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Winter flounder.

6687 Views 27 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  schoolman
Ok this may not be to popular but I am gonna do it anyway. After seeing all
the reports since saturday it raises some concern. At what point does someone
step in and say that the flounder population is in trouble? That side of the
industry needs serious help. It worked for the Bass, why not for flounder? I
own a tackle shop and believe me a moratorium would hurt me. But I can
remember when Oyster bay on the sound side was loaded with fish. Now you can
fish all day and come home with one for the whole boat.It's just a little
scary that this has not been addressed.In the past five years I have refused
to keep any flounder. And it hurt to throw some nice fish back. But I worry
because where are all the small fish?

Just a thought.
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winter flounder trouble

Absolutely correct-It almost doesn't pay for a private boater to winter flounder fish.Of course we all(old timers) remember the 50's and 60's when the sound was paved with 'em.With the proper management ,perhaps the fishery could make a comeback. I could never understand why the feds or states don,t shut down the fishery for whatever time it takes or create harsher regs.Look I love all you guys in the industry but we all have to bite the bullet until the fishery recovers-it will then pay off in spades for all. unfortunately this all has the smell of politics as usual .I don't understand how we get our chops busted over summmer flounder(fluke) which seem to be doing nicely but the flounder are still open game--Can anyone explain this situation?

Exactly, how come we can keep 8 fluke, which is common and we are allowed to keep 15 flounder which is almost impossible. does not make sense to me
one more thing

i wonder if there is really a decline in the fish population or could it be the fact that on any weekend of nice weather that there is about 10 times the amount of boats fishing as there use to be "in the good old days". Same # of fish being caught but just to many anglers
Flounder Trouble


Yes its true that fisherman have increased-but how come Fluke for instance can stand up to the increase,but not flounder?No- overfishing and too high limits that make no sense are the problems
winter flounder

How about the fact that there are a lot more seals around today compared to the "good old days"? When the seal population was kept in check, there seemed to be enough flounder to go around. Also the guys using fykes during the winter to target pre-spawn flounder can not be helping the situation either. Perhaps shutting down the fishery for all user groups might help the resource to recover, who knows?

Proper managment of the stock it critical and addressing the impact the the cormorant has had on juvenile flounder is a significant piece of that. Since the cormorant was introduced to Long Island Sound they have florished and their population has exploded. I have watched as bird afer bird dives and surfaces with a 2-3" flounder in its bill. A single bird will eat 4-5/hour all day long X thousands of birds = bushels of full grown fish if they reached maturity. You can reduce flounder bag limits, both commercial and recreational, and close season but unless something is done about the cormorants, the return to the "good old days" will be long coming.
I?m not sure I agree with the natural predator theory, but I am sure that there were many more people fishing back in the 70?s and 80?s. For example, according to numbers kept by the National Marine Fisheries Service there were over 800,000 people fishing in 1984 and today there are less than 450,000. There are a lot more private boat anglers around today but the party boat fleet has declined to about 10% of what it was back then as has boat rental stations.

No one is certain as to what exactly needs to be done to restore the fishery, but I personally think we should start by shutting down the spawning season to commercials, just as it is for recreational anglers, and eliminate dragging them as they enter and leave the bays. I?m not sure it?s a cure all but it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

What we really need is for recreational anglers to take an interest in this fishery the way we did striped bass, then and only then will we see a return of this once popular fishery.
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Here's my 2 c's:
Moratorium, yes!! Sure, I am aware of the consequences to many, but if we don't do something soon there will be nothing to discuss in the future and we can kiss off flounder fishing for our grandchildren and the rest of mankind. It baffles me that so much effort and more stringent regulations have been put into fluke and scup recently, despite the fact that they recovered nicely more than 2-3 years ago. Are our fish managers, the DEC and NMFS, blind or is fishy politics the reason, as was implied by someone on this board earlier?
Frustrated I am, as are countless other flounder diehards. Let's do something! How about it folks?
I know i'll get hung for this!

Ok here goes another unpopular thought. Lets all take a nuetral step back and look at the situation. Lets watch the progressive curve of the downfall. Mid eighties the powers that be put in affect a very agressive plan for stripers. About the time that the bass begin to make a come back bunker boats slam the region. Now all these fish begin to filter out of the hudson and are very hungry. If my memory serves me correct The flounder begin to pull out of the harbors around mid april. Ok now we have a bunker deficit due to spotter air craft and the Bunker boats. Now during 1990 and 1991 the flounder population was fine. On the head boat I was employed we had a gentleman from NMFS. come out to study. Well after that a noticable curve in both populations happened. Bass soar and flounder plummet. Also the introduction of the hot new striper lure hits(the Petri fish). I think that if the powers that be lighten up the bass reg's we will see in the near future(about six years)the flounder make a come back. Well I know that this will not be a popular post with the bass sportsman. But we all know that when we get in mothernatures affairs something gets offset.

Again its just an opinion.
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The problem is all of the above! And probably a few more that haven't benn mentioned, power plants, pollution, global warming, the french,iranians, jews, italians, but it couldn't be because of us! ..Steve
I agree with Steve and all aof the above. The people that keep the shorts and anything that gets on the line usally goes home for diner. The people who read these post are truley concerned about our pastime and we should start policeing ourselves. I have been by the RM Bridge and seen people MOORED up to the strucure of the bridge and taking 4-6 inch seabass. If these same culprits are doing this to seabass what do think they do to everything else. The only trounle is that there are not enough DEC boats to get all these rat *&%#!#$ .
It seems that we all are concerned about these problems and what can be done. If some one reads this post who has any politcal influence we should organize and meet with these people to voice our concerns.
recreational anglers bear some of the responsibilty as stated by steve,and whether you believe we are part of the problem or not we should certainly be part of the solution.

just my thoughts.
Thank you everyone!!!

It's good to see that i'm not alone on this. maybe if we all band together something can get done. As you know I would be willing to help in any way.

Many good thoughts here. I'm sure most of them have an impact.

In the past flounder came into our south shore waters in the Fall. They stayed in the mud all winter and then became active as the water warmed up in the Spring.

If these fish don't enter the bay in the Fall how can we catch them in the Spring.

I believe it is the cooler water temps that lured the flounders into the bay.


I hope we hear from some of these south shore captains.

I also have wondered why DEC hasn't lowered the flounder catch limits or eliminated them. Is it because the flounder population is in good shape and stays off shore? Are commercial fishermen having good or better catches of flounder since they have basically disappeared in the bays.

Sorry for all the questions without solid answers!!!

Capt Neil
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One additional factor to add to the mix, the power plants. Its been estimated that the Millstone plant in CT kills millions of juvenial flounder a year and couple of commercial flounder fishermen are suing the operator. I can't believe that the Lilco plants in Northport as well as othr along the sound aren't doing the same. If we could stop the killing of the power plants we would have more flounder than we know what to do with.
I have been ranting about a total closure for the past 2 years. We can lower the bag and size limits all we want, but until we discontinue trapping them on the their spawning grounds with fykes, nothing is going to happen. I would happily give up a few seasons if it means that they will get protection from the commercial overharvest that has done them in.

I have also been asking the same question about why fluke, scup and seabass are so heavily regulated (too much so), while winter flounder and whiting have such little protection.

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