25 - 85 pounds
20" - 60"
Lingcods (Ophiodon elongatus) or Ling Cods are a popular saltwater gamefish of the Hexagrammids family. Despite the name, they’re not actually cods but greenlings. They have elongated bodies that narrow toward the tail. Thanks to their wicked set of huge sharp teeth, spiny dorsal fins, and grey, brown, and greenish speckled coloring, they have a pretty gnarly appearance. They are also sometimes called “Buckethead” because of their particularly large head and mouth.
Lingcods are often found in rocky seafloor among seaweeds, kelps, and eelgrass. They use their mottled coloring to blend in their environment and ambush unsuspecting fishes, squids, crabs, octopus, and other smaller lingcods. Adults spawn between December and April, often in shallow waters over rocky reefs with strong tidal currents. They reproduce externally—meaning, the females just deposit their eggs in rocky crevices and leave, while the males find and fertilize them. And after the eggs are fertilized, the males become territorial and guard their nests from predators for eight to ten weeks. When the eggs hatch, they just feed on zooplankton until they’re big enough to prey on smaller fishes.
Lingcods aren’t really known to flee from any predator—including humans. In fact, because of their aggressive nature, they’d rather fight it out with you than try to escape. One other thing about Lingcods is that they’re a pretty lazy fish in general and usually rest with their belly lying on the bottom. So knowing their average speed is not really going to be helpful if you’re going Lingcod fishing.
Females are much bigger than males. On average, females usually grow for more than two feet; while males often just grow less than two feet in length.
Lingcods are endemic throughout the west coast of North America. Most, however, are found in the coasts of British Columbia and Washington. If you’re going for the big ones, your best bet will be in Alaska where 70-pounder monsters have been reported.
They usually live near shore with rocky reefs from thirty to three-hundred feet. You’d probably find them in their dark and rocky lairs at the bottom where they lie still to ambush preys. They also love to dwell in areas that have strong currents.
Lingcods may be aggressive when it comes to fighting for territory and food, but they can be easy to catch once you’re able to pull them away from their rocky home. If you’re going Lingcod fishing, here are some tips you might find helpful: