Rockfish / Lingcod


Ketchikan Bottom Fishing

There are many species of rockfish available while fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska. Mature rockfish will range in age from 4-140 years and range in size from 1-30 lbs. The average size caught above 100′ will range between 1-10 lbs. The larger rockfish are typically caught at deeper depths ranging from 100′ to 2000′. These colorful spiny creatures seem ugly to some but we think they are beautiful and they taste good too! Their white, flaky meet is absolutely delicious. They taste similar to a cod but are a bit less oily, yet cook up moist all the same.Lingcod are pretty tasty too and they will get up to 50 lbs around Ketchikan, however they average about 15-20 lbs. In recent years there has been a 30″-45″ slot limit to retain these fish. Lingcod like the same type of bottom as rockfish and are typically caught between 100 and 300 feet deep.

Fishing Techniques

Rockfish and lingcod are aggressive feeders and are pretty easy to catch (if they are there) as long as you don’t get hung up on the bottom. Find a pinnacle or a ledge ranging from 50 to 250 feet deep and drop down a herring or bounce a jig but be careful to not drag your hooks along the bottom or you’ll just catch the rock and not the fish. The best way to catch these bottom dwellers is to hit bottom then immediately reel your jig up a couple cranks, jig it a few times, then find bottom again, reel up a few cranks, jig and repeat. The trick is to keep finding bottom but don’t drag it because our bottoms are very rocky and irregular with vertical cliffs, ledges, boulders and holes. Sometimes the bottom depth will change 50′ in just a 3 foot drift. This is the kind of bottom rockfish and lingcod love. Rockfish can be easily caught at shallower depths without too many problems. But if you want to catch lingcod be prepared to loose a lot of tackle.

  • Copper rockfish
  • Quillback rockfish
  • Yelloweye rockfish
  • Silvergrey rockfish
  • Black rockfish
  • Dusky rockfish
  • Lingcod
  • Pacific cod (grey cod)
  • Rockfish Identification Chart (PDF)