Alaska Lingcod Fishing
lingcod season in alaska
Summer in Alaska is both the most pleasant time of the year to enjoy the outdoors and best season for lingcod fishing. Lingcod season starts May 15th each year and actually runs through the end of November.
However, the warmer months make for easier, more comfortable fishing. Alaska is a popular destination for sport fishermen, as large trophy fish like lingcod are abundant in our state.
Lingcod are not actually a cod but are a member of the greenling family of fish.
They are large predators with an oversized, fearsome-looking head and a mouth full of sharp teeth. While lingcod won't win any beauty pageants — they are notoriously ugly — larger specimens make for impressive trophies. They're also a tasty delicacy that is much more flavorful than most other white fish. Some lingcod (about one in five) even have unnaturally blue-colored flesh that, while striking, does not affect its taste.
Lingcod limits in Alaska
Although most lingcod caught in Alaska range from 8 to 16 years old, this long-living fish can reach ages up to 26 and higher! The average weight for Alaskan lingcod is a respectable 40 to 55 pounds, but some fishers are lucky enough to catch those in excess of 85 pounds. In Alaska, lingcod must be at least 30 - 35 inches or 55+ inches to legally keep but can get up to 60 inches in length.
While offshore lingcod fishing is popular, they are technically a reef fish and are attracted to rocky structures. This means that even large lingcod can be found in relatively shallow waters along the coast.
Lingcod are also a great target fish for those who prefer catch-and-release fishing. A lack of a swim bladder means these fish have a much higher than average post-release survival rate since they can be brought up from the depths without suffering decompression injuries.
Fishing for Alaska Lingcod
Because of their aggressive nature, lingcod are a relatively easy fish to hook. Many fishermen angling for other bottom feeders like rockfish and halibut end up pulling up lingcod by mistake; the lingcod are attracted to the same lures and sometimes will also attempt to make a meal of an already-hooked fish!
Successfully reeling in these large fish is another story. You'll need a sturdy rod, as lingcod will pull with voracity. Braided lines are also your best bet, as they have a thinner diameter compared to monofilaments of the same strength. Thin lines cut the current more easily so that the terminal tackle can sink to the bottom where lingcod make their home. You'll also need a durable leader to protect the line from sharp teeth and jagged rocks.
Lingcod Fishing Bait
For bait, smaller live fish work best, as these fish make up the bulk of the lingcod's diet. However, whole herring with a mooching sinker is the best non-live bait option, while metal and soft plastic lingcod lures also work well. Lingcod are anything but picky!
If you're interested in fishing for lingcod or any of Alaska's many other native fish, be sure to visit us this summer!