Puget Sound rockfish (Sebastes emphaeus)

Category: Fish
Related species groups: Rockfish

Rarely caught off the Washington coast by recreational harvesters.

Description and Range

Physical description

The Puget Sound rockfish is one of the smallest rockfish species and has a very slim body. Underwater it is brown, pinkish red or copper with dark blotches fading to whitish ventrally. It usually has a dark brown stripe running along the flanks below the lateral line. A pale green bar may extend from the eye with green flecking above the lateral line. These colors all fade after capture. The mouth is red, fins are light in color, and the anal fin is rounded. The abdomen appears dark from developing embryos in ripe females and the internal lining of the body cavity is dark.

Puget Sound rockfish can grow up to 18.3 cm (7.2 in) in length. Maximum age is at least 22 years old.

Geographic range

Puget Sound rockfish range from Prince William Sound, Alaska, to Punta Gorda, California. Adults have been found at water depths of 3 to 366 m (10-1,200 ft). They prefer high-relief rocky outcrops or boulder fields with high currents and often form small schools.


Rules and seasons

Recreational harvest within Puget Sound has been closed.