Witness thousands of shimmering flopping fish wash up on shore!
It’s that time of the year again – grunion run season! Now is the only time of the year where you can see thousands of silverfish dancing in the sand along the California coast.
Every year, the small silvery fish wash onto Southern California beaches to fertilize their eggs so that they can make way for the next generation of baby grunion. During the spring and summer months, the moonlight casts a beautiful glow onto the breading grunions as they bury their eggs in the sand, waiting for the next wave to float them back to the sea!
For four consecutive nights, the grunion leave the water at night to spawn on the beaches during the nights of full and new moons when the tides are at their highest. When waves break, the grunion swim as close to the slope as possible so that their bodies get washed to shore. The female then arches her body and excavates the semi-fluid sand with her tail to create a nest, twisting her body and digging into the sand until she is half buried with her head sticking up. She then deposits her eggs in the nest while a male curves around her to release milt. The milt flows down the female’s body until it reaches and fertilizes the eggs.
The California grunion is usually used as bait for other fish, but the fishing season doesn’t start until June. When it arrives, beach-goers will be able to collect the fish but will need a proper fishing license and must be over the age of 16.
Find a list of the 2019 runs, here!
Also published on Medium.