Lingcod is a popular target for sport fishermen and culinary enthusiasts alike.

Understanding the seasonality of lingcod is crucial for planning successful fishing trips and ensuring sustainable fishing practices.

Quick Answer

  • Season Openings: The lingcod season in Alaska typically opens on July 1st each year.
  • Season Duration: It usually runs until November 30th, but this can vary by region.
  • Best Times: Peak months for lingcod fishing are generally from July to September.
  • Regulations: Always check local regulations as they can change based on conservation needs.
  • Bag Limits: There are often strict bag and possession limits, which may vary by area.

The Lingcod Season in Detail

Lingcod, known scientifically as Ophiodon elongatus, is not actually a cod despite its name. It’s a member of the greenling family, and it’s found in the coastal waters of Alaska.

Lingcod are prized for their fight and their table fare, making them a sought-after species for anglers venturing into Alaskan waters.

Understanding Lingcod & Their Habitat

Before delving into the specifics of the season, it’s important to understand lingcod behavior. They are a bottom-dwelling species, often found in rocky areas, which makes them a challenge to catch.

They’re known for their aggressive feeding habits and can grow to impressive sizes, with some specimens weighing over 80 pounds.

Regulations & Conservation Efforts

Alaskan authorities manage the lingcod fishery with sustainability in mind. The season is structured to protect lingcod during critical spawning times. This careful management ensures that lingcod populations remain healthy for future generations of anglers to enjoy.

Regional Variations

The season dates for lingcod can vary significantly depending on the region within Alaska. For instance:

  • Southeast Alaska: Here, the season typically runs from July 1st to November 30th, but anglers should confirm with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) for any specific regional variations.
  • Central and Western Gulf of Alaska: Different areas in these regions may have slightly different opening and closing dates or additional restrictions.

Licensing & Legal Requirements

All anglers, residents, and non-residents alike must have a valid fishing license to fish for lingcod in Alaskan waters. The ADF&G provides up-to-date information on all necessary permits and stipulations.

Bag & Size Limits

To maintain healthy stock levels, the ADF&G imposes bag and possession limits. These limits are designed to prevent overfishing and can vary by area. There are also size limits to protect immature lingcod, ensuring they have a chance to reproduce before being caught.

Peak Fishing Times

While the season may extend into late fall, the best fishing is often found in the warmer months. July through September is the prime time for anglers seeking lingcod, as the fish are more active and the Alaskan weather is more conducive to fishing trips.

Tackle & Technique

Catching lingcod requires heavy gear and strong tackle due to their size and the rugged underwater terrain they inhabit. Jigging with heavy lures is a common method, as is bait fishing with large offerings like herring or squid. Anglers need to be prepared for a strong fight and have the right equipment to handle these powerful fish.

Catch & Release

While keeping a trophy or dinner is part of the appeal, catch and release is encouraged when possible, especially for larger, breeding-size fish. Proper handling techniques ensure that released lingcod survive to contribute to the population.

The Culinary Appeal of Lingcod

Lingcod is highly regarded for its firm, white flesh and mild flavor. It’s versatile in the kitchen, suitable for everything from simple grilling to complex preparations. The season is a perfect time for food enthusiasts to try their hand at cooking this local delicacy.


The lingcod season in Alaska is an exciting time for anglers. With the right timing, equipment, and respect for regulations, fishing for lingcod can be a rewarding experience.

By adhering to the guidelines set by the ADF&G, fishermen ensure that they not only comply with the law but also contribute to the sustainability of this incredible resource.

Whether you’re fishing for sport or sustenance, the lingcod season in Alaska offers an adventure that is both challenging and gratifying.