moisture from a winter flounder fish. Conversely, similar fishes like winter flounder have different ingredients included like- branzino, tilapia, and halibut.

Relevant: What does Crawfish Taste Like?

End Note

Summing up, we got to see numerous differences between winter flounders and summer flounders. When you will be judging some contrasts in flounders and flukes, see which side they move towards. 

If it seems like a right-side fish, that is a winter flounder, whereas summer flounders are left-side fish.

On the flipping side, winter flounders and summer flounders vary in color too. Winter flounders look almost black, but summer flounders are light brown. 

Again, winter flounders are being seen less in nearshore areas of water, whereas summer flounders live in nearshore areas of water most of the time. 

2 thoughts on “Winter Flounder Vs. Summer Flounder”

  1. Most people these days dont know what a winter flounder is, primarily because they are overfished to to a combination of greed and technological sdvances in locaton and harvesting fish by the commercial fishing industry. A sad reality ,the demise of this fish. Yet you seem to smugly accept this fact . No mention of it. Just like nothing is wrong. What they dont know wont hurt them. Everything is fine. We accept what was done to these fish. Why educate the public about the chare teristics of these fish, when they probably will never see one due to scarsity. Im talking about the winter flounder. What was so common is now almostgone. And itwas preventable. Next to no one even tries to fish for winter flounde anymore.please do smething usefull .people ned toknow the truth.

    1. Thank you RONALD BYRNES. Glad to hear your response. We must do something effective before its too late.

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