Atlantic Tomcod


The Atlantic Tomcod (Microgadus tomcod), also known as the frostfish or winter cod, is a valuable species from the Gadidae ⁤Family. This small to medium sized‍ fish is notable for its ability to thrive ‍in very cold temperatures due to ​a unique genetic adaptation.

Conservation Status

The Atlantic Tomcod is ⁣currently not considered endangered​ or under significant threat. Conservation efforts are generally focused⁣ on​ maintaining healthy population levels ​through sustainable fishing practices.


Statistic Average Range
Length 15 inches 12-17 inches
Weight 1.1 pounds 0.5-1.5 pounds
Average Lifespan 7 years N/A


The Atlantic Tomcod is⁤ found in the coastal​ waters of North ‌America from Labrador ‍to Virginia.⁤ The species ‌does not engage in large-scale migrations, but some movement within their home range may occur‍ with changes ‍in season and water temperature.


Atlantic Tomcod are most commonly ​found in brackish waters​ such as estuaries and rivers. They thrive in shallow waters between‍ 1 and ​60 meters deep and prefer cold temperatures, often living in waters as ⁤cold as ‍0 degrees Celsius in the winter months.

When and Where ‍to​ See

  • Seasonal patterns: Atlantic‍ Tomcod ​are active year-round, but they are most commonly ‌seen during the winter months when they move⁣ into ‌shallow waters.
  • Time of day: They are​ typically most active⁣ during the early morning and late afternoon ‍hours.

Best Fishing Locations

  1. Saint Lawrence River, Canada
  2. Hudson River, New York
  3. Kennebec⁣ River, Maine
  4. Connecticut⁤ River, Connecticut
  5. Dartmouth, ‍Massachusetts
  6. Delaware River, Delaware
  7. Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania
  8. Potomac River, DC
  9. Housatonic River, Connecticut
  10. Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island

How to Catch

  • Bait or lures: ​Small jigs‍ and‌ live worms are the most effective bait.
  • Fishing techniques: Bottom⁢ fishing, trolling and ice ⁢fishing are all commonly used methods for catching ​Atlantic Tomcod.
  • Best time: Early⁢ morning or late afternoon during the‍ winter months.

Identification⁣ Guide

The Atlantic Tomcod can be distinguished ⁤from similar species by its small size, protruding lower jaw, and light-colored spots along its gray-brown body. The belly is usually white or⁣ pale.


  • How to ⁢Cook: Tomcod can be cooked in a variety of‍ ways, including baking, grilling, and frying. ‌It’s often ‌breaded or used in fish and chips.
  • Taste Profile: Atlantic Tomcod has a mild, sweet flavor and a relatively firm texture.
  • Nutritional Information: It is rich in protein and contains ⁢healthy fats like Omega-3’s.

Additional Information

Tomcod are bottom dwellers and ⁢feed on small fish and invertebrates, including worms, ‌shrimp, and small crabs. ​They spawn⁤ in rivers and estuaries during the ‌winter months.

Predators and ⁣Threats

Natural predators include larger fish and seals. The‍ Atlantic Tomcod also‍ faces⁢ threats from water pollution⁢ and habitat degradation.

Cultural/ Historical Significance

The Atlantic Tomcod has long been an important species for commercial and ​recreational fishing ​in⁣ North America, particularly ​in the⁢ northeastern United States and Canada.

References and Further Reading

  • Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. (2017). "Atlantic Tomcod".
  • Bigelow,‍ H.B. and Schroeder, W.C. ⁢(2002). “Fishes of the Gulf of Maine”. Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Collette, B. and Klein-MacPhee,⁣ G. (2002). “Bigelow and Schroeder’s‍ Fishes of the Gulf of Maine”. Smithsonian Institution Press.