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Lingcod are a type of greenling that spend their time on rocky reefs hiding in holes and cracks. They have large heads, big mouths with sharp teeth and even bigger appetites. These fish come in shades for copper, and brown with lighter spots along their bodies. They literally look like some kind of ancient dragon of the sea with you look at them head on. Their meat is usually white and flakey although 20% Lingcods have a greenish blue tint to their meat. These fish can grow to around 60" long and weigh over 100 pounds. Females tend grow larger and faster than males. Lingcod can live up to around 25 years of age.


Lingcod are abundant throughout California. They can also be found as far North as Alaska and as far South as Baja. These fish are a big part of spearfishing in Central and Northern California. These fish are not big movers. Hunting them is more like a game of "hide and seek" than anything. The tend to be in holes or cracks where males will guard the female's eggs. If the male is caught, then the eggs will most likely be lost shortly after. Keep that in mind before pulling the trigger.


Year round for divers and there are different regulations for the rod and reel guys so be sure to double check with the California Fish & Wildlife.


A couple of solid Lingcods from Northern Baja


Minimal gear is required especially hunting around holes. A shorter speargun with a reel and a flashlight for looking into holes and cracks.

As far as hunting technique goes, I look for holes in the reef. Once I see a structure of interest, I will drop down far enough away from the hole entrance as to not spook whatever marine animal is in it. With my light I will shine towards the opening as I move closer. If I see a good size fish, I'll shoot it and immediately put pressure on it and attempt pull it out of the hole.

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