This species is widely distributed in eastern parts of the North Atlantic, but is most common in northern parts of the North Sea in the area east of Shetland (Fladen) and along the western edge of the Norwegian Trench. They aggregate into dense schools, usually over muddy bottom substrate.
Spawning takes place from January to May in the area between Shetland and Norway. Eggs and larvae then drift in the upper layers of the water column, and are transported into the Skagerrak. Before maturation, individuals migrate back into northern parts of the North Sea. Approximately 20 % of the population spawns for the first time at age one, while the rest become sexually mature at age two. Recently, spawning grounds have been identified off Lofoten and Vesterålen in northern Norway.
Norway pout constitute an important link in the marine food web: they feed primarily on crustaceans, particularly krill and copepods; and they themselves are prey for a number of larger fish such as cod, whiting, and saithe, and also marine mammals.