Sebastes Auriculatus



Onshore, Nearshore, Shallows

1 - 2 pounds

12" - 22"

Brown Rockfish

Also Known As: chocolate bass, brown bass, brown seaperch, brown bomber

Guides Who Fish This Species

Brown Rockfish (Sebastes auriculatus) Fish Description

The Brown Rockfish is a ray-finned fish from the family of Sebastidae. They are under many names such as the chocolate bass, brown bass, brown seaperch, and brown bomber.

As from its name, the Brown rockfish is a brown bodied fish of varying shades. It is primarily overlaid with dark-brown, red-brown, or blackish mottling. Streaks from red-brown, brown, or orange are exhibited from the upper jaw and eyes. By the rear area of their gill cover, the Brown rockfish has a prominent dark-colored patch. This mark might be fainter in larger Brown rockfish. They have venomous spines, similar to the Quillback rockfish, that can cause pain and injuries.

The Brown rockfish bears a resemblance to the Copper rockfish, and to distinguish one from another is by the absence of a dark patch on the Copper rockfish and having lighter parts on their body along their lateral line. They are also often confused between the Vermilion rockfish in deeper waters, and Grass rockfish in shallow waters.


Diet and Size

Brown rockfish are frequently nocturnal feeders, and their diet predominantly consists of small fishes, crab, shrimp, and other invertebrates.

Brown rockfish can grow in lengths up to 22 in. The female brown rockfish are potentially larger than their male counterparts, despite their similar growth rates and lifespans (about 34 years.)


Interesting Facts about Brown Rockfish

  • More than one population of the rockfish may exist along the Pacific coast of the United States.
  • In Puget Sound, and just off central California, the Brown rockfish population therein have coronal spines, which are absent for the Brown rockfish population in southern California waters. 


Brown Rockfish - Fishing Techniques

Brown rockfish tend to lie on the seabeds among seaweeds, next to rocks or other hidden locations during the day. 

They can be caught on both baits and lures. As game fish, they are not quite difficult to catch for anglers as they often don’t put much of a fight when hooked. What’s most essential when rock fishing is the way of getting your lure or bait to the bottom, especially when rock fishing from a drifting boat.

When attempting to catch a rockfish at a deep or heavy current, what you’ll want is a jig heavy enough to be able to drop straight down. And for shallower waters, you can use less heavy ones to weigh it. And for bait, small baitfish like anchovies, sardines will work just fine. Live bait is preferable, but dead bait works okay, too. Strips of squid or octopus also are known for excellent results.


Habitat and Distribution

Brown rockfish are usually found in inshore depths from 396 ft to sometimes 444 ft. Adult Brown rockfish are most frequently found close to the sea bottom. Juveniles brown rockfish are commonly found at shallower depths of 120 ft. The Brown rockfish are often solitary creatures, but can sometimes be found in small groups, and more turbid waters and living in areas with a sufficient source of light. 

They are a native species to the northwestern Pacific. Their range goes from Baja California and up towards the northern Gulf of Alaska. Brown rockfish come in plentiful, especially in the central and southern of Puget Sound, and also southern Baja California to Bodega Bay in northern California.

Brown rockfish, in shallower waters of California, are also discovered to be found in abundance around oil platforms.