English sole (Parophrys vetulus)

English sole
English sole
Category: Fish
Related species groups: Flatfish

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

Description and Range

Physical description

A right-eyed sole with an elongate, diamond-shaped body. The eyed side tends to be uniformly brown to olive brown but may have white speckles. The blind side is typically white to pale yellow tinged with reddish brown. Both dorsal and ventral fin edges are dark in color. English sole have a nearly straight lateral line with a slight curve and a long accessory dorsal branch. The species has a small, slender, pointed head. It’s mouth is small and asymmetrical with jaws that are stronger on the blind side. A high, narrow ridge runs between the eyes. The caudal fin is nearly square with a slight point at the center and the anal spine is strong.

English sole can grow to 61 cm (24 in) in length and 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) in weight. Maximum age is 22 years old.

Geographic range

English sole are found from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands in the north to San Cristobal Bay, Baja California in the south. They prefer a sand bottom and can be found in depths from 0 to 550 m (0-1,800 ft).