Widow rockfish (Sebastes entomelas) are commonly referred to as Brownies and make a significant contribution to the recreational angling opportunity by ranking sixth overall in the rockfish catch statistics.
Widow rockfish are most common on the continental shelf suspended in over rocky banks, seamounts, canyon ridges, headlands and muddy bottoms near rocks at depths between 328 and 984 feet. Widow rockfish gather in large schools at dusk rising toward the surface feeding on pelagic crustaceans, forage fish, shrimp and squid in response to the Diel vertical Migration before dispersing during the day.
Maturation occurs in widow rockfish at 8 years of age and at 15 inches in length. They live up to 28 years of age but the males usually live no longer than 15 years and the females usually live no longer than 20 years. Widow rockfish achieve a maximum length 21 inches and weight of 4¾ pounds. The body color of the widow rockfish varies from brown with gold hues to dusky brown fading to a lighter color ventrally. The anal fin has a strong posterior slant toward the tail fin.
Large concentrations of widow rockfish occur off of headlands, most notably at Cape Blanco. The common characteristics of the headlands include extended points of land, offshore canyons and current circulation eddies inshore of main currents. These oceanographic characteristics appear to be associated in some manner to aggregations of widow rockfish during their reproductive cycle.
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