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Bottomfish Identification: Greenling

Ophiodon elongatus

Commonly caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls, handline jig, and longline gear.  Commonly caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound.

Description: Lingcod are a large and elongate species.  The body is gray to brown, greenish or bluish, with darker and lighter spotting.  The belly is lighter. There is a prominent whitish lateral line and the body is covered with cycloid (round) scales.  The dorsal fin is long with spinous and soft-rayed parts nearly separated by a notch.  The anal fin has 3 spines.  The mouth is large with the upper jaw extending rearward past the eyes. Teeth are large and canine-like. The head is unscaled and there is a cirrus above the eye. 

Maximum Size: To 152 cm (60 in or 5 ft) in length, and 59 kg (130 lbs) in weight.

Maximum Age: 14 years for males and 20 years for females.

Range/Habitat: Lingcod range from Kodiak Island to northern Baja, California and possibly to the Bering Sea. They are found on the bottom, with most individuals occupying rocky areas at depths of 10 to 100 m (32-328 ft).  They have been found at depths of 427 m (1,400 ft).


  • Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p.
  • McFarlane, G. A. and J.R.  King, 2001. The validity of the fin-ray method of age determination for lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus).  Fishery Bulletin, 99(3).

 Photo: S. Axtell and WDFW