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Taking a swim with the salmon in Miller Bay

MILLER BAY — For the next month and a half, residents will have a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Kitsap’s aquatic wildlife as it makes its way home.

All that’s needed is warm clothing, a snack and a sense of adventure.

Olympic Outdoor Center in Poulsbo is offering kayak salmon tours in Miller Bay, between Suquamish and Indianola, and Chico Creek in Silverdale Saturdays, Oct. 2 through Nov. 13. While OOC has offered the tours in the Central Kitsap in the past, this is the first time the center is offering salmon-watching tours in Miller Bay.

Spring Courtright, the center’s education coordinator, said she hopes people will enjoy the opportunity to see how native salmon make their annual journey home.

“An appreciation and understanding of the salmon run and the different kinds of salmon we have here in the Northwest,” Courtright said about what she hopes people get out of the experience. “These are the biggest salmon there are in the Northwest. I’m hoping (for) awe-inspiring moments where the salmon jump around their kayaks and to enjoy kayaking. To realize how simple it is and how fun it is.”

While Courtright said she can’t guarantee jumping salmon, the chances are good, as fisheries biologists told her more than 200 salmon made their way up Grovers Creek last week.

Those interested need to make reservations first by calling (800) 592-5983.

Participants will meet at Grovers Creek Hatchery on the corner of Indianola Road and Miller Bay Road at 9:45 a.m. on Saturdays and will be shuttled to the kayak launching spot.

Courtright will then give instructions on kayaking techniques, provide safety equipment and lead a quick discussion on the salmon life cycle before paddling out. She advises people to dress for the weather, as the trips will go rain or shine. All participants are required to sign a release form.

Tours are $29 a person and no kayaking experience is needed.

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