*Sharper Hooks*
*Tighter Lines*
Spiny Dogfish




Information & facts

Spiny Dogfish

Latin Namedogfish
Squalus acanthias

Group Name


Spiny dogfish are distributed throughout the world. In Canada, they are found off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In the western Atlantic, they range from Newfoundland and Labrador to Florida. In the eastern Pacific, they occur from Alaska to southern California. Spiny dogfish prefer temperate waters and are most common from Nova Scotia to North Carolina in the Atlantic, and in Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait in the Pacific. They are usually found at depths of 50-200 metres, though sometimes as deep as 350 metres.

Species Description

Spiny dogfish resemble other species of shark, with a pointed snout and a slender, streamlined body. On their dorsal side they have a spine before each of the two triangle-shaped dorsal fins, the first of which is large and the second small. Their tail fin has an upward directed lobe. They are brown or grey on top and white or greyish-white on their underside. Juveniles will have speckles of white on their back and sides. Spiny dogfish can grow to a maximum length of about 1.5 metres. They live 25 to 30 years in the Atlantic, and up to 80 years in the Pacific.

Dogfish Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics

Ok, if you read the above you should have some basic scientific knowledge of Spiny Dogfish, but let’s face it you came here to learn to catch dogfish. That’s why this section of my website is dedicated to spiny dogfish fishing tips. I’ve put together a set of tips that will help both novice and veteran fishermen.

  • Set up light tackle - Use a light rod -- around 5 to 7 feet in length -- with a spinning reel attached. Fill the reel with light test, such as 10- to 12-pound test monofilament or braided fishing line.
  • Use a small- or medium-sized claw hook - with a pyramid sinker tied about 5 feet above the hook.
  • Use just about any kind of live, dead or cut bait - to catch dogfish, as they are known to bite on almost anything. Good baits include small bonefish, squid, bunker chunks and mullet.
  • Anchor your boat in fairly deep water - at least 30 feet, for catching spiny dogfish. You can also catch them while drifting as well. Allow the sinker to take the bait all the way to the bottom of the sea floor. Jig the bait from time to time, if anchored.
  • Cast your line about 10 to 15 feet from shore - if fishing in the surf or from a pier. Allow the motion of the waves to jig the line for you. Reel in and check your bait occasionally and replace, if necessary.
  • Set the hook once you feel a strike - Allow the dogfish to run for a couple of seconds before starting to reel it in. Keep the line away from structures -- if fishing from a shore or pier -- or away from your boat, if on the water.