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Grunion are about 8 inches long with a small mouth and no teeth, related to the mullet. They are found only along the southern California coast, and known for their unique spawning habits.

Grunion are not 'caught' like other fish, but are 'gathered' on the shore. Each year from March to August, at about midnight on the first 3 or 4 nights of the high tide of the full or new moon, thousands of grunion come out of the water to breed. The females dig holes 2 inches deep and deposit their eggs, which the males than fertilize. Grunion are so predictable that timetables are published each year so the 'grunion gatherers' know when the 'grunion are running.'

Grunion are moderately fat, and may be broiled, sautéed or deep fried.  Their flavor is similar to smelt.



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