Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)

Albacore tune
Albacore tuna
Category: Fish
Common names: Pacific albacore, German bonito, longfin, longfin tuna, longfin tunny

As an albacore ages it feeds less on squid and more on fish such as saury, lanternfish, or rockfish. Albacore off Washington and Oregon feed primarily on saury and northern anchovy.

Description and Range

Physical description

Pectoral fin extremely long – extends well beyond front of anal fin except in specimens under about 1 ft. (30 cm). Usually 7-9 dorsal finlets, 7-8 anal finlets. Liver striated on ventral surface. 25-31 gill rakers on 1st arch. Dark blue above; shading to silvery white below. 1st dorsal fin deep yellow, 2nd dorsal and anal fins light yellow. Anal finlets dark. Caudal fin white-edged.

Lengths up to 4.6 ft and weights up to 133 lb.

Geographic range

Worldwide in temperate seas; rare in tropics; Alaska to Revillagigedo Island (Mexico). Open seas and clear water; seldom close to shore.


Rules and seasons

Albacore tuna is one of the most sought after fish around the world, both commercially and recreationally, and are classified as a Highly Migratory Species. In the United States they are managed federally by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in cooperation with state fish and wildlife agencies.

Hook and line angling, spearfishing, and bow and arrow fishing only.

No minimum size and no possession limit. No daily limit, except YELLOWFIN, SKIPJACK, and NORTHERN BLUEFIN daily limit of 2 each.

Where to fish

Albacore tuna can be caught off the Washington coast in summer and early fall. Even though albacore can be caught all summer, August and September tend to be the most popular months for anglers. Albacore are usually more abundant during August and September and the weather is normally little calmer.

Recreational anglers typically fish or albacore 50 to 100 miles off the Washington coast. Occasionally albacore will come in as close as 35 miles and, on rare occasions, they have been known to come in as close as 15 miles. Recreational albacore trips can last one to three days depending on the distance traveled to the tuna grounds.

State record

WeightAnglerLocationDate Caught
52.00 lbs Kurt Strickland Pacific Ocean, Grays Harbor County October 1, 1997

See all sportfish records