Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes)
Genus and Species:Sebastes miniatus
Description: The body of the vermilion rockfish is moderately deep and compressed. The upper profile of the head is some what curved; the mouth is large, with the lower jaw slightly projecting. The color is bright red on the body and fins; many with black and gray mottling on back and sides. On fish shorter than 12 inches, the mottling is much more apparent and the fins are often edged with black. The yelloweye and canary rockfishes are similar in appearance to the vermilion, but the bottom of the yelloweye and canary's lower jaws are scaleless and feels smooth to the touch. The vermilion rockfish has scales on the bottom of the lower jaw which make it rough to the touch.
Range: Vermilion rockfish occur from Prince William Sound, Alaska to San Benito Island, Baja California. They are generally caught over rocky bottoms at depths of 100 to 500 feet, although they have been taken from depths as great as 900 feet. Maximum depth: 1400 feet.
Natural History: The free swimming young of the vermilion rockfish feed primarily upon shrimp-like organisms, while the larger, bottom-living adults feed almost exclusively upon fishes, squid and octopus. Most fishes that are eaten are other smaller kinds of rockfish. Vermilion rockfish appear to mature and spawn for the first time when they are 14 inches long (5-6 years old). As with all other rockfish, fertilization is internal and they give birth to living young. A vermilion rockfish that is 12.5 inches long is estimated to contain 63,000 eggs, and one that is 21.5 inches long is expected to contain 1,600,000 eggs. The principal reproductive period lasts from December through March.
Fishing Information: Vermilion rockfish can be found just off the bottom over almost any rocky or rubble bottom at various depths The same rig, bait, and technique used for bocaccio works for vermilion rockfish. Conservation methods (seasons, hooks, depth) for rockfish vary by area, so be sure to check the current regulations before going out.
Other Common Names: red snapper, red rock cod.
Largest Recorded: 30 inches; no weight recorded; however, they attain a weight of at least 15 pounds. Largest taken off California by a recreational angler: 14 pounds, 9 ounces.
Habitat: Deep Rocky Environment