MALIBU—The grunion run is expected to run from June 6 through September. Peak spawning is from late March to early June and some of the best beaches to view the run are in Malibu and Santa Monica areas.
Grunion are silver-colored fish with bluish green backs that resemble sardines in size and shape. These fish are known for their peculiar mating ritual wherein very high tides during a full moon female grunion come up to sandy south facing beaches and dig their tails into the sand of the beach to lay their eggs. The male grunion plants himself next to the female where she lays her eggs to deposit his sperm into the sand. For the next 10 to 14 days after the initial fertilization process, the eggs remain buried in the sand until the next high tide. By the next set of high tides that arrive, the grunion have hatched and are washed out to sea. Grunion are among the few fish that breed out of water and do so by the thousands.
For those who missed the grunion viewing that transpired on Thursday, June 6 there is another opportunity to view the run on Monday, June 17 through the Thursday, June 20. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium will be hosting a late-night educational evening Wednesday, June 19 from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. to inform attendants about the life of the grunion as they spawn. Tickets for the event at the aquarium are $5 per person and $1 for seniors, students, and children.
Catching grunion requires a license for those who are over 16 years of age. Legally one can only catch grunion with their hands and it cannot be captured between the months of April and May. Individuals are warned to wait until after the grunion have spawned before attempting to capture them. Like in any other type of angling, remember to only catch what you will utilize when catching grunion.
For a full schedule and best times to observe and catch grunion visit: https://www.californiabeaches.com/grunion-run-schedule/