The influence of circulation on abundance patterns of larval fish was compared at different phases of the tide in the vicinity of an estuarine front in Corral Bay, Chile during austral spring. Greatest differences in water salinity were found across the frontal region on ebb tides. Because rainfall was low, density differences were primarily due to tidal intrusion of salt water. Larval density was relatively low during both sampling periods with Strangomera bentincki, Oodntesthes regia laticlavia, Gobiesox marmoratus and Hypsoblennius sordidus as the most abundant species. Total ichthyoplankton was always higher near the tidal front (Stations 2 and 3). Spatial distribution in relation to tidal phase showed different patterns for the most abundant fish larval species. Circulation and larval distribution revealed that the bay was a source of young fish larvae but older individuals could also be recruited in and retained there. Results show that the front could act as a physical boundary for larvae transported from offshore through specific mechanism of circulation related with the tidal regime.