Sebastes Caurinus



Nearshore, Kelp Forests, Coral Reefs

3 - 10 pounds

13" - 23"

Copper Rockfish

Also Known As: Copper Seaperch

Copper Rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) Fish Description

The Copper Rockfish is a saltwater fish with a deep body. Their color varies from dark brown to orange with copper-colored blotches or sometimes yellow to pink blotches. They’re carnivorous fish that mainly eats crustaceans, cephalopods, and small fish. Their dorsal fins are spined, so be careful if you catch one.


Interesting Facts About the Rockfish

  • Most juvenile rockfish clings on to kelp forests, but as they grow older, they move to rocks where they nest.
  • Their coloration is used to help them blend with their surrounding rocks or coral formation where they live, giving them a bit of camouflage.
  • Sometimes it gets hard to identify copper rockfish since they tend to interbreed with other rockfish species such as the brown and canary rockfish.



The copper rockfish is a small to medium-sized fish. The max size of 26.4 inches and the heaviest was 10 lbs. The average size of 13.3 inches and 3.3 lbs. Despite their small size, the copper rockfish can live up to 50 years old.


Habitat and Distribution

The copper rockfish are found in the vast waters of the Pacific Ocean. They are located in the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. In the U.S., the best spots are located in California such as Santa Monica, Monterey, and Santa Rosa.  They have a wide depth of 33 to 600 feet. You can also find them in Puget Sound. They mostly thrive in the rocky areas of nearshore waters or offshore waters, and even man-made structures such as jetties. 

The copper rockfish are not migratory species. They usually just stay in one place once they have a rock where they can hide and settle. They prefer water temperatures between 34° to 60°F. The best time to catch this gamefish is during their spawning season, which is December to March.


How to Catch a Copper Rockfish

The copper rockfish is a popular gamefish. They are perfect for beginners since they are not bait-shy. They will mostly take a bite of anything and there are plenty of them. Anglers can fly fish them by using a boat, casting by the jetties, and even by piers.

Copper rockfish mostly hangs in the bottom. Anglers will have more success by setting up their gear to hit the bottom of the water. Set your get to hit the sweet spot for rockfish, which is between 30-150. Look for shallow rocky areas where they will most likely hide and cast your bait there. Drop it down then raise it a couple of feet, then drop it down and raise it again. Continue to do this until you get your prized copper rockfish.

Here’s the recommended equipment to fly fish a copper rockfish. Use 6- weight medium-action rod of 7- to 8- feet in length. For your line, use a 50-pound test braided line with a 30-pound monofilament leader. To help you reach the bottom, use some sinkers. A good weight for sinkers is around 10-12 ounces. Use hook sizes around 1/0 to 4/0 circle hooks.

The best lures to use for the copper rockfish are rubber tail jigs. Bucktails are also a good choice for this fish, as well. You can also use squid and shrimp flies, which are proven to be effective. For baits, use worms, shrimps, pieces of squid, or minnows.