Rockfish Species and Regulations

Rockfish Species and Regulations

Rockfish Limits

There are 69 different species of rockfish which are categorized by the following: Red (Weak Head Spines and Strong Head Spines), Red/Black (Weak Head Spines and Strong Head Spines), Black (Weak Head Spines and Strong Head Spines), Banded (Strong Head Spines), White-Spotted Red (Strong Head Spines).

They are organized by color and then by the strength of their head spines in correlation with the length and quantity of spines. Rockfish are Sebastes, a genus of fish in the Sebastidae family but are also commonly known as rock cod, redfish, ocean perch, and sea perch.

Rockfish are also a part of a group of fish called groundfish (bottomfish), which include 90+ species that live near or at the bottom of the ocean. Recently there has been a movement to decrease the mortality of rockfish by passing laws that put a “no retention” for all sport and commercial fishing. Due to this law, fishing for rock cod in Oregon and Washington is quite difficult.

RockFish Species List

Rockfish Regulations


  • Open year-round to anglers and divers. From March 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 the fishery is open to boat-based anglers.
  • You may only take or possess rockfish in waters less than 360 feet (60 fathoms) deep.
  • The daily limit and/or possession is 10 fish per person at any single moment (includes all species of Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenlings).
  • This includes sub limits on black rockfish (5 per person) and bocaccio (3 per person). Yelloweye, Canary, Bronzespotted, and Cowcod rockfish are not allowed to be retained.

Rockfish regulations CA



  • No retention (keeping) of any China, Copper, or Quillback Rockfish.
  • You may keep one Canary Rockfish as part of the 7 fish marine bag limit. Blue Rockfish daily sub bag is 3 fish.
  • If these rules are broken there may be a closure of all fishing for bottomfish to avoid over fishing and/or mortality.


  • Rockfish regulations in Washington are more strict compared to California.
  • You are not allowed to fish, retain, or possess rockfish in Areas 6-13.
  • In Areas 1-5 you are allowed to fish and retain rockfish with the exception of Canary and Yelloweye.
  • For example: Marine Area 1
    • Fishing Year-Round
    • No Minimum Size
    • Daily Limit: 10
    • No Canary & Yelloweye Allowed.


  • Regulations vary by seasons.
  • May 16 – December 31,
    • min. 28 inches and a possession limit of 2 per person is allowed
  • Trophy Seasonal May 1-15
    • Minimum 32 inches and 1 per person possession limit
  • Both Chesapeake Bay Spring Season (May 16 – June 15) and Chesapeake Bay Fall Season
    • Min. 18″, max 28″ and limits are 2 per person.
  • Striped bass are categorized as rockfish too… Why is this? Honestly no idea!



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