One of the most widely caught bottomfish in the North Pacific is the Black Rockfish. They are a real crowd pleaser in rocky inshore areas. They are usually an easy catch, and their fillets are great for the table.
Black Rockfish Basics
Scientific Name: Sebastes Melanops
Geographic Range: Alaska to California
Typical Depth: 20′ to 200′
Typical Weight: 1 pound to 6 pounds
Black Rockfish are a pelagic species, so they will migrate to find forage or better rocky habitat. They are found in great numbers along the Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaskan coast. While the Pacific Ocean has the highest abundance, they can also be found in the straits, passageways and sounds that are adjacent to the open ocean. Their preference is waters ranging from 20′ to 200′ with some form of rocky structure in the vicinity.
How to Identify Black Rockfish
Most Black Rockfish are Black to Light Gray, with mottled coloring. The front half of the dorsal fin hosts sharp spines so be careful when handling.
Where Black Rockfish Live
Black Rockfish are structure oriented and are concentrated around rock piles, reefs and kelp beds that are anchored to a rocky bottom. They will hold and feed near the bottom. But often will school suspended above the structure, sometimes up to the surface.
Like most Pacific Rockfish species, they are slow growing. However they do mature faster than many of the non-pelagic species, reaching maturity in 7-15 years.