The eating qualities of California halibut can be greatly improved if they are killed humanely by iki jime or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding.
- Though they are commonly called California halibut, this fish species is classified as a left eyed flounder, meaning that they generally have both eyes on the left side of the body - when viewed with their dorsal fin on top their head points to the left. Because of this, their most technically correct name is California flounder.
- Having said that, studies suggest that up to 40% of these fish off the California coastline may be right-eyed like the halibuts, which validates their common name of California halibut in that region.
- This species is mottled brown on the left (upper) surface and pale white below. Like other flatfish California halibut can change the colouration of their upper surface to suit their background.
- California halibut have a relatively large mouth with large sharp teeth, and they have been known to bite unwary fishers.
- California halibut are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean along the west coast of the United States from Quillayute River in northern Washington, USA to southern Baja California, Mexico. They also occur in northern Gulf of California.
- Juveniles live in estuaries and inshore areas in soft sediment, especially near seagrass beds.
- Adults move further offshore once they mature at 2-4 years of age (around 12 inches/30 cm long for males and 20 inches/50 cm long for females). Large adult fish can frequent water depths of up to 180+ meters/600 feet on sandy or gravelly bottoms where they feed during the day on fishes and squids. Maximum age is around 30 years.
- Adult fish return inshore into shallower waters to spawn during spring and throughout the summer months. Sexes are separate and multiple spawning events occurs repeatedly (up to 12-13 times per year) at intervals between 7 and 14 days.
Fish Size Common Length:
50-75 cm (20-30 inches). Maximum size around 5 feet (150 cm) long and 72 lb (33 kg).