Grunion Run Wild With Full Moon

Mating season of local fish expected to be a spectacle this weekend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Go to the beach in the day for a suntan. Go at night for grunion.

    The tiny silver fish with the odd name make an appearance on San Diego beaches during summer nights when the moon is full.

    That means this weekend is the ideal time to spot the beached fish, which ride the high tides to the shore and bury up to their heads in the sand to mate, said Charina Layman, Public Programs Coordinator at Birch Aquarium.

    The best way to spot the “illusive little fish,” as Layman calls them, is to quietly approach a sandy beach at high tide during the night, so as to not scare the fish away.

    When the scores of grunion flop ashore, viewers can shine flashlights on them to watch the spectacle.

    High tides for this weekend begin at roughly 10:30 p.m. Layman said the best beaches to watch grunion are Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, Encinitas beaches and Coronado.

    Some grunion spotters take the fish home to eat in buckets. Those over the age of 16 hoping to hunt grunion are required to have a fishing license.

    However Layman said just watching the thousands of grunions perform their mating ritual is enough.

    “It’s really amazing to see how far they can actually bury themselves,” she said.

    The Birch Aquarium typically sponsors public viewing sessions during grunion runs in June, but they won’t be offering any programs this weekend.