Silver Lining

For a flashy nighttime spectacle, LA’s hotspots have nothing on the grunion run. That’s right, the grunion run:…

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For a flashy nighttime spectacle, LA’s hotspots have nothing on the grunion run. That’s right, the grunion run: when hundreds of silvery, flashing, sardine-size fish make a sparkling nighttime lunge onto Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro to lay eggs. To catch this show, go with the pros at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. And be on your toes! Grunion have meticulous timing, breeding in spring and summer around the full moon and new moon, arriving at night after the high tide. The next Meet the Grunion event is tomorrow, June 3. Bring a flashlight and a camera to the museum and pass the time in exhibits until the magic hour, when guides direct eager folks to line up at the water’s edge and wait quietly for the grand arrival of grunion. Seagulls will likely spot the flopping prey first, and then it’s game on. Rush in to get a close look: the big blanket of silver on the sand is the grunion, squirming, burrowing and wriggling in an egg-laying frenzy before catching the next wave back out to sea. Got a valid fishing license? June and July are open season for grunion (great fried), so bring your buckets—these stars of the silver screen may only be caught by hand. 

The next Meet the Grunion is Friday, June 3, followed by Friday, June 17, and Saturday, July 16 (the last for the year). Visit Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for more information. Take I-110 S to San Pedro until the freeway ends at the Gaffey St. exit. Turn left onto N. Gaffey St. and then left again onto 1st St. (marked with a sign for Cabrillo Marine Aquarium). Take a right onto Pacific Ave. and continue for 2 miles to the aquarium and beach-access parking. Arrive before the lot closes at 10 p.m., and bring cash for parking ($1/hour) and tickets ($5 for adults; $1 for children, seniors, students). To catch grunions, you’ll need a California Fishing License (under 16, no license required). No dogs.

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