Quillback Rockfish


The Quillback Rockfish (Sebastes maliger) is a ‌firm favorite species among sport⁤ fishers, especially those who enjoy deep-sea fishing. This mid-sized rockfish is part of the Scorpaenidae family, well known for their spiny fins.

Conservation ​Status

The ​current conservation ⁤status of‌ the Quillback​ Rockfish is ‘Least Concern’ as determined by the International Union ‍for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Conservation ⁣efforts are in place and constantly monitored due to its⁢ prominence as a targeted species ⁤by commercial⁣ fisheries.


The typical characteristics of the Quillback​ Rockfish ‍are as follows:

Characteristic Average Range
Length 45​ cm 30-61 ​cm
Weight 1.5 kg 1-3 kg
Lifespan 95 years Dependent on environment


Originally from Russia, ⁢the Quillback Rockfish has​ a wide distribution stretching along the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to California. They are non-migratory, instead choosing to inhabit the same‍ rocky reefs and structure⁢ throughout​ their lifespan.


Quillback Rockfish are typically found ⁣in saltwater, specifically in the subtidal zone down to depths of ⁣approximately 274 ⁣meters. They prefer cool, temperate ⁢waters and ​are accustomed to living around rocky outcroppings and underwater crevices.

When and Where to See

Quillback Rockfish are a year-round catch but can be more readily​ seen ​from late spring through to early fall. ​They ‍are more⁣ active during the day, often hiding in rock crevices at​ night.

Best Fishing Locations

  • Neah Bay, Washington
  • Katatia Harbor, Alaska
  • Kachemak Bay, Alaska
  • Gulf of Alaska, Alaska
  • Fogarty Creek, Oregon
  • Humboldt Bay, California
  • Monterey Bay, California
  • Juan​ de Fuca Strait, Washington
  • Coos⁤ Bay,​ Oregon
  • San Mateo Coast, California

How to Catch

Quillback Rockfish respond well to bait ‌such as shrimp, crab, clam meat, and other small fishes.⁤ Rockfish can ⁢be caught through bottom fishing ⁣and trolling methods, with the ⁣best time to catch them being during daylight hours.

Identification Guide

Quillback Rockfish are characterized by their brown to copper color, large mouth, spiny dorsal fin, and a distinct quill-like ⁤spine at the ⁤rear ⁢of the first dorsal fin. They are easily distinguished ⁣from other Rockfish species by their high, arching ⁣back.


Quillback Rockfish’s white, firm flesh is considered‍ excellent ⁤for various dishes, baked, ‌broiled, or even used in fish tacos.​ It’s virtually boneless and has a mild,⁢ sweet flavor that lends itself well to a ​multitude of​ flavors ⁤and cooking‌ methods. ⁢

Additional Information

Quillback Rockfish are bottom-dwelling⁤ predators, feeding primarily ⁢on prawns, shrimp, and various types of‌ crustaceans. They are preyed upon by larger fish, such as the Lingcod. The species plays a significant role in the cultural history​ of traditional​ indigenous communities, revered for its strength and ability to survive⁤ in deep, tumultuous waters.

References and Further Reading

For more information about the Quillback Rockfish, ‌the following sources are recommended for further reading:

  • “Sebastes maliger -​ Quillback Rockfish.” FishBase
  • “Identifying Rockfish.” Alaska‍ Department of Fish and Game
  • “Fisheries of the United States, 2018 Report.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)