The Alaskan Lingcod, One Ugly Fish

Underwater Lingcod

Picture from Wikipedia Commons

One fish that I had never heard of until I fished Alaska for the first time is the Lingcod. When I saw the first one on the dock, caught by another fisherman, I thought,  “That is the ugliest fish I have ever seen.”

The Lingcod is a not a cod, but is a member of the greenling family. Lingcod are brown (think mud) with brown spots. They have a massive head that appears to be all mouth. Did I tell you that they are ugly? They have very prominent sharp teeth.

The lingcod is a voracious eater and has been to eat anything and everything. I have read stories of them latching their jaws into halibut or rock fish that are being reeled in and having to be pried off by the fisherman.

Lingcod grow to be over 80 lbs. and 60 inches in length. Their lifespan is up to 25 years. They can be found at depths of 1000 feet but prefer and are more commonly found in the 30 to 300 foot range.

When their eggs are layed, the male will stand guard duty over the nest until the babies have hatched. Lingcod are mostly home-bodies, never moving very far from their chosen home territory.

Lingcod are only found along the West coast of the US. They are very common in Alaskan waters and can be found as far south as Southern California.

The meat from lingcod is very white with large, firm flakes. It is said to be more tender than halibut and is preferred over halibut by some people. It is a very tasty and nutritious meat.

Lingcod in Alaska are most often caught by jigging in areas with a rocky bottom. A baited hook with a jig skirt would be a likely choice. They are aggressive at taking the bait and provide a good fight. Just be ready for… ugly… when they break the surface.

Included below are a couple of links with more information about these great fish.

Alaska Jim signature, fishing trip to Alaska