View Full Version : Canary Vermillion Hybrid?

07-11-2005, 01:54 PM
I'm so confused please help. Went out of Santa Cruz for Rockcod this past Sunday. Got into a school of what I presumed to be Canary (all quality 4-7lb fish). Threw them all back without any hesitation due to their Orange color and an apparent light colored lateral line. (I have a copy of the DFG "Canary Rockfish vs Vermillion Rockfish Chart" on board) Headed back to the boat ramp to find this guy (had a wild wave hat on not sure if he was a deckhand) at the caged cleaning station with a cooler of the same fish I was throwing back. They were orange in color and had the distinct light colored lateral line. I questioned him on the fish and pulled out my chart and said "see your fish are orange in color, and have the light colored lateral line". He then showed me that his fish all had a "straight Caudal fin and what he said to be a rough chin (I couldnt tell from feeling it, it could have been semi-rough or smooth. He swore they were Vermillions. Is it possible for fish to have Characteristics of both fish described on the DFG chart. And if so, what then? Can anyone please shine some light on this matter and if anyone else has experience catching fish with characteristics of both fish. On the DFG Chart it describes Canary to be Orange/Red to Red in color and Vermillion to only be Red. Can Vermillion also be Orange in color? and can vermillion also have a light colored band. If the fish in question has a straight Caudal fin does that automatically make it a Vermillion despite the color? Now I am really confused. Might have had too much sun! Please Help!

07-11-2005, 04:48 PM
Below is a vermilion rockfish. You can see the rounded anal fin behind the downrigger. Most of the ones caught in California have black edges on the fins. It is hard to confuse vermilions with canaries. Canaries are yellow green or yellow with a little orange tinge. They have a distinct light grey stripe along the lateral line.


07-11-2005, 04:57 PM
I would say that ,that guy would have gotten a really big ticket.If fish and game caught him. Vermillions are not light orange. You did the right thing by not keeping any.

07-11-2005, 05:30 PM
According to the DFG warden at the boat ramp at Bodega.
A Canary has a black dot on it's dorsel fin.......
I'll let you all know what kind of fine you can expect to pay if "You" end up with one in your cooler.

07-11-2005, 06:14 PM
Intimadator, did you get pinched by the fish and game? ???

07-12-2005, 05:52 AM
The Vermillion also has scales on the lower jaw.

07-12-2005, 07:33 AM
Yes sir....Out of five limits of Rock and Lings....
As captian of the boat I took the citation because it happened on my boat..........

07-12-2005, 01:14 PM
Canaries only have the black spot on their dorsal fin when they are less then about 14" in length.

Although most vermilions tend to be red and canaries tend to be orange, color isn't the best characteristic to distinguish between them as they can both be orange or red.

As for the coloration of the later line, vermilions can also have a pale lateral line if you view them underwater or just after you catch them. As the fish dies, the vermilion's lateral line becomes darker and the canary's stays light colored. Of course fish and game wouldn't be pleased if you wait around for a canary to die.

It's best to learn the morpholoical (i.e. shape) differences. Vermilions have a striaght caudal fin while canaries are slightly forked. Vermilions have a rounded anal fin while canaries are pointed. And the best method in my opinion is to run your finger on the underside of the jaw bone, if it's smooth it's a canary and if it's rough it's a vermilion.

Of course, none of this maters if you run into a warden who doesn't know all of that gives you a ticket for your orangish colored vermilion. If I catch one that I think a warden might question, I just toss it back.

07-12-2005, 04:06 PM
i say again

"even the wardens can't properly identify rock fish"


07-13-2005, 06:52 AM
Anybody have a defense i can use on my trip to court in August....By the looks of the decription in the Regs it looks yellow the one we had looked more orange?

07-13-2005, 07:03 AM
You might bring a copy of this thread. It could help to illustrate the confusion and illustrate the problems other folks beside yourself have in identifying the species.

The regs are well intentioned, but they can't work unless every fisherman is a trained biologist. I know that it is controversial, but depth limits, seasonal closures, and exclusion zones (marine refuges)are a better solution. You can't expect fisherman to distinguish juvenile shelf species from related smaller species. Many of the most desirable rockfish species really cannot sustain a combined sport and commercial fishery. But they should allow limits to be retained regardless of the species. Fish brought up from 120 ft and returned are going to die anyway in most cases.

07-13-2005, 08:59 AM
The only way I know to give any fish a chance for survival from coming up from deep is to hook it lightly in the lip or tail and promptly send it back down to depth then shake it off the hook. I have no idea of survival rate but I have felt fish "wake up" after they get back down to depth.
Short of fishing strictly on schools of blacks, yellowtails, or vermillions I haven't found any way to be sure of not catching a "restricted" fish, but when in doubt, throw it back is a good practice. Also sticking to shallower than 50-60 feet has ensured the survival of dinks that I let go.

07-13-2005, 03:35 PM
Proper deflation of a fish brought up from 120 ft does give it a chance at survival. But it's not a very good chance. There have been lots of studies showing that most fish that are released die after a day or so, not right away. 120 ft is almost 4 atmospheres. That's a pretty bad case of the bends with associated organ damage. Lowering the fish down to depth on a hook is a better solution, but the trip up is rough on the fish no matter what you do. I strongly doubt that the 120 ft limit was based on any type of science other than the relative abundance of deep water species at different depths. I think they should allow retention of everything caught at legal depths and chalk it off as by-catch.

07-13-2005, 06:28 PM
WOW! I just read this whole thread and I'm stunned. I'm hitchhiking a rock fishing trip with GCinGV at Bodega the first week in August and I had no idea the rules and fish were so hard to differentiate on the coast. Looks like it's gonna be a learning experience.

07-13-2005, 07:29 PM
Yea,it will be a learning experence. I can't tell you how many rockfish that i have seen thrown over,just to float away helpless. It is not as bad now that they done away with the 2 fish sublimit on chinas-blk/yellows -browns -gopher etc. but it sure sucks when that 6lb canery gets turned into crab food. :(

07-19-2005, 09:53 AM
Just trying to keep this thread towards the top.

07-19-2005, 12:07 PM
Even printing the photo copies is confusing

I had planned on doing some shore fishing on a trip and I printed all I could just to cover the bases...

Not one photo of ling, greenling, sea trout

There are shelf varieties and bottom varieties...The regs alone are 64 full pages...

It is just about the same as steelhead and salmon these days....you can fish between this bend in the road and that store but don't get caught with one caught behind the store!!

Fined for carrying a fish across a section that is deeper than 120' from a section that is 120'...give it a rest...

close the season, open the season...before you know it your going to need a class in navigation, saltwater fisheries biology and mapping just to go out.

I've had enough biology to know caudal from dorsal, but how many else do?? Then get into color blindness...somebody is in deep stuff...above hip waders for sure.

08-31-2005, 04:52 AM
Case dismissed!!!!!!!!!
PM if you want all the details about DFGs big scam.

08-31-2005, 11:34 AM
I've only caught one vermillion. My buddy and I had all the info on canaries and vermillions on board, including colored pictures. I showed him all the info and even he wasn't 100% sure (and he's a physician!). That gray line threw us off. It was more noticeable when we first caught it. We didn't know just how "rough" that chin had to be. But what helped me with the decision was that I've seen tons of pictures of guys like you all holding up your vermillion in pictures. I went by the full color from top to bottom and the relatively flat tail.


Two weeks ago, I went to visit my parents in Union City. While there I dropped by a new Asian market called Seafood City. Went inside and there were tons of fish on ice beds on several aisles. Guess what ... there was a pile of canaries and a pile of vermillion. Sure they were dead, but color did stand out. The vermillions were darker orange throughout. The canaries were lighter and a bit more spotty, with some orange/yellow. I finally got to compare the chins on both fish. When feeling the chin going from back to front, the vermillion chin feels a little like a cat's tongue ... scratchy. It wasn't as noticeable going the other way. The canary chin was smooth all the way. NO sandpaper like feel to it at all. And when they say chin, it's not the tip, but the area where my right middle and index finger are located in the picture. That will be the feature I look for next time I hook one. Hope this helps.

08-31-2005, 11:38 AM
Case dismissed!!!!!!!!!
PM if you want all the details about DFGs big scam.

cool! If it's no problem, let's hear some details.