CobraMB put together this great thread and decided to move it to the front for your viewing.

Black-and-Yellow Rockfish
Sebastes chrysomelas

length – 15 in
wt – 3+lb

Most common between Mendocino County and Point Conception
Distinguishing Characteristics
Same essential shape as Gopher Rockfish but with yellow blotching and spotting. Similar in color to China Rocks but lack a single lateral yellow line the China has. Statewide, most common in less than 50 feet.Adults prefer rocky bottom seeking shelter in holes and crevices and emerge at dusk. More aggressive than gophers will dominate shallower areas where gophers are present.

Photos and sources:
*** www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/nearshorefinfish/blackandyellowrockfish.asp
*** dfw.state.or.us
*** California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book

Black and Yellow

Black and Yellow

 

Black Rockfish
Sebastes melanops

AKA (black snapper,black bass)

length 27″
weight 10lb

Occur most commonly north of Point Conception in a variety of habitats, including loose groups or alone. Bluish Black with dirty white underside and white band along lateral line. Can be fished with nearly any kind of bait including lures.

Photos and Sources
*** pt-lobos.com
*** California Finfish and Shelfish Identification Book

Black Rockfish

Black Rockfish

Blue Rockfish
Sebastes mystinus

AKA (blue bass, blue snapper)

length 21 inches
wt 3 lb

Blotched dark blue or bluish black becoming lighter below. Has stripes angling down and back from eyes. No spots on dorsal fin and straight versas round anal fin help to distinguish it from Black Rockfish.
Found statewide, most popular north of Point Conception. Found mostly just below surface where kelp is present or on rock bottom when its not.

Sources and photo
California Finfish and Shelfish Indentification Book
Emeralddiving.com
Wikipedia

Blue Rockfish

Blue Rockfish

Brown Rockfish
Sebastes auriculatusAKA (bolina cod, chocolate bass)length 22″
weight 5 lb

Can be found state wide most commonly in shallow waters up to 450 feet. Can also be found in bays and other shallow waters. Various shades of brown with red brown, dark brown or black mottling(appearance of uneven spots). Has prominent dark brown spot on rear gill cover that lightens with age. Adults found solitary or in small groups in deeper water near rock outcroppings. May be found with vermillion, copper, canary and calico rockfishes.

Sources and photo
California Finfish and Shellfish Indentification Book
http://pnwscuba.smugmug.com/Fish/brownrockfish/

Brown Rockfish AKA Bolina

Brown Rockfish AKA Bolina

 

China Rock Fish
Sebastes nebulosus

Up to 18 inches

Found from Alaska to Rodondo Beach, more common north of Sonoma County. Similiar in appearance to the black-and-yellow rockfish but has a yellow or white yellow lateral line. The are found most commonly between 30 and 300 feet. “Adults are solitary and territorial, preferring rocky outcrops with boulder fields and crevices”

sources and photo
www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/nearshorefinfish/chinarockfish.asp
deepstrikeak.com
Wikipedia

China Rockfish

China Rockfish

 

Copper Rockfish
Sebastes caurinus

AKA (neverdies, whitebelly, chucklehead)

length 22″
weight 10lb

Can be found statewide especially between southern and central California. Highly variable in color including blotchy olive, dark brown, copper pink or red. Has light colored strip on 2/3 of lateral line. Belly is bright white and several bars radiate back from eye. Can be found in intertidal zones all the way to 600 feet. Usually feed in morning and evening hours.

sources and photo
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp
California Finfish and Shelfish Identification Book
hmsc.oregonstate.edu

Copper Rockfish

Copper Rockfish

 

Gopher Rockfish
(Sebastes carnatus)AKA(gopher cod, butterball)Length – up to 17 inches

Can be found state wide, especially between Point Conception and Monterey Bay but uncommon north of Sonoma County. Can be caught in intertidal zones up to 260 feet. Body shape essentially the same as Black-and-Yellow but has olive brown to reddish brown patches covered by pinkish blotches on upper half extending into dorsal fin.

Sources and photo
California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book
bocaboard.com

Gopher

Gopher

Grass Rockfish
(Sebastes rastrelliger)AKA Grass Basslength – to 17 inches

Found statewide near shore in shallow waters, among seaweed, kelp, rocky reefs and around caves. Most commonly caught between 15-30 feet. Blackish green to olive green with paler green or brown molting. Pectoral fin usually have pink edges when alive. They are most active at night feeding on bottom dwellers, such as crab, shrimp, snails and small fish.

sources and photo
2nd photo.. CobraMB in Morro Bay yakking by jetty
California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/fishid/images/Sebastes_rastrelliger.jpg

Grass Rockfish

Grass Rockfish

Greenspotted Rockfish
Sebastes chlorostictus

AKA chucklehead, red rock cod, bolina

up to 20 inches in length

“The body of the greenspotted rockfish is elongate and moderately compressed. The upper profile of the head is rather steep with a nearly straight slope. The jaws are even when closed. The color is yellow pink with distinct green spots over the back and top of the head”
“The greenspotted rockfish occurs from Cedros Island, Baja California, to Copalis Head, Washington. Greenspotted rockfish are caught around offshore, rocky reefs at depths ranging from 160 to 660 feet.”

sources and photo
www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp
montereybayaquarium.typepad.com

GreenSpotted Rockfish

GreenSpotted Rockfish

Kelp Rockfish
Sebastes atrovirens

AKA sugar bass

up to 16 inches

Dark-olive gray to olive-brown, darker w/ mottling, fins same color as body. Distinguised from Brown Rockfish by its lack of dark spot on gill cover and distinguished from Grass Rockfish by observing gill rakers, which are long and slender. Found from Mendocino County south among kelp beds and rocks from surface to 140 feet but most common in depths averaging 35 feet.

sources and photo
California Finfish and Shelfish Identification Book
http://montereybay.noaa.gov/visitor/slideshow/pages/13.html
www.afsc.noaa.gov/…/RockfishGuide/Rockfish…/Kelp_rockfish.htm
oceanlight.com

 

Kelp Rockfish

Kelp Rockfish

Olive Rockfish
Sebastes serranoides

AKA johnny bass, jonathan

up to 24 inches

Dark olive or greenish-gray with lighter blotches on the back. Color lightens on sides. Color may vary from olive green to bright yellow. No red-brown flecking on scales helps to differentiate from Yellowtail Rockfish. Few head spines except those on gill cover differentiate it from Kelp Bass. Found from Crescent City south, but rarely north of Fort Brag. Usually found near the surface around kelp beds or near bottom of rock areas where kelp does not form dense beds that reach surface. Most common where kelp beds where depth is 40 feet or deeper. Olive Rockfish are schooling fish often found with Blue or Black Rockfish.

Sources and Photo
California Finfish and Shelffish Identification Book
Photo is from CCKF member Sin Coast(thank you)

Olive

Olive

 

Quillback Rockfish
Sebastes maliger

AKA brown bomber

up to 24 inches

Found from Point Sur northward but most common in northern California. Prefer rocky bottoms found in subtidal areas to depths of 900 feet. Brown with yellowish to orange blotches toward front of body covering head and extending into spiny dorsal fin. Quillbacks are thought to feed in morning and evening hours primarily on bottom dwelling crustaceans.

sources and photo
California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book
nrimp.dfw.state.or.us
takakouno.com

Quillback

Quillback

Rosy Rockfish
Sebastes rosaceusup to 15 inchesOrange-red to purple w/ yellow wash on lower sides; 4 or 5 clear, whitish blotches, bordered w/ purple-red on upper part of body; fins pink w/ yellow.Found from Puget Sound to central Baja, but rare north of California. Bottom-dweller, usually between 90-150 feet, though occasionally deeper.

Sources and photo
http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/groundfish/RockfishGuide/Rockfish_Pages/Rosy_rockfish.htm
emeralddiving.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3380840962/#

Rosy Rockfish

Rosy Rockfish

Starry Rockfish
Sebastes constellatus AKA spotted corsair, spotted rockfishup to 18 inches

Description: The body of the starry rockfish is elongate, robust, heavy forward tapering to the tail. The head is rather pointed in profile and the mouth is large with the lower jaw projecting only slightly beyond the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. The body is red orange and profusely covered with small white spots. There are four or five large whitish blotches along the back. It is a very distinctive fish that is not easily confused with any other rockfish.

Range: The starry rockfish occurs from Thetis Bank, Baja California, to San Francisco, California, and is found around rocky offshore reefs at depths of 80 to 900 feet.
-http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp

photos:
mexfish.com
http://www.oceanlight.com/stock-photo/starry-rockfish-image-09354-913549.jpg

Starry

Starry

 

Treefish
Sebastes serriceps

AKA lipstick bass, barber pole

length up to 16 inches

They are striking in appearance with a yellowish ground color and five to six vertical black bars on the side, with red, pink or orange lips. Found from San Francisco south, but are rare north of Point Conception. May inhabit very shallow waters up to 320 feet but are more common in more than 200 feet. Prefer rugged rocky areas with plenty of crevices and caves. They are solitary and highly territorial.

Sources and photo
California Finfish and Shelfish Identification Book
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/nearshorefinfish/treefish.asp
mlmlblog.wordpress.com

Treefish

Treefish

Vermilion Rockfish
Sebastes miniatus

AKA red snapper, red rockcod

length up to 30 inches
weight 15 lb

The body of the vermilion rockfish is moderately deep and compressed. The upper profile of the head is some what curved; the mouth is large, with the lower jaw slightly projecting. The color is bright red on the body and fins; many with black and gray mottling on back and sides. On fish shorter than 12 inches, the mottling is much more apparent and the fins are often edged with black. The yelloweye and canary rockfishes are similar in appearance to the vermilion, but the bottom of the yelloweye and canary’s lower jaws are scaleless and feels smooth to the touch. The vermilion rockfish has scales on the bottom of the lower jaw which make it rough to the touch.
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp

Found throughout California at depths between 50-500 feet (usually less than 100 in central California) over rocky jagged floors. Feed almost exclusively on fish, squid and octopus.
California Finfish and Shelfish Identification Book

Photo source
emeralddiving.com

Vermilion

Vermilion

Yellowtail Rockfish
Sebastes flavidus

AKA yellow bass

length 26 inches
weight 7 lbs

Description: The body of the yellowtail rockfish is elongate and compressed. The head is rather long and the upper profile is steep and slightly curved. The lower jaw projects, but not beyond the upper profile of the head. The color is grayish brown above which shades to white below. The sides are finely spotted with yellow. The tail is yellow, while the other fins are dusky yellow. When the fish is fresh, reddish brown speckling is visible on some of the scales. As with many of the rockfish, identification can be somewhat difficult. Some of the distinguishing characteristics of the yellow tail rockfish include a convex (surface curves outward) space between the eyes, the absence of spines on top of the head, a projecting lower jaw, an anal fin with eight (rarely seven) soft rays and the lining of the belly is white.

Range: The yellowtail rockfish occurs from San Diego, California, to Kodiak Island, Alaska; however, it is most often caught by recreational anglers off of central and northern California. It is regularly found over deep reefs from the surface to depths of 1,800 feet.
-http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp

photo
pnwscuba.smugmug.com

Yellowtail Rockfish

Yellowtail Rockfish

Bocaccio
Sebastes paucispinus

AKA salmon grouper, grouper, mini-grouper (juveniles), red snapper, Pacific red snapper.

length – up to 36 inches
weight – up to 21 lbs

Description: The body of the bocaccio is elongate and compressed. The head is pointed, the mouth large, and the lower jaw greatly protruding. The color varies from shades of brown to reddish and extends down over the belly. Young fish are generally light bronze with speckling over the sides and back. As they mature, their color generally becomes darker and the speckling gradually disappears.

Range: Bocaccio occur from Punta Blanca, Baja California, to Kruzof Island and Kodiak Island, Alaska. Young bocaccio 1 or 2 years old travel in loose schools and move into shallow water where they may be captured in quantity. With increasing age they seek deeper water and move from near the surface to near the bottom. Adults are commonly found in waters of 250 to 750 feet over a somewhat irregular, hard or rubble bottom. They have been found at depths as great as 1,050 feet.
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp

NOTE:
Fishing Limit is 2 Bocaccio, minimum size 10 inches, within the RCG complex of 10 total fish.

Photo Source
arkive.org
kenjonesfishing.com

 

Bocaccio

Bocaccio

Chillipepper
Sebastes goodei

AKA chilli, red snapper

length – to 23 inches
weight- 5 lbs

Description: The body of the chilipepper is slender and rather elongate. The head is elongate, pointed and with no spines; the lower jaw is projecting. The chilipepper is generally pinkish becoming whitish below. The middle of the chillipepper’s side, the lateral line, stands out clearly, as a lighter, bright red zone. In comparison to the bocaccio, it has a smaller mouth with an upper jaw that extends only to about the center of the eye, not past it.

Range: This species occurs from Magdalena Bay, Baja California, to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Chilipeppers are not taken as frequently as other rockfishes because they are rarely caught in depths less than 360 feet along the coast of California. They generally occur over rocky bottoms and have been taken as deep as 1,080 feet.
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp

photo source
landbigfish.com

Chillipepper Rockfish

Chillipepper Rockfish

Cabezon
Scorpaenichthys marmoratus

AKA cabby, bullhead, cabezone

length- up to 39 inches
weight – to 25 lb

Description: The body of the cabezon is elongate and stout. The head is large, broad and the snout is bluntly rounded. The mouth is large. The color is usually dark brown, but a variety of colors ranging from blue green to reddish brown occur and there is much mottling. It looks somewhat like the lingcod, and sometimes has blue colored flesh. It is a member of the true sculpin family and it can best be distinguished from the similar looking lingcod by: the absence of scales on its body; and by the presence of a small flap of skin, a cirrus, over each eye and in the middle of the snout. The lining of its mouth is a pale to dark blue and it also lacks the large teeth of the lingcod.

Range: Cabezon occur from Point Abreojos, Baja California, to Sitka, Alaska. Cabezon are usually found on the bottom around rocky reefs and kelp beds in water less than 100 feet deep, although they are known to occur as deep as 250 feet.
http://www.glumacefishing.com/fishinfo/saltwater-species/cabazon/

NOTE:
Fishing Limit is 3 Cabezon, minimum size 15 inches, within the RCG complex of 10 total fish.

photo
CCKF member Dogpound

Cabby

Cabby

Kelp Greenling
Hexagrammos decagrammus

Rock Greenling
Hexagrammos lagocephalus

AKA sea trout, rocktrout, kelp trout

length
kelp – up to 21 inches
rock – up to 24 inches

Kelp Greenling most in central and northern California while Rock Greenling are rare south of San Francisco. Both species inhabit relatively shallow waters around kelp, rocky shores and jetties. Maximum recorded depth is 150 feet.

The Rock Greenling is reddish-brown with darker mottling and often has large bright-red blotches on the sides. The inside of the mouth is bluish. The male and female Kelp Greenling look so different that they were first described as separate species. The body color is variable in both sexes, ranging from light gray to brown. Males have large irregular blue patches anteriorly. Females are uniformly covered with smaller reddish-brown to golden spots and have yellowish-orange fins.

Sources and photos
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/nearshorefinfish/rockgreenling.asp
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/nearshorefinfish/kelpgreenling.asp
California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book
elasmodiver.com
seaotter.com
nrimp.dfw.state.or.us
norcalkayakanglers.com

NOTE
Minimum size limit for fishing is 12 inches

Greenling

Greenling

4 thoughts on “Rockfish of the Central Coast…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *