Lingcod

Surprise!

Lingcod are ambush predators, relying on surprise to capture their prey. Their coloration makes them well camouflaged for the rocky reefs and ocean bottoms where they live. Camouflage, the element of surprise, and a large mouth filled with sharp teeth help lingcod capture and hold their prey.

Lingcod
Unique to the West Coast
Lingcod are only found along the west coast of North America. They live from as far north as the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands to as far south to Baja California. While lingcod have been found at depths of up to 1,000 feet, they typically live 30 to 330 feet below the surface in nearshore rocky reefs.
On guard
Lingcod spawn in rocky nearshore areas with strong currents. The female produces between 60,000 and 500,000 eggs, which are layered with sperm in a gelatinous mass that can weigh up to 15 pounds and be more than two feet across. After spawning, the female leaves and the male aggressively guards the eggs until they hatch (six to 10 weeks). Guarding the eggs is essential. Unguarded egg nests can be decimated by predators—rockfish, sea stars, sculpins and other lingcod—within 48 hours.
Not actually a cod at all
This fish’s name is misleading. Lingcod are not related to true cods. They are actually long, slender members of the Hexagrammidae fish family—commonly called greenlings. Lingcod are a popular commercial fish and considered to be one of the finest eating fishes of the West. Eating lingcod can be a sustainable choice if the fish was caught without the bottom trawling methods that cause considerable habitat damage to the rocky habitats and seafloor where lingcod live.

Map


Lingcod range

Quick Facts

Diet: Carnivore
Average life span in the wild: 14-20 years
Size: Up to 15"