New Recreational Grunion Regulations Starting June 1

grunion run
Grunion run. CDFW photo

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to inform all who fish for or collect California grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) that the California Fish and Game Commission has recently adopted new grunion sport fishing regulations.

Starting June 1, 2022 the seasonal no-take closure for grunion will run from April 1 through June 30. Previously, the closure was in effect from April 1 through May 31. Grunion hunters may now collect grunion from July 1 through March 31 only .

Additionally, a new daily bag and possession limit of 30 grunion per person during the open season will be in effect when the season reopens on July 1.

Grunion are a unique California icon. Generations of Californians have watched spawning grunion beach themselves after the nighttime high tide following a new or full moon. Grunion “surf” the waves onto the beach where females dig over half their body length into the sand and release eggs, and males curl around them to fertilize the eggs. Grunion may be out of water for 30 seconds or longer – sometimes for up to 2 minutes – before flopping their way back into the ocean. Grunion will spawn multiple times during the season and these new regulations are aimed at giving them more uninterrupted opportunities to spawn.

Grunion are not just important for fishing; they play a key role in the marine ecosystem as food for countless other marine species. Unfortunately, the past decade has seen a decline in the grunion population. There is no sole cause for this decline, but some of the reasons may include: pollution, habitat loss, beach grooming, harvesting, global warming, and sea level rise.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is counting on grunion hunters to follow the new regulations to reduce the amount of grunion they take, which will help sustain the population and ensure that this unique species thrives. If you see anyone who is not following the new regulations, please report them to CalTIP (Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters) at 1-888-334-2258.

California grunion facts, a schedule of expected runs, and current regulations can be found on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s grunion web page . During the open season, a California fishing license is required for persons 16 years and older, and grunion may be taken by hand only. No appliances of any kind may be used to take grunion, and no holes may be dug in the beach to entrap them.

post by Armand Barilotti, CDFW Environmental Scientist