Spotfin Croaker
Roncador stearnsii

Physical Description

  • Long body
  • Curved head, very blunt snout
  • Silvery-gray coloration, bluish coloration on top, white on belly
  • Dark wavy lines on the sides; large black spot at base of side fin (hence its name), black tail and top finsĀ 
  • Largest ever recorded was 14 pounds, longest was 27 inches


  • Point Conception, California to Mazatlan, Mexico
  • Gulf of California, Mexico
  • Most common south of Los Angeles Harbor


  • Bays, beaches
  • Coarse sand, heavy mud
  • Depths of 4-50 feet


  • Fat innkeeper worms, ghost shrimp, burrowing pencil clams, mussels, bloodworms, sandworms, small crustaceans


  • Seagulls
  • Often caught by fishers

Interesting Facts

  • Spotfin croaker travel extensively. Fish tagged in Los Angeles Harbor were caught in Oceanside
  • Spotfin croakers often congregate in depressions called croaker holes; fishers that find these can return again and again to the same spot

Sources: California Department of Fish and Wildlife;;; Surfside, Sunset and Newport Beach, Orange County: Environmental Impact; University of California

Photo: Ken Jones

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