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Happenings

Here’s the Complete Calendar of Grunion Runs for 2016

March 22, 2016 by Brian Champlin

The seasonal moonlight ritual of the grunion spawning on California beaches is certainly one of the most unique and spectacular ways to encounter nature that our local region has to offer.

Grunion spawning generally occurs from March through August with peak spawning from late March to early June.

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Beginning on the nights of the full and new moons, spawning takes place in four-day blocks, starting in the late evening on each date, after high tides, and continuing for several hours.

Females may spawn up to six times each season, laying between 1,600 and 3,600 eggs during one spawn (or more!).

Grunion Run Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Credit: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium via Facebook

Although the CDFG does not recommend any specific California beaches for observing the summer grunion spawning, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro has six upcoming ‘Meet the Grunion‘ events starting on Friday, March 25.

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Each event includes an educational auditorium program and guided observation at the beach during the spawning. The cost is $5 for adult, non-members.

Dates are as follows:

  • Friday, March 25, 2016 from 8:00pm – 12:00am
  • Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 8:00pm – 12:00am
  • Sunday, May 08, 2016 from 8:00pm – 12:00am
  • Monday, June 06, 2016 from 8:00pm – 12:00am
  • Wednesday, June 22, 2016 from 8:00pm – 12:00am
  • Thursday, July 21, 2016 from 8:00pm – 12:00am

via Merrilee Adler on YouTube

Below we’ve listed times and dates below for the 2016 ‘open season’,  which means on these days you can try to catch grunion as long as you have a California fishing license (required for persons 16 years and older collecting grunion).

Keep in mind Grunion may be taken by hand only. No holes may be dug in the beach to entrap them. Per government guidelines there is no bag limit, but it is recommended to take only the fish you can use. In other words, don’t waste fish!

Also, it’s important to note that these two-hour intervals are only probable estimates for when spawning may occur. In truth, you may have go out on multiple evenings at a choice location to ensure you’ll be able to see a run.

Christina and I went to a Meet the Grunion event last year and stayed until midnight but… no dice.

But don’t let that deter you!

2016 Grunion Season Schedule

March

  • March 9 | 9:45 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.
  • March 10 | 10:20 p.m. – 12:20 a.m.
  • March 11 | 11:05 p.m. – 1:05 a.m.
  • March 12 | 11:50 p.m. – 1:50 a.m
  • March 23 | 10:20 p.m. – 12:20 a.m.
  • March 24 | 10:45 p.m. – 12:45 a.m.
  • March 25 | 11:10 p.m. – 1:10 a.m.
  • March 26 | 11:35 p.m. – 1:35 a.m.

June

  • June 5 | 10:00 p.m. – Midnight
  • June 6 | 10:45 p.m. – 12:45 a.m.
  • June 7 | 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
  • June 8 | 12:20 a.m. – 2:20 a.m.*
  • June 20 | 9:45 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.
  • June 21 | 10:20 p.m. – 12:20 a.m.
  • June 22 |  10:55 p.m. – 12:55 a.m.
  • June 23 | 11:35 p.m. – 1:35 a.m.

July

  • July 4 | 9:50 p.m. – 11:50 p.m.
  • July 5 | 10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
  • July 6 | 11:15 p.m. – 1:15 a.m.
  • July 7 | 11:55 p.m. – 1:55 a.m.
  • July 20 | 9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • July 21 | 10:05 p.m. – 12:05 a.m.
  • July 22 | 10:45 p.m. – 12:45 a.m.
  • July 23 | 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

August

  • August 2 | 9:35 p.m. – 11:35 a.m.
  • August 3 | 10:15 p.m. – 12:15 a.m.
  • August 4 | 10:55 p.m. – 12:55 a.m.
  • August 5 | 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
  • August 18 | 9:55 p.m. – 11:55 p.m.
  • August 19 | 10:35 p.m. – 12:35 a.m.
  • August 20 | 11:25 p.m. – 1:25 a.m.

* Note that where the forecast run starts at or after midnight, the date of the previous evening is shown.

Times and dates for closed season (observation only) during April and May can be found via the California Department of Fish & Wildlife website.

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