Brown Rockfish
Sebastes auriculatus

Physical Description

  • Light brown with dark brown mottling (spots or smears)
  • Prominent dark brown spot on gill cover
  • Rounded bottom fin
  • Fin spines are sharp and mildly venomous
  • Can grow to 22 inches long


  • Prince William Sound, northern Gulf of Alaska to Bahia San Hipolito, Central Baja California, Mexico
  • Many juveniles live in San Francisco Bay


  • Shallow waters, subtidal (below the low-tide line) areas, bays
  • Rocky areas, kelp beds, eelgrass beds, pilings
  • Older brown rockfish move to offshore, deeper waters
  • Depths of 0-444 feet, but commonly less than 175 feet


  • Juvenile brown rockfish feed on small crustaceans, amphipods, and copepods
  • Larger brown rockfish feed on crabs, shrimp, and smaller fish


  • Lingcod, birds, dolphins, seals, sharks, cabezon, and salmon¬†

Interesting Facts

  • Often called Chocolate Bass, or Bolina, for Bolinas Bay, where they were first caught in large numbers.
  • They rarely move more than a couple of miles from home in their whole lives!¬†

Sources:; Fishbase;

Photo: Herb Gruenhagen

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