The Great Sculpin is quite a large fish in the sculpin family. You can see them sitting on the bottom of rocky reefs, but you must look hard for them as they blend in very well. They can be identified by their large and flat head that just seems to be too big for them. The mouth is large and extends to beyond the eye when viewed from the side. When seen up close, you will notice that they usually have many parasites on their face. Their color varies greatly.
These sculpins are caught on a regular basis by recreational fishermen and many are taken inadvertently by the commercial fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. They are amazing looking fish.
The great sculpin is dark olive green on the dorsal surface with four dark blotches along the back. The belly is often pale to a light yellowish color, but not always. I have seen them with an almost black belly. There are a number of dark bars running along the fins. It has very large eyes. The fins are separated and there are up to 10 dorsal spines and up to 16 dorsal soft rays. This species lacks an anal spine.
They are a very large sculpin and can reach up to 80 cm in length, and it’s not uncommon to see them upwards of 9 kg in weight. They can live up to 20 years in the wild.
They can be found from Alaska to Washington state and in the waters along the BC coast, from the shoreline shallows down to 250 meters deep or deeper. When these guys lay still, you can swim right by them without seeing them, they blend into their surroundings so well. I think they are awesome fish.