3 - 5 pounds
19" - 22"
A Chilipepper Rockfish has an elongated, slender body with a pointed head and a lower jaw that projects outward. It has a red-to-pink color and with pink fins. It looks shiny and bright when caught fresh. It also has a light and bright red lateral line along its sides.
It grows slowly but can live up to 35 years. The male Chilipepper Rockfish matures earlier than its female counterpart. It matures at two years, while the female matures at four years. However, females grow much bigger compared to males.
An adult Chilipepper Rockfish feeds on small squids, small crustaceans, and smaller fishes such as young hake, small sardines, anchovies, and lanternfishes.
An adult Chilipepper Rockfish can grow up to 22 inches and weigh from 1 to more than 5 pounds.
The Chilipepper Rockfish are commonly found along the Pacific Coast – from Baja, California, to the North of Vancouver Islands in Canada. Many of its population is concentrated in between Cape Mendocino and Point Conception, with large schools swimming into depths as deep as 1,349 feet. They are not considered migratory fishes, so it’s safe to say that these locations are their primary habitat.
However, young juveniles occur on the shallower surface, while the adults stay deeper, especially under and along with rocky areas and reefs. Some prefer to remain in muddy and sandy bottoms.
For recreational anglers, the vertical hook & line would do. You can fish midwater since this where they forage frequently. The usual rig to catch a Chilipepper Rockfish consists of six hooks and has a sinker with enough weight to take the line to the bottom. You can easily lure them either with live baits or artificial ones that mimic their natural prey. However, make sure that it is tough enough to remain on the hook since it will take some time to reel the line back in.
This fish, however, is most known to commercial fishers by trawling at the bottom or midwater. It is widely sold commercially because of its sweet taste and just the right texture (between delicate and firm). Compared to other rockfishes, the Chilipepper Rockfish is less vulnerable to fishing pressure. That is why fishing for it either recreationally and commercially is still allowed. However, there might be catch limits and other gear restrictions depending on the state.