The lingcod is a very resilient fish that inhabits coastal waters all the way from Mexico to Alaska. Though it is not in the cod family, its name can be attributed to its similar appearance to cod found in the Atlantic Ocean. Within Washington State there are many excellent places to catch the fish. Lingcod fishing season begins May 1, and the catch is better early in the season. Be sure to obtain a fishing license from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife before setting out.
Puget Sound — Marine Area 9
Within Marine Area 9 of the Puget Sound is some of the best lingcod fishing in Washington. The first spot to hit is Possession Bar. The water here ranges from 40 to 75 feet in depth. The boundaries of the bar are the houses on the beach; this marks the east end. The west end is demarcated by a buoy in the water. Double Bluff and Foulweather Bluff are two areas with prime lingcod fishing. The water in each of these areas is between 40 and 80 feet deep. Fish from east to west along the tip of Double Bluff; focus on the northeast faces of Foulweather Bluff.
The port city of Everett is about 30 miles north of Seattle. The waters of Puget Sound in between Seattle and Everett are dotted with inlets and islands along with rocky shallows, exactly the habitat you would expect the lingcod to inhabit. The ideal depth is between 40 and 100 feet; slowly drifting over rocky areas with a depth in this range should produce success. Chartered boats with fishing guides are offered by numerous companies in the greater Seattle area.
Fairhaven is about 20 miles south of the border between Washington and British Columbia and 2 miles west of Interstate 5. It has a small wharf where ferries take passengers to Victoria, British Columbia. Heading west from the wharf into the Bellingham Bay there are small islands; to the south there is Samish Bay. Heading southwest to anywhere within a 10-mile radius will reveal excellent lingcod fishing grounds. The waters surrounding Fairhaven have many small islands. Drifting across 40- to 100-foot-deep waters in areas near islands and bluffs in this region is an ideal strategy.
Aberdeen looks out over Grays Harbor, which borders the Pacific Coast. It is located nearly 50 miles from Olympia, Washington, at the intersection of Route 101 and Route 12. Off Grays Harbor are North Bay and South Bay. These waters are well protected from the Pacific so smaller boats will be able to handle any swells that may arise. For those with larger boats, the Pacific Coast just outside the harbor to the north and south provide some ideal spots to find lingcod.
Port Townsend on the west side of the mouth of the Puget Sound. The marina in Port Townsend is a stop for the shuttle between the mainland and Keystone, but more importantly, the waters surrounding Port Townsend are excellent lingcod fishing grounds. Nearby bays that are worth a drift include Admiralty Bay, Mutiny Bay, Oak Bay and Useless Bay.