Physical Description

  • Medium-sized rockfish with a compressed body.
  • Bright red coloration on the body and fins; many with black and gray mottling on back and sides.
  • Have a large mouth with a lower jaw that protrudes beyond small upper jaw.
  • Juvenile fish will have more mottling, often darker in color.
  • Adult fish usually 14-22 inches long.


  • From Prince William Sound, Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.


  • It is generally found over rocky bottoms.
  • Found at depths of 100 to 500 feet.


  • Mature at 5-6 years old.
  • Larger fish contain more eggs; a 21-inch fish can have 1,600,000 eggs!
  • Mating period from December to March.
  • Internal fertilization occurs, and females give birth to live young.


  • Juvenile vermilion rockfish feed primarily upon shrimp–like animals, like krill.
  • The larger adults feed almost exclusively upon fishes (including smaller kinds of rockfish and white croaker), squid, and octopus.


  • Predators include humans, as well as sea lions, seals, sharks, and cetaceans.

Interesting Facts

  • Names of this fish also include vermilion seaperch, red snapper, red rock cod, and rasher.
  • These fish can live to be 60 years old.

Sources: NOAA Fisheries; California Sea Grant; California Department of Fish and Game

Photo: Kevin Lee