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Free salmon giveaway

Continues today and Oct. 11 on JBLM

Hundreds of people stand in line at the Nisqually Clear Creek Hatchery on Lewis Main during the annual salmon giveaway Sept. 26, 2017. Photo credit: Scott Hansen, Northwest Guardian 2017

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This year's free chinook salmon giveaway at the Nisqually Tribe's Clear Creek Hatchery on Joint Base Lewis-McChord continues Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, from 8 a.m. to noon each day.

Each year, more than three million chinook smolts (baby salmon) are released at the hatchery. Every fall, when the chinook salmon return to the waters of their youth, thousands of fish return, most three or four years after being released, to spawn and die.

The eggs the fish carry are harvested before the fish die on their own. Those salmon are then distributed at the hatchery.

After leaving as smolts, many of the fish swam into the Pacific Ocean, avoided killer whales and other predators, and some even traveled north as far as the waters of Alaska before returning home to the hatchery.

The Mounts Road Gate will remain open until 1 p.m. on these days only for the salmon giveaway. After entering the base from the Mounts Road Gate, follow the signs to the fish hatchery -- about a 15-minute drive. Parking is limited -- the tribe encourages people to carpool if possible. The tribe asks for people to park on the downhill side of the road (left-hand side).

The tribe recommends people bring a cooler with ice in it and plastic bag to carry the fish. One fish per person.

The fish are given away after the eggs and sperm from the returning adult salmon are obtained to produce more fish that return to the hatcheries and provide fishing opportunity for both Nisqually Tribal members and the public.

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