Copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) are common to the rocky structure and kelp forest associated with the rocky shore, deepwater bays and nearshore reefs. Although the copper rockfish are a bottom dweller occurring at depths up to 80 feet, they are often located within 10 feet of Quillback rockfish. They are often found feeding near the surface along the rocky shore or jetties at dawn or after dusk. Copper Rockfish mature between 7 and 8 years of age and may live up to 20 years with a maximum life span of 55 years old. Giving the time, they attain a maximum length of 22 inches but usually average 12 to 14 inches.Copper rockfish have variable coloration ranging from olive brown to copper with pink or yellow blotches and white on sides and belly. The dorsal fins are a dark copper brown to black with some white interspersed between the spines. The rear two thirds of the lateral line are distinguished by a lighter color. Angler’s fishing from shore catch a higher percentage of copper rockfish than do anglers fishing from boats. Copper rockfish respond the Diel Vertical Migration and are most active at dawn and after dusk. They feed on crabs, i.e. dungeness, rock crabs and hermit crabs, etc, shrimp, molluscs, octopi, chitons, polychaetes (marine worms) and small fish, i.e. shiner perch, midshipmen and anchovies, etc. Copper rockfish are opportunistic eating most anything they can, but the adults prefer forage fish and are often caught by anglers using jigs.
Return to the Nearshore assemblage of Rockfish Species.