You must have a fishing license to catch grunion. You can't just go up to the beach and begin picking them up or touching them without a license. California grunion are similar fish to smelt. People catch them with their bare hands only and aren't allowed to dig holes to catch them. The grunion runs are when the fish spawn on the beach and are timed with the tides. Grunion are somewhat hearty but like other fish, are susceptible to pollution and human activities. Grunion Greeters are trained volunteers who stand on the beach during the first few months of the run season, observing the fish activities and recording them for NOAA records and the Grunion Greeter science project.
March 13 Saturday 9:40-11:40 p.m.
March 14 Sunday 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
March 15 Monday 11:25 p.m.-1:25 a.m.
March 16 Tuesday 11:50 p.m.-1:50 a.m.
March 28 Sunday 10:10 p.m.-12:10 a.m.
March 29 Monday 10:40 p.m.-12:40 a.m.
March 30 Tuesday 11:15 p.m.-1:15 a.m.
March 31 Wednesday Midnight-2 a.m.*
June 10 Thursday 9:35-11:35 p.m.
June 11 Friday 10:05 p.m.-12:05 a.m.
June 12 Saturday 10:40 p.m.-12:40 a.m.
June 13 Sunday 11:20 p.m.-1:20 a.m.
June 24 Thursday 9:25-11:25 p.m.
June 25 Friday 10:15 p.m.-12:15 a.m.
June 26 Saturday 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
June 27 Sunday 11:50 p.m.-1:50 a.m.
July 10 Saturday 10 p.m.- Midnight
July 11 Sunday 10:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m.
July 12 Monday 11:10 p.m.-1:10 a.m.
July 13 Tuesday 11:55 p.m.-1:55 a.m.
July 24 Saturday 10:05 p.m.-12:05 a.m.
July 25 Sunday 10:50 p.m.-12:50 a.m.
July 26 Monday 11:35 p.m.-1:35 a.m.
July 27 Tuesday 12:20 a.m. – 2:20 a.m.*
August 8 Sunday 9:45-11:45 p.m.
August 9 Monday 10:25 p.m.-12:25 a.m.
August 10 Tuesday 11:05 p.m.-1:05 a.m.
August 11 Wednesday 11:45 p.m.-1:45 a.m.
August 22 Sunday 9:55 p.m.-11:55 p.m.
August 23 Monday 10:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m.
August 24 Tuesday 11:15 p.m.-1:15 a.m.
August 25 Wednesday 11:55 p.m.-1:55 a.m.
* Where the run starts after midnight, the date of the previous evening is shown.
The grunion are running but you can't touch them
APRIL (observation only)
April 12 Monday 10:15 p.m.-12:15 a.m.
April 13 Tuesday 10:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m.
April 14 Wednesday 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
April 15 Thursday 11:25 p.m.-1:25 a.m.
April 27 Tuesday 10:05 p.m.-12:05 a.m.
April 28 Wednesday 10:45 p.m.-12:45 a.m.
April 29 Thursday 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
April 30 Friday 12:15-2:15 a.m.*
MAY (observation only)
May 11 Tuesday 9:35-11:35 p.m.
May 12 Wednesday 10 p.m.- Midnight
May 13 Thursday 10:25 p.m.-12:25 a.m.
May 14 Friday 10:55 p.m.-12:55 a.m.
May 26 Wednesday 9:40-11:40 p.m.
May 27 Thursday 10:25 p.m.-12:25 a.m.
May 28 Friday 11:10 p.m.-1:10 a.m.
May 29 Saturday 12:05 a.m.- 2:05 a.m.*
* Where the forecast run starts at or after midnight, the date of the previous evening is shown.
1. The times given for
each date reflect the
Daylight Time) during which a
spawning run may occur.
This schedule predicts grunion runs at Cabrillo Beach near the Los Angeles
Harbor entrance. The timing of the runs varies at different places along the
coast: San Diego runs occur about 5 minutes earlier and Santa Barbara runs
occur about 25 minutes later than the times provided here.
2. The second hour is usually better.
3. The best runs normally occur on the second and third nights of a four-night period.
4. While grunion spawn on many beaches in southern California, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife does not recommend any particular beach because of changing safety conditions and local curfews.
One of the best ways to find out which beaches have had recent runs is to call the state and county beach lifeguards who can often tell if spawning has taken place. Minus COVID curfews, there normally is a grunion program offered to the public at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro on several nights of the season. Call (310) 548-7562 for details.
REMINDER: During the open season, a California fishing license is required for persons 16 years and older. See wildlife.ca.gov.
Grunion may be taken by hand only. No holes may be dug in the beach to entrap them. There is no bag limit, but take only the fish you can use - it is unlawful and unethical to waste fish.