Physical Description

  • An oval-shaped fish with a small mouth.
  • Dark blue, olive brown, or grayish black coloration on back, becoming lighter on belly.
  • Lighter gray blotches on sides.
  • No spots on dorsal (back) fin.
  • Bottom fin straight, not rounded, which distinguishes it from the black rockfish.
  • Adults up to 21 inches in length.


  • The Bering Sea to Punta Baja, Baja California, Mexico.


  • Live on rocky bottoms, rocky shores, kelp beds, even shipwrecks.
  • Found at depths of 0-300 feet, but most commonly 0-100 feet.


  • Main spawning season is November-March.
  • Fertilization is internal.
  • Rockfish hatch their eggs internally and give birth to live young, which are quite small and helpless.
  • A female blue rockfish can contain 500,000 eggs at a time! 


  • Salps (gelatinous plankton), jellyfish, shrimp, crustaceans, small fishes, and algae.


  • Juveniles are eaten by lingcod, salmonids (salmon and trout), and other larger fish.
  • Adults are eaten by marine mammals like harbor seals.

Interesting Facts

  • Blue rockfish are often found in large schools.
  • They can live to be quite old fish, up to 44 years old! 
  • This species was redescribed by Frable et al., 2015. Ben Frable is the collections manager of the Marine Vertebrate Collection at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Sources: California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Encyclopedia of Puget Sound; California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book

Photo: Howard Hall