The Cowcod, known by the scientific name Sebastes levis, is a species part of⁤ the Scorpaenidae family, which contains⁤ the world’s various types of rockfish. This orange to red-brown creature‍ is recognizable,‍ the name hinting at its large,‌ cow-like size amongst its rockfish‍ relatives.

Conservation Status

As of today, the Cowcod is listed under the ⁣“Endangered” species according to the International ​Union‍ for Conservation of Nature‌ (IUCN). Conservation efforts have ⁤been set up, including‍ fishing limitations and creation of conservation areas to ⁢protect their natural habitats.


Length81 cm39-93 cm
Weight16 kg5-25 kg
Average ‍Lifespan50 yearsN/A


The⁢ Cowcod’s nature is ⁣to remain ‌in a ‍particular ⁣region, ⁤making it⁣ non-migratory. They are ⁢usually found along the coastlines of California, particularly from Point Conception to the Baja Peninsula.


  • Water ⁤type: Saltwater
  • Depth range: ​ 30-100 m
  • Temperature range: Mild to Cool Temperatures

When and Where​ to See

The Cowcod best thrives in cold climates, thus it is easier to‌ spot ⁢them towards the end and start of the year. The species is nocturnal and is usually active during ⁣the night.

Best Fishing Locations

Fishing experts have identified specific locations ideal for‌ catching Cowcod, largely within the California region:

  1. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, California
  2. Cordell Banks National Marine Sanctuary, California
  3. Monterey Bay National​ Marine Sanctuary, California

If these specific ​locations ⁣aren’t readily accessible, one of the keys to locating Cowcod is searching for rocky regions in deeper parts of the sea.

How to Catch

The Cowcod responds best‌ to live bait, primarily squid or small fish. Bottom ‍fishing is‌ the usual technique to catch ​Cowcod since they often stay⁢ in rocky, ‍deep sea environments. ‍While ​they are more active at night, fishing ⁢regulations often limit Cowcod catches to daylight⁢ hours.

Identification ‌Guide

The Cowcod has⁢ a ‌thick body, colored with a bright orange to red-brown hue. A distinctive physical characteristic is ‍an anal fin that is rounded with‍ a ‍noticeable third spine. It’s⁣ easy to confuse ⁣with ⁣other rock fishes, but the Cowcod ⁢usually is ​larger and has​ cleaner, more vibrantly colored fins.


The Cowcod, like its rockfish relatives, tastes mildly sweet with a firm, lean texture. Its meat is low in saturated fat and high in protein, making Cowcod a nutritious option. In​ terms of cooking, Cowcod can be grilled, broiled or baked.

Additional Information

The⁢ Cowcod generally feeds on benthic invertebrates and small fishes. Breeding rituals include internal fertilization, with⁣ the eggs hatching inside the female before releasing. Their natural predators include larger fish ⁣and​ marine mammals. Threats to the Cowcod come mainly from fishing and habitat destruction.

References and Further Reading

  • Cowcod Research