California Grunion Spawning Runs

Don’t miss the chance for (what the California Department of Fish and Wildlife calls) an “I don’t believe it!!!” experience, when the California Grunion spawn on the beaches of Santa Barbara for four consecutive nights this month.

“Grunion hunting has become one of the famous sports of southern California. Since these fish leave the water to deposit their eggs, they may be picked up while they are briefly stranded. Racing for fish spotted far down the beach and trying to catch them by hand provides an exhilarating experience for young and old. The common sight of thousands of people lining the more popular beaches in southern California in anticipation of a grunion run attests to its ever growing popularity. Often there are more people than fish, but at other times everyone catches fish. All that is needed to catch grunion is a valid State fishing license and a willingness to get one's feet wet,” according to

Many people report that just watching the grunion run can be as much fun as catching them. A run usually begins with a single fish riding the waves and stranding himself on the beach. As others follow, the beach becomes blanketed with fish. The spawning can last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, and the number of fish can vary from none to thousands. When the tide changes, the run ends as abruptly as it began.

Using the schedule below, plan on seeing the ‘Amazing Grunion’, as they are called, when they visit the nighttime beaches of Santa Barbara this month.


FRIDAY…. March 20

10:20 p.m. - 12:20 a.m.

SATURDAY……March 21

11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.

SUNDAY…March 22

11:40 p.m. - 1:40 a.m.

MONDAY…March 23