It’s Almost That Time: Get Ready for Grunion Run March 9

They leap, spring, swim, roll their way out of the ocean onto the sandy beaches.

They are the grunion invading the beaches for a four-day run March 9-12.

The first expected run is between 10:20 p.m. and 2:41 a.m., but the times may vary during high tides at different harbors and bays.

Beaches that often have good grunion runs include Santa Monica, Venice, Hermosa, Cabrillo and Long Beach.


Grunion in the moonlight look like a frolicking mass of shimmering glass glowing silver and are one of nature’s reproductive phenomenon.

The female risks her life on the beach, drilling herself into the wet sand. Once buried she will deposit as many as 3,000 eggs.

Marine biologists have determined there are four nights following a high tide when spawning is optimal for grunion.

Related to the jacksmelt, the grunion is a member of the silversides family of fish. Grunion is tasty and the experience of observing or gathering the fish can be rewarding.


Grunion must be gathered by bare hands. It is illegal to trap or use any other method. People taking grunion must have a California fishing license in their possession.

Grunion watchers and catchers may attend seminars at the Cabrillo Marine Museum on March 10 and 24. For information, call 548-7563.

A big change in water temperature at San Clemente Island was noted by anglers on the Outerlimits from L.A. Harbor Sportfishing, who were catching big bull bass when yellowtail started to follow the squid.

Casting toward the kelp, Torrance angler Frank Cronin set the hook on a yellowtail. After 20 minutes he hauled in a 24 1/2-pound yellowtail, the first to be caught this year at a South Bay landing.