Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) belong to the family Hexagrammids. Contrary to their name, they are not true cod, but are greenlings. Lingcod are voracious predators and can grow to weigh over 80 pounds (35 kg) and measure 60 inches (150 cm) in length . They are characterized by a large mouth with 18 sharp teeth. Their color is variable, usually with dark brown or copper blotches arranged in clusters.
Lingcod will be found near any rocky structure. Deeper water tends to hold larger fish. Lingcod will eat anything that they can fit into their mouth.
Lingcod are present year-round.
Pacific halibut are the largest flatfish in Family Pleuronectidae. Halibut and other flatfish are flattened laterally, and swim sideways, with one side facing down and the other facing up. The upper side is typically gray to brown, or nearly black, with mottling and numerous spots to blend in with a sandy or muddy bottom. The underside is typically white.
Halibut are found in deep waters all over Sitka Sound. They concentrate on deep water flats and on the top of underwater plateaus.
Halibut can be found year-round in Sitka Sound. As the summer progresses, fish will move in closer to feed on dying salmon.
There are two types of rockfish you will find in Sitka: pelagic, being neither close to the bottom nor near the shore, and non-pelagic (demersal), which live on or near the bottom. Rockfish are found near the bottom along rocky structure and kelp beds. Rockfish will strike anything from jigs to herring.
Rockfish are present year-round.
The Chinook salmon is the largest of all Pacific salmon, typically measuring 36 inches in length, often exceeding 30 pounds. Adults are distinguished by the black irregular spotting on the back and dorsal fins and on both lobes of the caudal or tail fin. Chinook salmon also have a black pigment along the gum line, thus the name "blackmouth" in some areas.
Chinook are often found around Vitskari Rocks, Biorka Island, and any deep water trench/structure. Focus on tide rips, birds, and bait located on the sonar. Fish are found from 80 feet of water to 400 feet of water.
Chinook will make their first appearance in May and peak at the end of June. Fishable populations exist year round.
Adults usually weigh 8 to 12 pounds and are 24 to 30 inches long, but individual fish weighing 31 pounds have been landed. Adults in salt water or newly returning to fresh water are bright silver with small black spots on the back and on the upper lobe of the tail fin. They can be distinguished from Chinook salmon by the lack of black spots on the lower lobe of the tail and by their white gums; Chinook have small black spots on both tail fin lobes and they have black gums. Spawning adults of both sexes have dark backs and heads with maroon to reddish sides.
Coho are found all throughout Sitka Sound. They are generally found in the top of the water column. Birds are a good indicator and bait being present.
Coho show up in Sitka starting in July and peak at the end of August.