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Bottomfish Identification: Flatfish

Petrale Sole
Eopsetta jordani

Commonly caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls and occasionally by longline gear.  They are rarely caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound.

Description: A right-eyed flatfish with an oval to round body shape.  The eyed side is uniformly light to dark brown and smooth while the blind side is white, sometimes with traces of pink. This species has a caudal fin that is longest in the middle and slightly indented near the edges. The lateral line has a low curve over the pectoral fin and no accessory dorsal branch. Petrale sole have a large mouth with the maxillary extending to below or slightly beyond the middle of the lower eye. The upper jaw has two rows of small, arrow-shaped teeth and the lower jaw has one row of teeth. The posterior edge of the lower jaw is rounded.  There is a broad space between the eyes, which are medium in size.  The anal spine is strong and there are no visible pores behind the lower eye.   This species is similar to flathead sole and Bering flounder (the latter is not found in Washington) which have only one row of teeth on the upper jaw.

Maximum Size: To 70 cm (28 in) in length, and 3.7 kg (8 lbs) in weight. 

Maximum Age: 35 years old.

Range/Habitat: Petrale sole range from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands through the Gulf of Alaska to the Coronado Islands, northern Baja California. It is most commonly found on sand and mud bottoms from 20 to 550 m (65-1,800 ft) in depth. It is most abundant at 55 to 128 m (180-420 ft) in depth from April through October and at 275 to 457 m (900-1,500 ft) in depth during the winter months.


  • Kramer, D. E., & Josey, T. (1995). Guide to Northeast Pacific flatfishes: families Bothidae, Cynoglossidae and Pleuronectidae. Sea Grant.
  • Munk, K. M. (2001). Maximum ages of groundfishes in waters off Alaska and British Columbia and considerations of age determination. Alaska Fish. Res. Bull, 8(1), 12-21.

Photo: S. Axtell and WDFW