Freshwater Tongue Sole

Cynoglossus heterolepis
Freshwater Tongue Sole - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cynoglossus heterolepis
Family Tongue sole / Cynoglossidae
Size Up to 25 cm (9.84 in)
Weight Under .50 kg (1.10 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Fresh water stream to brackish & marine rivers amongst sandy & muddy bottoms
Depth Range 0 - 4 m (13 ft)
Freshwater Tongue Sole Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The freshwater tongue sole is found in many freshwater systems across northern Australia.
  • The Freshwater Tongue Sole has a flattened, oval-shaped body with a relatively pointed head and a small mouth. Both eyes are located on the right side of the head, and are positioned close to each other. The upper side of the body is typically light to dark brown in colour, with darker blotches and speckles present along the dorsal and lateral surfaces. The lower side of the body is typically white or pale in colour.
  • The species is capable of tolerating low salinity levels and can even be found in some brackish water habitats.
  • It is known to be an opportunistic feeder, meaning it feeds on a wide variety of prey items, including insects, crustaceans, and small fish.
  • Their lifespan is estimated to be around 6-7 years.
Species Interaction

Recreationa Fishing

Freshwater Tongue Sole are typically targeted in brackish water areas like estuaries. They are considered to be of good quality and has a firm texture and mild flavour.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Pleuronectiformes

Family: Cynoglossidae

Genus: Cynoglossus

Species: Cynoglossus heterolepis

Conservation Status

The conservation status of freshwater tongue sole, is currently listed as Data Deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that there is not enough information available to determine the population size or trends of this species.

Fish Taste Quality

Freshwater tongue sole considered to be of good quality and has a firm texture and mild flavour. Often fried, grilled, or baked.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Freshwater Tongue Sole

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Lures, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Yabbies, Soft plastics, Live minnow

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to structure

Popularity: Highly Targeted

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