Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) Family Gadidae, Cods

Common name: haddock

Description: These fish are dark gray above with silvery sides and a white underbody. They have a black lateral line and show no spots. A distinctive large black blotch, referred to as “the devil’s thumbprint,” is located behind and above their pectoral fins. Haddock, like cod, have three dorsal fins and two anal fins. With haddock, the first dorsal fin is visibly pointed. A small chin barbel can be found on their lower jaw and they have a shallowly forked tail fin. At three years of age, haddock typically measure 19 to 20 inches in length.

Where found: offshore

Similar Gulf of Maine species: pollock, cod

Remarks: Haddock are bottom feeders that generally inhabit water depths ranging from 100 to 500 feet. Unlike cod, they often avoid the rocky bottom and prefer a bottom of clay, smooth hard sand or fragmented shells. Haddock are known to bite as freely as cod and when hooked are considerably more active. The fishing tackle and baits used for cod also work well for haddock. Haddock is a sweet tasting fish, making it a prized food item.

Records: MSSAR (Maine State Saltwater Angler Records)
IGFA All – ­Tackle World Record

Fish Illustrations by: Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 563­2286

Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

BACK TO: Maine Saltwater Fish Species List

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