Aside from male territoriality, female seasonal migrations, and rapacious predatory behavior, lingcod tend to be sedentary ambush predators. They rest near rocks and wait for prey to swim near. During salmon migrations, however, lingcod have been observed predating at the surface over great depths, so relative abundance and position of prey affect behavior.

The life history of lingcod relates closely to that of Pacific herring. Larval lingcod settle from the plankton at the time during spring when herring larvae are becoming silver juveniles. Young lingcod that have not settled permanently from a swimming habit search in school formation during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk, and young herring are their favorite prey.

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