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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Lingcod Seasonal Patterns  (Read 1553 times)

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I would be interested in hearing what you know about the migration of lingcod in this area specifically related to spawning.  I used to fish from jetties in North-Central Oregon and would always catch the greatest numbers of lingcod in late April and May, when I assumed they moved to shallow water to spawn.  I'm also assuming that water temperature is the key factor in determining when they spawn, so if that is true, they should spawn earlier in the year in this area?


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I haven't read any particular studies about lingcod migrations (but it is on my list of things to do before the Elk tourney this year  :smt002 )...

Anyway, as you've already mentioned, lingcod migrate to shallower depths to spawn.  Fisheries managers often like to protect essential fish habitat and will place closures on certain fisheries to correspond to when and where fish are during critical periods in their lives like spawning.   Because of this, one good predictor of exactly when spawning in lingcods probably occurs in California would be our seasonal closure during the months of Dec-March (for shore-based angling and spearfishing).  Many fish have an ideal spawning temperature and as such I wouldn't be surprised if lingcods spawn earlier down here and later in the season up north. 

Many people wonder wonder why Fish and Game doesn't allow C&R of fish out of season and fishing for lingcod during spawning is a great example of why this is bad.   Beyond the pure mortality that occasionally occurs during C&R or released fish, male lingcods actually guard the nests after mating.   A passing lure is often bitten by the guarding male simply out of aggression towards the "intruder".   In the few minutes it takes to catch and release that fish, their eggs are exposed to predation by other fish and crabs.  So although the male might be released unharmed, hundreds of potential future fish can easily be lost.

If you're interested in more details, I'll let you know what I find out after I do my literature review of lingcod biology.


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