Lingcod coloration can vary from dark brown to gray. There are blotches on the upper body that can be brown or copper and are sometimes outlined in orange or blue. They have elongated bodies that taper towards the ends and are slightly compressed. Lingcod have large heads, somewhat bulging, large eyes, and a long mouth full of 18 sharp teeth. The dorsal fin covers almost all of the back, and consists of a row of spines followed by a row of soft rays. The pectoral fin is large.
Lingcod are voracious predators that mainly feed on other fish, especially herring, flounders, cod, rockfish and hake. They also eat crustaceans and squid. Young lingcod feed mostly on shrimp, crustaceans and small fish.
Baja California, Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska.
Lingcod usually inhabit rocky areas or kelp beds. Though they are most often found nearshore at depths between 30 to 350 feet, they have been caught as deep as 2,700 feet off southern California. They prefer colder water and water with strong tidal currents. Young lingcod are found over sand or mud bottoms, mostly in inshore areas.
- Lingcod have been known to live 25 years.
- Lingcod are so aggressive that it is not uncommon for them to be attached to and biting other fish that are hooked and boated by anglers.
- Lingcod are misnamed; they are not in the same family as cods, but rather are greenlings.