Rockfish Identification

Here's a guide to identifying various rockfish species:

Yelloweye Rockfish

  • Orange-red to yellow body color.
  • Bright yellow eye.
  • Fins may be tinged with black.
  • Raspy ridges above eye.
  • Largest species of rockfish.

Vermilion Rockfish

  • Dark red and mottled gray body.
  • Red mouth.
  • Underside of jaw is rough.
  • Fins may be edged with black.
  • Rounded anal fin.

Copper Rockfish

  • Variable body color.
  • Light-colored stripe along rear of lateral line.
  • Two dark bars radiating from eye.

Bocaccio Rockfish

  • Orange, olive, or brown body.
  • Large mouth extending past rear of eye.
  • Projecting lower jaw.

Black Rockfish

  • Black or grey body.
  • Large mouth.
  • Rounded anal fin.

Canary Rockfish

  • Bright orange or yellow body, mottled with grey.
  • Fins are orange without black edge.
  • Three orange stripes across head.
  • Smooth chin.
  • Sharp, angular anal fin.

Yellowtail Rockfish

  • Olive green body with yellow-green fins.
  • May have knob at tip of lower jaw.
  • Rear edge of anal fin vertical.

Tiger Rockfish

  • Pink to red body with five red to black vertical stripes.
  • Strong ridges between eyes.
  • Two dark bars radiating from eye.

Blue/Deacon Rockfish

  • Blue or black body.
  • Several diagonal bars on forehead.
  • Small mouth.
  • Vertical or slanted posteriorly anal fin.

Quillback Rockfish

  • Brown body with yellow mottling.
  • High fin on back with yellow mottling.
  • Freckles on head and throat.
  • Two light saddle patches on top of back.

China Rockfish

  • Blue or black body spotted with yellow and white.
  • Prominent yellow stripe from top of back along lateral line to caudal fin.

Widow Rockfish

  • Short head with small mouth.
  • Various shades of brown to orange.
  • Lighter color in smaller fish.
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