Phenotypic traits such as peak spawning time may vary within and differ between populations in relation to environmental factors, such as temperature. Sole (Solea solea) is a valuable, commercially exploited species that spawns in late winter or spring. The date of peak spawning was estimated for each year for seven stocks from monthly fish samples collected from commercial fisheries since 1970. Four out of seven stocks showed a significant long-term trend towards earlier spawning (Irish Sea, east-central North Sea, southern North Sea, eastern English Channel) at a rate of 1.5 weeks per decade. The other three stocks (Bristol Channel, western English Channel and western-central North Sea) failed to show a relationship, but the available time series were limited for these stocks (<10 years). Sea surface temperature during winter significantly affected the date of peak spawning, although the effect differed between stocks. The implications of the effect of winter temperature on the timing of spawning for the population dynamics are discussed.