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Explore the coastal and inland waters of
Washington and BC
Typical Size: 12-16” length
ID: Large prominent bulging eyes. Oval shaped body with distinctive dark spot in middle. Often changes shading to match surrounding.
Comments: I occasionally note this distinctive sole when diving soft substrates around reef areas where shrimp and other small invertebrates are bountiful. This flatfish has huge, buldging eyes compared to its cousins. Better to see you with, my Dear...
Typical size: 12-16” length
ID: Brown and white topside, but shading and color patterns vary. Long, narrow body and straight trailing edge of tail.
Comments: Probably the most common flatfish I encounter while diving, the English sole is similar in appearance to the rock sole. I find these soles on soft substrates surrounding reefs. Three Tree Point is all but a guarantee for English sole encounters. This flatfish often buries itself in the sand for camouflage.
Southern Rock Sole
Typical size: 12-16” length
ID: Rounded body and slightly rounded trailing edge of tail. Typically has white spots along fins. Brown and white markings, but patterns and shading vary greatly.
Comments: The rock sole tends to be a little rounder than its English cousing. Both tend to occupy the same soft substrates. The rock sole often props itself up on its fins to get a better view. Conversely, it will also bury itself in the sand for camouflage.
Typical size: 10-12” length
ID: Very large mouth and large scales. Eye of left side of body. Long pectoral fins.
Comments: I occasionally note this left-eyed flatfish. I usually only note it deep on night dives at Three Tree point. This is one of the two common left eyed flatfish that divers see in the Pacific Northwest - the other being the speckled sanddab.
Typical size: 4-7” length
ID: Speckled pattern. Rounded tail. Eyes on the left side of the body.
Comments: I note speckled sanddabs at various depths - sometimes as shallow as 5 feet. These small flatfish are incredible masters of camouflage and are often not noted until they move. They seem to almost magically disappear against a sandy substrate.
Typical size: 14-18” length
ID: Eye on right side of body. Distinctive dark bars on dorsal, anal, and caudal fin. Wide body.
Comments: I had trouble seeing this well camouflaged fish through my viewfinder when I took this photo. I rarely note the starry flounder as it prefers sandy substrates. Reports are that the sandy flats of Possession Bar are a good place to find this flatfish. This photo was take at Sekiu Jetty in 10 feet of water.
Typical size: 12-15” length
ID: Slender body with large scales. Short, wide mouth. Eye of right side of body.
Comments: A slender sole indeed, I have only noted this species at Three Tree Point - and usually in deeper water to the southwest of the entry. Like most of its cousins, the slender sole has limited ability to change shading and patterns to best match its surrounding.