On certain spring nights following high tides, grunions ride the waves onto shore for a remarkable mating ritual, which happens only in Southern California and Baja California.
While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves halfway in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves protectively around the females to fertilize their eggs. Both catch a wave to return to sea, Scripps Institution of Oceanography explained. The grunion spawn during the highest tide of the month from as early as March and as late as August, but April through June tends to be their most active period. When they spawn, the female fishwill lay about 3,000 eggs a few inches deep in the sand. Roughly 10 to 14 days later, the eggs will hatch, allowing the next generation to swim off with the tide. The grunion spawn at age 1 and have a life span that ranges from two to four years.
The official 2013 fishing season started March 11 and continues late Wednesday through Sunday.
During the open fishing season people are free to grab a certain amount of the fish. Researchers at the nonprofit Grunion.org are looking for volunteers to help record grunion sightings for research. Click here to vulunteer.
This weekend will be the last open "grunion runs" for two months. During April and May people may observe but are not permitted to catch or disturb the fish. Open season resumes June 8 and continues through August. The best times to see the grunion run in Newport Beach are:March 27 10:10 p.m. - 12:10 a.m. March 28 10:40 p.m. - 12:40 a.m. March 29 11:20 p.m. - 1:20 a.m. March 31 12-2 a.m.
- Friday, March 29: 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.
- Friday, April 12: 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
- Saturday, April 27: 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
- Saturday, May 11: 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
- Sunday, May 26: 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.