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Thread: PWS Fish ID help

  1. #1
    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Question PWS Fish ID help

    Does anyone know what species of flatfish these fish are? Numerous numbers caught in fairly shallow water (<100'); all from PWS and all small (<18"). Believe them to be either a Rock Sole or immature halibut.

    Probably impossible to tell for certain from these pics, but had so much fun disguising my son, just had to post....

    Thanks.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    They might be rock sole - I'm not up on my sole/flounder ID particulars - but they're not immature halibut. We used to just call them flounder when I was a kid and we would catch them by the dozens.

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Those look very similar to the flounder caught off the homer spit by the bucket full.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Thanks, Brian...will have to sample a meal of "flounder" next week. For my knowledge, how are you certain they are not youngster halibut? Based on the curve on their lateral line above pectoral, was pretty certain they had to be Rock Sole or young halibut.

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    I will agree with Brian. Here's what i looked at.




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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There are quite a few varieties of flounder in the Pacific Northwest. If you drop down in tackle size they are fairly easy to catch. Some of the flounders flesh will break down quickly due to an enzym they have and the meat will be mushy. No problem if you eat them right after you catch them, but if they've been in a cooler for more than a half day, it will be an issue.
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    The quickest way to tell between a small halibut and a flounder is the roughness of the skin. Halibut are smooth and slimy, flounder and sole (atleast the AK varieties) are rough.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Do believe these fish were rough feeling. Thanks.

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    yellow fin sole. 100%

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    Yep that the same thing we were catching in about 25' of water guess I'll have to fill up the bucket next week. We keep a few and fried them up
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    Quote Originally Posted by mallardman View Post
    yellow fin sole. 100%
    Ding, ding we have a winner.
    They are exported from the Bering Sea fishery to China for institution food (schools,prisons). Probably tells you all you need to know about them.

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Wow...googled that yellowfin and learned that the annual AK legal catch is about 100K tons, which is about 20 million pounds...that's a lot of little fish to filet! Says that population is not overfished, and that halibut and crab bycatch limits end the commercial fishery for yellowfin sole.

    We have caught some small, slick-skinned light colored sole in PWS, we've been calling the "butter sole". Also, so very rough ones with a mottled dark coloration we have been calling "starry flounder" but those look mighty similar to those yellowfin. We have eaten a few of each, and yummy but too much work for such small fillets.

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron View Post
    . We have eaten a few of each, and yummy but too much work for such small fillets.
    What's funny is I'm from South Carolina and we tried to catch flounder that size, Now we throw those back up here LOL!!
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    I've eaten a flounder once in my life from Alaskan waters. Don't know why I didn't do it again, I was a kid at the time, I filleted it and my mom sauteed it in a pan with butter, darn good stuff. I've read somewhere that Starry flounder get up to 28" long. I've caught a few big ones but never one that big. They do put up a good fight on a trout rod though.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by mallardman View Post
    yellow fin sole. 100%
    Yup. See that black line running all along the body at the base of the fins?

    Yellow sole. Toss em back.

  16. #16

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    I've eaten just about every kind of Alaska flatfish. The bigger starry flounder aren't too bad (black bars on the fins and starry scales, easy to id). Flathead sole are the best but you probably won't find those inside PWS. Rock sole are better than yellowfin but can't say I care for either. The deep water flats are real tasty (Turbot and rex sole)

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    Stary flounder are great eating as long as you don't catch them when they come into the river flats to breed, during that time thier meat can be mushy.

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    yellowfin are H&G (headed and gutted) and sent to China for reprocessing - apparently filleting by hand in Chinese factories has a higher recovery rate than machines. They are then refrozen and sent all over the world ... it's a good product and biomass is the Bering is about 2 million metric tons.

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