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Summer Flounder (Fluke) Information
If You Can't Keep It, Save It!


Current Season Summer Flounder Length And Bag Limits Affirmed by NOAA (DEP News Release, 7/11/17)

The NJ Marine Fisheries Council met in an emergency session on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, to recommend 2017 measures for New Jersey's recreational summer flounder fishery. Those measures were affirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on July 11, 2017:

NJ Coastal Waters
18-inch minimum
May 25 through September 5
Delaware Bay and Tributaries
17-inch minimum
May 25 through September 5
Island Beach State Park (Shore Mode only)
16-inch minimum
May 25 through September 5

Flounder Fishing with Russ Alan and Al Ivany (DEP Podcast)
Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of the Summer Flounder Harvest Restrictions in New Jersey (pdf, 260kb)

If You Can't Keep Save It Poster Anglers: If you can't keep it, SAVE IT!

Reducing discard mortality is crucial. The Division of Fish and Wildlife encourages anglers to follow these techniques:

  • Plan ahead - Expect to release fish and have the necessary equipment to do so, including de-hookers and nets; more experienced anglers may also consider using a recompression tool, a device that allows fish to be returned to the water at a safer depth.

  • Use appropriate gear - Use gear suited to the size of the fish that you are trying to catch; 5/0 to 7/0 size hooks are recommended to successfully land bigger fish and reduce discards.

  • Handle fish carefully - Use knotless, rubberized landing nets and rubberized gloves to avoid removing the protective slime layer on fish and help ensure survival when placed back in the water.

Fishing with barbless hooks, or hooks where the barb is crimped, makes releasing a short fish easier and faster which reduces discard mortality. It does require keeping a taut line to not lose a fish, but fish can sometimes be released simply by letting the line go slack, ensuring the fish is unharmed to be caught again.

The following sites and videos provide information on reducing the mortality of released fish:

FishSmart...for the future of fishing
FishSmart - Catch and Release How-To (Take Me Fishing YouTube Site)
How to Use a Dehooking Tool (Florida Sea Grant YouTube Site)

It's a Short! Release That Summer Flounder Alive For the Next Angler (Feature Article)
Throw Back That Short Fish–Unharmed! (from 2009 Marine Digest, pdf, 130kb)

Best Practices: General Guidelines for Safely Releasing your Fish (
Best Practices for Safely Releasing Deep Caught Saltwater Fish (

Release Mortality in Virginia's Recreational Fishery for Summer Flounder, "Paralichthys Dentatus" (Jersey Coast Anglers Assn.)
Catch & Release: Do Your Best To Minimize Mortality (The Fisherman)
Techniques to Reduce Catch-and-Release Mortality (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
Catch & Release Fishing (Univesrity of Florida/Florida Sea Grant)

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: July 12, 2017