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Bottomfish Identification: Rockfish

Yellowmouth Rockfish
Sebastes reedi

Caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls and longline gear.  Recreational harvest within Puget Sound has been closed.  See the Sportfishing Regulation Pamphlet.

Description: The body of the yellowmouth rockfish is red mixed with yellow to orange (mixed with black in smaller fish), and has dark mottling.  There is a thin pink-red strip along the lateral line and 3 dark bands across the head.  The mouth is pinkish white with yellow and black blotches. It has a long lower jaw with a moderate to small symphyseal knob. After capture, yellowmouth are often confused with Pacific Ocean perch (POP).  POP have a prominent, forward facing symphyseal knob on their lower jaw, compared to a small one in yellowmouth, and have no pink-red stripe along the lateral line.  The inside of the mouth of a POP is grey.

Maximum Size: To 58 cm (23 in) in length.

Maximum Age: At least 99 years.

Range/Habitat: Yellowmouth rockfish range from the northern Gulf of Alaska to San Francisco, California.  They have been found at water depths of 100 to 431 m (330-1,422 ft), and are most common from about 180 to 275 m (594-908 ft) in depth.  Adults aggregate in mid-water over high-relief rocks. 


  • Kramer, D. E., and V.M.  O'Connell, 1995. Guide to northeast Pacific rockfishes: genera Sebastes and Sebastolobus. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska.
  • Love, M. S., M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson, 2002. The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. University of California Press.