Gadus Macrocephalus



Continent Shelf, Upper Slopes, Deepwater

11 - 50 pounds


Pacific Cod Game Fish Quality Very Good
Pacific Cod Meal Quality Excellent
Pacific Cod Fly Fishing Quality Decent

Pacific Cod 

Pacific Cod 
Also Known As: Grey Cod, Greyfish Cod

Pacific Cod (Gadus macrocephalus) Fish Description

The Pacific Cod is a popular commercial saltwater fish. It is grey to brown in color with dark-brown spots all over, and it has a white line across its elongated body. It has a barbel on its lower jaw, which it uses to search for bottom-dwelling prey. It has 3 dorsal fins, 2 anal fins, and a pair of pectoral fins.

Pacific cods are carnivores. They will almost east anything, including their own species. They mostly eat herrings, eels, mackerels, squids, shrimps, and crabs. 


Interesting facts About the Pacific Cod

  • It’s white lateral line across its body helps detect motion, vibration, and the pressure of the surrounding water.
  • Cods are prized for their good meat and oil. They are a good source of omega fatty acids and their livers are rich in vitamins E, A, and D. 


Pacific Cod Size & Speed

The Pacific cod is a small fish but it can grow up to 46.8 inches. Its average weight is 11 lbs but it can be as heavy as 50 lbs. As of now, there is no average length for this fish. Cods are pretty slow game fishes. There is no record for the Pacific cod but scientists think they’re as fast as their relative, the Atlantic Cod, which only swims about 3.5-6.7 in/s.


Pacific Cod Habitat & Distribution

The Pacific cods generally live in the open seas of continental shelves and upper slopes where they stay in deep depths of 60-1500 feet. They prefer temperatures of 30-50°F, but they’re more abundant with temperatures of 32-40°F.

Little is know about the Pacific cod migration pattern and scientists find their migration complex, there is no distinct pattern yet for where they travel and lacks demographic groupings. 

What is know so far is they feed during summer and spawn in winter, one of the recorded spawning grounds is the Prince William Sound (a good spot for anglers). During spring, they go back to the open waters to feed. They also swim to deeper depths when the water gets cold, like in Fall.

Fishing spots for the Pacific cod fishing are located all over North America. They can be found in the Bering Sea down to Souther California (but are less common in Central California). Other spots are in the Gulf of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and generally the West Coast.


Pacific Cod Fishing Technique

Anglers generally consider cods as easy game fishes. They don’t fight back that much like a trout, what’s good about cods are that they’re plenty and they can still be fairly strong (some anglers say they can even bend 9-10 foot rods). Cods mostly spend their time near the bottom and that makes it hard to fly fish. If you want to catch a cod with a fly rod, you can wait for the night where they will go closer to the surface. You can either fly fish cods using a small boat or a kayak, what’s important is to use a fast sinking line, like a shooting head, to help your lure get to the shallow sweet spot of the fish, which is 20-60 feet deep. Let your lure drop until you hit the bottom and wait for the fish to catch your bait. For the rod, a 6 to 7 ½ foot fast action rod with a 50-80 pound braided line is recommended.

Pacific cods are known to be greedy fish. So they will almost take a bite of anything, whether they’re colorful or flashing material attached, they will most likely bite as long as they sink deep. So make sure to use 2/0 to 7/0 hooks and flies to reach the bottom (if you’re going to use a lighter fly, add a weighted lead for it to sink). Recommended baits are the fish’s favorites which are squid or mackerel.