SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — When you think of fishing, a rod or net may come to mind, but for this California fish, you’re only allowed to catch it with your hands. 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Friday the start of grunion season. 

“The new grunion season is upon us, and grunion hunters should familiarize themselves with season updates,” Fish and Wildlife said. 

There is now a new daily bag and possession limit of 30 grunion per person during the open season, which began July 1. Those planning to catch grunion are only allowed to do so with their hands. 

“No equipment or nets can be used, and no holes or pits can be dug to aid in capturing them,” Fish and Wildlife said. 

(Photo from California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

If you’re wondering how you’d catch the fish with your hands, don’t worry. The fish leave the water at night to get onto some California beaches. 

“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,” Fish and Wildlife said.

Anyone 16 and older wanting to catch grunion, even if they are releasing them, will need a fishing license with an ocean enhancement stamp. Since grunion appear at night, it’s recommended to not use a flashlight until the wave has retreated since it could scare away the fish from the beaches.

However, Fish and Wildlife say it’s better to “observe and learn” as grunion populations are not abundant.  

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