They are pelagic and on the move. Yellowtail Rockfish schools can be impressive, and can be found mid-water off the Pacific Coast. Fishermen need to first find them, then hover over the school if they want to catch a bunch. Great quality table fare and easy to catch once you locate them.
Yellowtail Rockfish Basics
Scientific Name: Sebastes Flavidus
Geographic Range: Alaska to Central California
Typical Depth: Surface to 500′
Typical Weight: 1 pound to 4 pounds
Yellowtail Rockfish are found throughout the North Pacific. But are found in the greatest numbers on the Washington Coast south to Santa Barbara, California. They are a pelagic Rockfish species and typically live in mid-water depths in large schools. You may find a school at 200′ deep in 400′ of water. Although, you can find them mixed in with other Rockfish along the Pacific Inshore. They feed on forage fish like Herring and Anchovies as well as krill and crab larvae.
How to Identify Yellowtail Rockfish
They are a slender Rockfish species. With the same body profile of Black, Blue and Canary Rockfish. They have an olive to light-brown body color with yellow fins.
Where Yellowtail Rockfish Live
Yellowtail Rockfish are sometimes difficult to avoid, but occasionally difficult to locate. Afterall, it is a big ocean. If you are fishing in over 200′ and find schools of Rockfish on your sonar, they are often Yellowtail. The inshore waters with rocky reefs and rockpiles can host decent numbers of Yellowtail. I have rarely found them in waters shallower than 50′ but it is possible.