Gone Outdoors

What Baits to Use to Catch Lingcod

by Roger DelVenado

Lingcod are a hard-fighting, bottom-dwelling fish found along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. Prized for their hard pulling when hooked and their delectable flesh, lingcod are a popular species among anglers. Lingcod are carnivores, and you can catch them using a variety of live baits and artificial lures.

Live Bait

Lingcod love live bait. You can take them with anchovies, squids and other types of small forage fish. Lingcod generally cruise underwater structures where small fish and other aquatic creatures congregate to feed. Dropping an anchovy or a squid on a j-hook among some rocks, a shipwreck or a reef is a good way to trigger a hungry lingcod strike.

Shrimp Flies

Flies tied to look like shrimp or other underwater creatures and fished around rocks or submerged structures are a good way to draw lingcod strikes. These baits may be little more than plastic grubs on hooks, or they may be elaborately tied flies with feathers, streamers and flash to attract fish. Flies for lingcod will often have multiple hooks with attractants designed to draw in a variety of fishes. Depending on local regulations, you may need to remove one or more of the extra hooks to be in compliance with the law. Because of their small size, flies are likely to attract smaller lingcod than larger baits.


Anglers usually catch the biggest lingcods, which may weigh more than 60 lbs., on jigs. Lingcod jigs are pretty straightforward baits designed to get to the bottom fast and draw big strikes from big lingcod. In their most basic form, they consist solely of a heavy metal bar and a treble hook. You can choose among a wide range of lingcod jigs that offer variations on this same theme. Some having holographic eyes, feathers or other modifications designed to catch a lingcod's eye.


No hard and fast rules exist when it comes to what baits a lingcod will eat. Mixing up jigs, flies and baits may increase the odds of snagging a lunker. Add a bit of squid or anchovy to the tip of a hook on a jig or fly to provide an extra bit of smell attraction for the lingcod. Add flies to a swivel above or below a jig to bring some extra movement to the heavy lure and draw a big strike.

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