Many Washington State anglers are thrilled with the abundance of Lingcod fishing spots our saltwater areas have to offer. Whether it is in the Pacific Ocean, the San Juan Islands or Puget Sound, each year anglers just can’t wait to get out and boat their first Lingcod of the season. But what if you don’t own a boat? Fret not my shorebound friend! Washington offers a few jetties and public piers where boatless anglers can catch Lingcod.
I have spent a fair amount of time hunting the infamous Lingcod from shore, and I have a few tips and hotspots to share with you!
Jetty Fishing Spots for Lingcod
Jetties are manmade rock formations that are built at the entrance to many Washington coastal waterways. They provide excellent habitat for many species of fish, including Lingcod. A jetty can be a treacherous place during storms, but during fair-weather many anglers travel to our jetties to catch Lingcod, Rockfish, Sea Perch and Salmon.
Columbia River North Jetty
The North Jetty is located on the north shore of the Columbia River near Ilwaco, Washington. It is located in Cape Disappointment State Park, yet the fishing here is anything but disappointing. Most of the Jetty is composed of extremely large rocks, and just getting to a good fishing spot is an adventure within itself. Anglers catch Black Rockfish year round, but Lingcod are caught with shocking regularity from Spring through early Fall. Salmon are caught from the Jetty throughout the summer months.
The Westport Jetty is located on the southern entrance to Grays Harbor in Westport, Washington. This Jetty is accessible from Westhaven State Park. This is Washington’s most popular jetty and for good reason. It is the closest to Seattle and Tacoma. It is fairly easy to access plus fishing can be phenomenal.
Anglers catch Lingcod here with ease, along with limits of Black Rockfish, Greenling and Surf Perch. A few fishermen bring home good catches of King and Silver Salmon in late Summer, when salmon flood past the jetty to reach Grays Harbor rivers.
Hiking on the Westport Jetty is less treacherous than the North Columbia Jetty; families & older fisherman walk out and fish the first half of the jetty. The extreme end of the Jetty is difficult to get to with larger boulders to climb over, but many die-hard anglers make their way to the end. The end of the Jetty offers great fishing for all species.
While most anglers focus on the Harbor side of the Jetty for Lings, Greenling & Rockfish, I have also caught them on the Ocean side when the waves are not too dangerous.
La Push Jetty
The jetty at La Push is located at the mouth of the Quillayute River about ten miles west of Forks, Washington. This Jetty is right in the fishing village of La Push within the boundaries of the Quillayute Indian Reservation. This Jetty is located in some of the most remote stretches of coastline, with the best bottomfish populations found in our state. Lingcod, Black Rockfish, Greenling and Salmon are caught from the jetty. Consult the tribal office for required permits or tribal licenses.
Neah Bay Jetty
Many decades ago, as strong seas threatened the native village of Neah Bay, Waadah Island offered the only protection to the harbor and town. A jetty was eventually built connecting Waadah to the mainland, and provides more protection for the harbor. This Jetty offers great fishing for Rockfish and Greenling. While the water here is fairly shallow, it can offer fairly good catches of Lingcod. The jetty is located on the Makah Indian Reservation, and tribal fishing license is required.
Jetty Fishing Tackle for Lingcod
My favorite lures to use for jetty Lingcod are Jigheads & Soft Plastics. Losing tackle is just a part of the jetty fishing experience. As your lure is retrieved, it can easily get snagged on the submerged rocks. Jigheads & Soft Plastics are inexpensive yet they work very well. I will always carry a variety of Jigheads and different colors and sizes of Soft Plastics. I would say a variety of ½ oz – 4 oz Jigheads will cover any scenario, I seem to use more 1 oz – 2 oz than anything, but I also use braided lines. Braided line is thinner, therefore there is less resistence, and lighter Jigheads can sink quickly. If you use monofilament line, heavier Jigheads might be needed.
Fishing with Live Bait is also a popular method used to catch Lingcod from our jetties. Bring a Bait-Fishing Setup and catch a few smaller fish, whether they be small Greenling, Flounder, Perch or Sculpin. While Live-Bait fishing on the jetty can be a little challenging, most successful Ling fishermen I have seen will use a large slip float, a 1 oz sinker and a double hook set-up. It is very difficult to estimate depth from shore, so a sliding float with no stopper is perfect. The live bait will struggle to the bottom and hopefully a nearby Lingcod will capitalize on an easy meal!
I have also caught Lingcod using a whole Herring rigged under a float, but have had more luck with Soft Plastics myself. Probably because I use them more often!
Jetty Fishing Tips for Lingcod
- Safety First! There are many factors that can create hazardous conditions on our jetties. Always check weather, surf, bar, and marine forecasts before heading out. I always check tides, wind direction, swell height & direction, and surf condition.
- Tides: Spring Tides, where there is extreme highs & lows, can make for tough fishing. You can still do very well around the slack tide, but I prefer to fish softer tides where there is less tidal flow.
- Tackle: Bring more than you think you need. You will lose plenty of gear to snags. If I think I might lose 6 Jigheads in an afternoon, I will plan on bringing 6 of each size. If 1 oz. Jigheads are fishing perfect, you don’t want to only have a few!
- Line: Braided line is great because it has zero stretch and is very thin, but it isn’t as durable as monofilament. Braid can easily get frayed on sharp rocks and barnacles. Lingcod have very sharp teeth and can easily sheer through 40# Braid. If you plan to fish braided line, at least use a heavy 20# to 40# monofilament leader.
- Measuring Device: Lingcod have a size restriction (can vary from year to year or place to place). Make sure you carry something to measure potential keepers.
- If you aren’t catching fish in an area…experiment with lures. If that doesn’t work, move a little ways.