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Lingcod is an aggressive fish that lives around structures. Would you like to learn how to catch lingcod? It is a hunter in the true sense of the word. Lingcod is an ambush predator. It can be challenging to catch this fish as you have to navigate rocky bottom structures to get lingcod. In this article, we will discuss the fishing techniques, tips, behaviors, and equipment needed to be successful when fishing for lingcod.

How To Catch Lingcod
How To Catch Lingcod

How To Catch Lingcod

1. Drift fishing

When fishing for lingcod with lures, look for structures such as reefs, rock piles, ledges, jetties, and sea mouths. Drift over the structure with your lures near the bottom where this fish lives. When fishing lingcod with dead bait, after locating the area you want to fish for lingcod, position the boat up-current so the boat drifts over it. When fishing for lingcod with live bait from a boat, place the rod in a rod holder and drop the bait to the bottom, and reel it up slowly until it is just above the ocean floor.

Lingcod violently grabs the bait. When this happens, don’t rush to grab the rod. Don’t set the hook. Instead, gently take the rod out of the holder and with a slow and steady retrieve, reel in the fish. Have a net ready before it reaches the surface and places the net underneath the fish before it gets spooked and lets go of the bait.

2. Vertical Jigging

Vertical jigging is also very productive when fishing for lingcod. The up-and-down motion will get the attention of the fish. When you jig, move the lure up and down in 4-foot increments. Continue jigging over a hotspot and don’t stop.

Tips For Lingcod Fishing
Tips For Lingcod Fishing

How To Catch Lingcod From Shore

The most important aspect of fishing from the shore is to find the right spots to target. When fishing for lingcod from the shore, look for structures like piers, reefs, drop-offs, jetties, kelp, and rocks. Lingcod will be hanging around those structures preying on bait.

Lingcod is an attack-minded fish and if you find the right spot, and have the right lures and bait, your chances of catching them increase dramatically.

Squid, eel, mackerel, sand dabs, and anchovies are some of the baits that you can use when fishing for lingcod. When fishing from the shore, most of the time you will be casting your bait into the water.

How To Catch Lingcod In California

When fishing for lingcod in California, look for structures such as reefs, rocky areas, drop-offs, jetties, and kelp. You can use a fish finder to find these areas to target. Drop your line slowly or jig close to the structures to get a bite.

When fishing for lingcod in rocky areas, your line can easily get caught up with the rocks. Once you realize it is caught among the rocks, release more lines to free up the line from the rocks.

How To Catch Lingcod In Washington

When fishing for lingcod in Washington, look for structures off the bottom. Rocky ledges, jetties, reefs, breakwaters, drop-offs, and rock piles are good areas to look for them. Get your line to the bottom and bring it up a bit so that it is off the bottom.

Lingcod Tackle Setup

There are many options for a tackle for lingcod fishing. A general one would be an 8 to 10-foot fishing rod with a spinning reel that holds between 150 to 250 yards of 40-pound braid. Additionally, a medium-weight conventional rod can also work for lingcod fishing.

Lingcod Fishing
Lingcod Fishing

Best Bait For Lingcod

1. Mackerel

Live mackerel is a good bait to catch lingcod. Live mackerel will result in bites in a few minutes as lingcod are attracted to live mackerel.

2. Anchovies

You can easily catch lingcod using strips of anchovies or squid.

3. Herring

Herring is another fish that is effective for catching not only lingcod but many fish.

4. Flounder

Using flounder as live bait also works well when fishing for lingcod.

5. Greenling

Lingcod likes a struggling greenling. Using live greenling as bait for lingcod often proves irresistible for lingcod.

6. Squid

Squid is also a good bait to catch lingcod. Anglers often use strips of squid as bait to catch lingcod.

Lingcod Fishing Tips
Lingcod Fishing Tips

Lingcod Fishing Rigs

1. Herring Rigs

2. Metal Jigs

3. Live Bait Rigs

4. Swimbaits

5. Plastic Grubs

Lingcod Fishing Tricks
Lingcod Fishing Tricks

Lingcod Fishing Tips

1. Lingcod live around structures like reefs, rock piles, ledges, jetties, and sea mouths.

2. Lingcod likes areas with heavy currents.

3. A dark and rocky lair that features camouflage and currents to bring prey is the ideal hiding spot.

4. Lingcod do not have swim bladders to regulate their depth.

Lingcod Fishing For Beginners
Lingcod Fishing For Beginners

5. A strong vertical movement of the lure will get the attention of lingcod’s attention.

6. Live bait is the best bait to fish for lingcod.

7. Lingcod violently grabs the bait. When this occurs, do not rush to grab the rod. Also, don’t set the hook just yet. Instead, take the fishing rod and with a slow and steady retrieve, reel in the lingcod.

8. Always have a net ready before the fish is near the surface and put the net underneath the fish before it lets go of the bait.

Lingcod Fishing Ideas
Lingcod Fishing Ideas

9. Lingcod is good to eat and is tasty.

10. Drifting is one of the popular fishing techniques used by anglers to catch lingcod.

11. Lingcod bites at any time of the day.

Ideas For Lingcod Fishing
Ideas For Lingcod Fishing

12. Lingcod spawning season runs from December to early spring.

13. The weather and oceanic conditions have a greater effect on when lingcod will be active.

14. Vertical jigging is one of the best fishing techniques to catch lingcod.

Fishing Lingcod
Fishing Lingcod

15. Female lingcod are usually larger than males and are found in deeper water with depths of 150 feet or below. If you want to catch larger lingcod, you will need to go deeper and use the heavyweight gear.

16. If you want to catch a lot of lingcod, look for underwater pinnacles using charts and GPS. If you can find areas that are 100 ft on all sides and the pinnacle comes up to 20 ft in depth, then you have a good spot to fish for lingcod.

17. Always position your boat so that the currents and tides push the boat from shallow to deep to avoid snagging the bottom.

18. When picking tides for drifting, opt for a tide change of fewer than 10 inches. This will ensure that the current will not be too fast.

Fishing Lingcod Tricks
Fishing Lingcod Tricks

19. Lingcod will almost always strike the jig as it is falling.

20. When you fish for lingcod from the shore, look for areas that will put you in casting range of deep water, rocks, and kelp.

21. When you fish a new spot for lingcod, start by fishing high in the water column until you discover where the underwater structures are located. Then fish deeper and closer to the structures until you start to snag and then adjust.

22. To catch lingcod and avoid snagging, keep the lure moving around the structure. Two retrieval methods that you can use are the “lift and drop” jigging technique and the “slow reel” swimming technique.

Fishing Lingcod Tips
Fishing Lingcod Tips

23. The best opportunity to catch a lingcod is to fish on a calm day and fish in a deep spot on the incoming tide.

24. When hooked, lingcod will initially lunge to strike and then move for the rocks.

Fishing Lingcod Ideas
Fishing Lingcod Ideas

What's the best bait for lingcod?
Some of the best baits for lingcod are herring, flounder, squid, mackerel, and anchovies.
Are lingcod easy to catch?
Lingcod are not the most difficult fish to catch but they can be found in rocky bottom areas and structures and when caught, they can put up a hard fight.
What depth do you need to catch lingcod?
Lingcod can be caught at depths ranging from 32 to 328 feet.
How do you find lingcod?
Look for lingcod around structures like reefs, underwater pinnacles, dropoffs, rock piles, ledges, jetties, and sea mouths.
Is lingcod a bottom feeder?
Lingcod is a bottom feeder.
Is lingcod good eating?
Lingcod is a good tasty fish for the table.

The Bottom Line

Lingcod is one of the favorites of anglers as they put up an aggressive fight, have a unique appearance, and are good to eat. It is found on the Pacific coast off of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and certain parts of California. Using the right fishing techniques, bait, and equipment, and looking in the right areas, fishing for lingcod can be fun, and rewarding.

If you also fish for other fish like cabezon, chain pickerel, flathead catfish, and bream, you can read how to catch cabezon, how to catch chain pickerel, how to catch flathead catfish, and how to catch bream.