Neah Bay and the North Coast offer some for the most fantastic Lingcod fishing in Washington State. The rocky coastline features pinnacles, cliffs, rock piles and reefs that host an unbelievable population of Lingcod, Sea Bass and other bottom fish. While many lingcod fishermen leave port and journey through the narrow passage between Tatoosh Island & Cape Flattery to reach the Pacific Ocean, even more fisherman with smaller boats enjoy great fishing inside of the entrance near Neah Bay in the Straits. Neah Bay offers so many places to catch everything from Greenling to Cabezon to Lingcod to Salmon that many fishermen make the trip every year, exploring the area and finding new fishing spots.
Neah Bay Lingcod Fishing
Lingcod inhabit the rocky structure that is so common to the North Coast. Practically every nook, cranny and crevice of the coastline has the potential to host Lingcod. Some of my favorite Ling spots are around the larger pinnacles and exposed rocks just off shore. One of the benefits of a Neah Bay Lingcod trip is that if you choose, you can fish these aggressive fish in less than 60 feet of water! Some of my largest near shore Lings have been caught near Strawberry Rock, Duncan Rock, Father & Son, Seal Rock & Sail Rock.
While there is an endless amount of nearshore structure to fish, there are also many extremely large Lingcod are taken in the deep sea near the edge of the continental shelf. Many deepwater enthusiasts focus on Lingcod before the ever popular Halibut fishing season opens in Neah Bay & La Push.
Lingcod Fishing in the Straits
While Lingcod fishing is popular near every town along the Juan de Fuca Strait, Neah Bay’s inside area (Marine Area 4B) has traditionally offered a longer season. From the entrance to the Pacific near Cape Flattery eastward to Sail Rock, the entire shoreline looks like textbook Lingcod habitat. Lings love rocky structure, and this area has it in spades. Fishing near kelp beds or reefs can produce great catches of Lings. When I fish the inside for Lingcod, I target rocky structure at depths of 25 to 70 feet. Folks with smaller boats that are keen on the weather can enjoy some great days fishing in this area. Even the northern shoreline of Waadah Island, which protects the marina, can offer up some stellar Lingcod and Rockfish fishing.
I typically use Swimbaits or Berkley Gulp Grubs when targeting Lingcod in shallow water. Stock up on lead jigheads between 1 oz. to 6 oz. for fishing the Straits or around the corner on the Pacific Coast. Many anglers will agree with me; there is something about Berkley Gulp Curly Tail Grubs that drive Lingcod crazy! Grab a couple packs before your next Lingcod trip.
Kayak Fishing for Lings
A few very talented kayak anglers fish the kelp beds and reefs around Waadah Island near the entrance to Neah Bay harbor. Seal Rock and Sail Rock are a short paddle from Snow Creek Resort that are a kayak anglers dream! Kelp beds, and a reef surround the two islands. There is a reef just east of the beach at Snow Creek Resort that would be perfect for kayak anglers!
Lingcod Fishing along the Pacific Coast
The open coastline can be more treacherous than the Straits, but this remote area is some of the most breathtaking shoreline in the United States. Rocky spires thrust up hundreds of feet above the crashing surf. Marine mammals and multitudes of sea birds thrive here on that boundary between temperate rainforests and open ocean. Boaters looking for Lingcod structure must be on high alert, ocean swells can force a vessel on exposed rocks. I prefer to look for structure away from Wash Rocks. These are the rocks that are so close to the surface that, while they may be difficult to spot, can cause severe hull damage if struck. Look for open areas with over a reef, ledge or rock pile that causes no potential danger.
There are many reefs outside from Makah Bay just south of Cape Flattery, near Strawberry Rock. My favorite shoreline Lingcod spot is Umatilla Reef, just off Cape Alava. The area around Spike Rock and Father & Son Rock are also productive. I cannot stress safety enough out here! As a good friend of mine once said, a Buddy Boat can be your salvation, should you get into trouble. Find another like-minded angler and plan a trip together.
Deep Sea Lingcod Fishing
Many of the offshore areas offer that rocky habitat that Lingcod call home. Deepwater Lings seem to be larger out here, it might be due to the fact that little fish don’t stay uneaten for long out here. This is big fish country. Barndoor Halibut, monster Yelloweye Rockfish and big Bucketmouth Lingcod own the turf in the deepwater reefs and banks that border the continental shelf. While deepwater fisheries in Washington have been limited to protect slow-to-mature Rockfish species, we still have a shot at targeting these monsters of the deep.
So where are the prime offshore Lingcod spots? Most Charter operators and die-hard Lingers will take that information to the grave, but if you are friendly enough, maybe even book a trip you can get at least the coordinates to a few honey holes. The Rockpile near La Push, the Southern boundary of the C –Closure and Tabletop are a few offshore locations that come to mind as being productive for Lingcod.
Large metal jigs and copper pipe jigs are perfect for these open ocean Lingcod.
Neah Bay Fishing Seasons
Check the current Washington State Fishing Regulation Pamphlet for Neah Bay seasons, they are subject to change. Be aware that there are certain depth restrictions as well as marine preserves closed to bottomfishing.
Neah Bay Lingcod Fishing Tips
- Be aware of any depth restrictions in place, and do not fish in closed waters.
- Do not assume that every dangerous rock is marked on your electronic chart, proceed with caution when fishing near the coastline.
- Keeping small Lingcod early in the day might mean you miss the opportunity to keep a trophy later in the day.
- Rockfish often do not survive after they are released. Target Lings first, as you will incidentally catch a few Rockfish. Finish up your Lingcod Limit, then go for your Rockfish limit!
- Most folks that make the drive out to Neah Bay plan on spending at least a few days fishing. Be aware that there is a limit of how many days worth of fish you can have in your possession.
- Always have a measuring device with you, just in case you decide to keep a fish close to the size limit.
- If you are interested in fishing from shore within the boundary of the Makah Reservation, you need a tribal fishing license.
- Lingcod have sharp teeth, so make sure to use very heavy mono leader.
Neah Bay Charter Boats
Neah Bay Lodging, Services & Attractions
There are plenty of lodging options in the Neah Bay area.
Neah Bay offers a grocery, convenience store, showers at the marina, tribal office, museum, coffee shop and restaurant. Big Salmon Resort manages the marina and offers coffee, hot breakfasts and a great selection of fishing tackle.
Neah Bay is a virtual outdoor playground. Surfers travel here to catch some of the biggest waves in Washington State. Campers enjoy some of the most scenic campgrounds. Hikers explore Cape Flattery and Shi Shi Beach. Divers flood into Neah Bay to seek out the most fantastic spear fishing in the Northwest.
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